Apple iPads : An Overview

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Apple first announced its iPad series of tablets in January 2010. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs made the announcement at a press conference in San Francisco. All iPads run on the iOS operating system that Apple also uses in its iPhone series. Since then we have seen eight versions of the iPad so far, the last being the iPad introduced in 2018. Besides the iPad, Apple also launched the iPad Mini and the iPad Pro series of tablets. Apple has discontinued production of some versions of the iPad although they are still available in the market, while others are current versions that are under production. Of course, the recent variants will cost you more than the ones that have been discontinued. Looking up all this information could be time-consuming. In order to simplify the whole researching process for prospective iPad owners, we take a comparative look at the features, specifications, and prices of the various iPad variants available in the market today.

The reason that Apple is able to create products like the iPad is because we've always tried to be at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts. -Steve Jobs Click To Tweet

Current Variants of the iPad

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The variants of the iPad covered below belong to the in production category, that is, Apple is still producing these variants.

iPad Pro – 12.9”:

The iPad Pro 12.9” variant belongs to the second generation of the iPad Pro series, the first generation devices having been discontinued by Apple. It has a 12.9” retina LED-backlit display with multi-touch and a screen resolution of 264ppi. Overlaying the display is a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating as well as an anti-reflective coating. The iPad Pro 12.9” variant runs on the iOS 10.3.2 operating system that can be updated to the iOS 11.2.6 version. Its primary camera is a 12MP one with autofocus while the front camera comes with 7MP. The iPad Pro also provides for video recording in 4K HD through its primary camera, while the secondary camera offers video recording in 1080p HD. The Pro is compatible with the Apple’s Pencil, Smart Keyboard, and Bluetooth Keyboards. The iPad Pro comes with 4GB RAM. It is available in three colours, silver, space grey, and gold. You have a choice of two connectivity modes, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi plus Cellular as well as a choice of three storage capacities, 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB. The various combinations are available at different prices.

The iPad Pro that comes with cellular connectivity only supports LTE advanced cellular connectivity and does not support cellular voice calling services. You can only use your cellular connectivity for your data connection. It comes with an embedded Apple nano-SIM card. The iPad Pro comes with the lightning connector, which is an 8-pin Apple proprietary connector. With a battery backup of up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi and 9 hours on cellular data, you can work uninterrupted over longer periods.

iPad Pro 10.5”:

The iPad Pro 10.5” variant has features that overlap with the 12.9” variant, but with significant differences in pricing. This variant has a retina display that is the same as the 12.9” variant except in its size, which measures 10.5”. With the 10.5” variant of the iPad Pro, you have four colours to choose from, silver, space grey, gold, and rose gold. Its operating system too is the iOS 10 that is upgradable to the iOS 11 with an A10X fusion chip just like the 12.9” variant. It has a 12MP primary and 7MP front camera and 4K HD video recording. It too comes with 4GB RAM and a choice of Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi plus cellular connectivity. Various storage capacities are available.

The rest of the specs for the iPad Pro 10.5” tablet are the same as those of the 12.9” variant.

iPad (2018):

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Apple released the iPad (2018) on 27 March 2018, which was the date on which it discontinued the iPad (2017). The iPad (2018) runs on the iOS 11.3 operating system with an A10 fusion chip. It comes with a 9.7” retina, scratch resistant, oleophobic coated, backlit, LED display. It has an 8MP primary camera with 1080p HD video recording. The secondary camera is of 1.2MP with 720p HD video recording. The iPad (2018) is compatible with the Apple Pencil and Bluetooth keyboards. It comes with 2GB RAM and a choice of 32GB and 128GB internal memory. For connectivity, you have a choice of Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi plus cellular.

The iPad (2018) uses Apple’s 8 pin lightning connector for charging or connecting it to other devices. For cellular data, it is compatible with a nano SIM and supports 4G LTE connectivity. The iPad (2018) is available in three colours, silver, space grey, and gold.

iPad Mini 4:

Initially, Apple released the iPad Mini 4 with the iOS 9 operating system for which an iOS 11.3 update is available. It comes with a 7.9” backlit, LED, oleophobic coated, anti-reflective coated, retina display. Its processor comes with the Apple A8 chip. It has an 8MP primary camera with 1080p HD video recording and a 1.2MP secondary camera with 720p HD video recording. It is compatible with Bluetooth keyboards but not with the Apple Pencil. It has a 2GB RAM with 128GB internal memory. With the iPad Mini 4, you have a choice of Wi-Fi only connectivity or Wi-Fi plus Cellular based connectivity.

