Last week, Apple quietly launched a new iPad. It's not an iPad Air or iPad Pro, it's just an iPad. For $329, the new iPad features 32GB storage, a premium aluminum build, a 9.7-inch LED 2048x1536 display, A9 processor, 8MP camera and the latest version of iOS 10. What do you think of the new iPad?
This is the 2017 9.7-inch iPad that Apple quietly released last week. Apple is calling it (quite simply) the iPad but it’s a relatively cheap iPad that has a lot of the same and some improved features over the iPad Air 2 so we’ll be calling it the 2017 iPad to help you differentiate it from the others.
This iPad starts at $329 for the 32GB variant which is very affordable for an iPad. If you consider the price of the device to be a feature, then the 2017 iPad’s best feature is the price. We can take a look at some of the other features by first unboxing the device. After we remove the plastic wrap and slide off the top of the box, we’ll find the iPad sitting right on top. Underneath, there is a User Guide, a US wall wart, and a lightning cable.
The iPad itself doesn’t feature any new, radical design language. When compared to the iPad Air 2, the dimensions are merely identical. However, the 2017 iPad is 1.4mm thicker coming in at 7.5mm thick compared to 6.1mm thick and it is 7% heavier. I will say the difference is noticeable but I don’t think it’s a deal breaker by any means. You still have a thin and portable build construction with premium materials like metal and glass. Once again, for the price, there is little to complain about.
One thing I did notice right away was the home button. It’s a mechanical button that physically moves when pressed. It’s not the static capacitive button found in the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. Not a big deal, just an observation really. It still features Touch ID 2, which is nice.
The biggest difference between the iPad Pro and 9.7-inch and 2017 iPad is with the display. This is where you’ll see Apple kind of cut some corners to ultimately bring the price down. The 4:3 aspect ratio and 2048x1536 resolution can be found on both iPads. The iPad Pro 9.7-inch does, however, feature a fully laminated display, anti-reflective coating, wide color display gamut and True Tone display, which the 2017 iPad does not have. And yeah, when you look up close, you can see some of these lacking features. I will say though, the display still looks good thanks to the dense resolution. It also gets very bright. Some say that the new model is actually a little bit brighter than the previous iPad but I cannot confirm that in this video. But generally speaking, it does get very bright and images and content in general looks quite good on this display.
The iPad is running the latest version of iOS 10, that being iOS 10.3 and features the A9 third generation chip with the embedded M9 motion co-processor. It’s one notch behind the A9X chip found in the Pro models but it’s faster than the A8X chip found in the iPad Air 2. In this case, not only is it cheaper, it’s also faster.
The 8-megapixel rear and 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera sensors are the same as the ones found in the iPad Air 2. The quality of the images captured via the sensors are worse than the sensors found in the new and more expensive iPad Pros. But for casual use, they should perform just fine. The smartphone in your pocket, it’ll likely perform better in this department and I would recommend using it because it is probably gonna be less wielding than something like an iPad. What’s neat is that the battery is technically larger in the new iPad but both the 2017 iPad and iPad Air 2 will get up to 10 hours of web browsing according to Apple.
Finally, the speakers are located on the bottom. They sound good but they aren’t front-facing and they don’t output sound at the same caliber as the iPad Pro and its quad speaker set-up. They sound good but it could always be better.
Overall, the 2017 iPad is a very welcomed successor to the iPad Air 2. For $330, it’s at a very competitive price tag that will make it even harder for Android tablets to gain any sort of market share. Personally, I’m not a big tablet user. I tend to get more work done with a laptop like the MacBook but I’m looking forward to further testing this device out to see how or if I’m able to integrate it into my daily routine or workflow. We should have a full review for you guys in the coming weeks but I will say that if you’re looking into a new tablet, you’ll want to seriously look into the new iPad as it offers a lot of bang for your buck, at least on paper, and when compared to Apple’s previous 9.7-inch iPads.