The iPad Mini 4 supports 4G LTE and you need to use a nano-SIM card for your cellular connection. The connector supplied with the iPad Mini 4 is the 8 pin lightning connector.

Supported Variants of the iPad

Apple has discontinued the variants of the iPad mentioned below, that is, Apple no longer produces these. However, Apple still provides support for these devices in the form of software updates and you can still purchase these devices. Besides, you can buy these devices at discounted prices if you know where to look.

iPad Air:

At the time of its release, the iPad Air came configured with the iOS 7 operating system. However, you can update it to latest iOS 11.3. It comes with a 9.7”, LED-backlit, oleophobic coated display. The glass is scratch resistant. Its processor comes with the Apple A7 chip. It has a 1GB RAM and comes with a choice of internal storage capacities, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. It uses the 8 pin lightning connector. For connectivity, you have a choice of Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi plus cellular connectivity using a nano-SIM card. It supports 4G LTE technology. It has a 5MP primary camera and a 1080p HD video recording while the secondary camera is a 1.2MP camera with 720p HD video recording. It is available in silver and space grey colours.

iPad Air 2:

The iPad Air 2 came out with the iOS 8.1 operating system. You can update it to the iOS 11.3. It comes with a 9.7” retina display that is fully laminated, scratch resistant, LED backlit, oleophobic coated, and anti-reflective coated. Its processor comes with Apple’s A8X chip. It comes with internal storage capacities of 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB, with a 2GB RAM. The connector used with this device is the 8 pin lightning connector. For your connectivity needs, you have a choice of Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi plus cellular connectivity using a nano SIM. It supports LTE technology. The primary camera is an 8MP camera with 1080p HD video recording while the secondary camera is a 1.2MP camera with 720p HD video recording. The iPad Air 2 is available in three colours, silver, space grey, and gold.

iPad (2017):

The iPad (2017) was released with the iOS 10.2.1 operating system on 24 March 2017. This can be updated to the iOS 11.3. It has a 9.7”, LED-backlit, scratch resistant, oleophobic coated, retina display. Its processor comes with the Apple A9 chip. In internal storage, you have a choice of 32GB or 128GB with a 2GB RAM. Its connector uses Apple’s 8 pin lightning connector. For connectivity, you have a choice of Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi plus Cellular using a nano-SIM card. It supports LTE technology. The primary camera is of *MP while the secondary one is 1.2MP. For video recording, the primary camera provides you with 1080p HD video recording while the second one has 720p HD video recording. The iPad (2017) is available in three colours, silver, space grey, and gold.

iPad Mini 2

The iPad Mini 2 was initially available with either the iOS 7.0.3 or the iOS 7.1 operating system. This can be updated to the iOS 11.3. Its display is a 7.9” LED-backlit Retina display. Its processor uses the Apple’s A7 chip. Storage options are 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB with a 1GB RAM. It uses the 8 pin lightning connector. For connectivity, you have Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi with Cellular LTE technology with a nano-SIM card. Its primary camera is of 5MP with 1080p HD video recording and its secondary camera is of 1.2MP with 720p HD video recording. You have a choice of two colours with the iPad Mini 2, silver and space grey.

iPad Mini 3

The iPad Mini 3 was initially available with either the iOS 8.0 or the iOS 8.1 operating system. This can be updated to the iOS 11.3. Its display is the same as the iPad Mini 2. Its processor too uses the Apple’s A7 chip like the Mini 2. Its storage options are 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB with a 1GB RAM. It uses the 8 pin lightning connector. For connectivity, you have Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi with Cellular LTE technology with a nano-SIM card. Its primary and secondary camera features are the same as those of the Mini 2. With this device, you have a choice of three colours silver, space grey, and gold.

iPad Pro 12.9” (first generation)

The iPad Pro 12.9” (first generation) comes preinstalled with the iOS 9.1 operating system. This can be updated to the iOS 11.3. Its display is a 12.9”, LED-backlit, oleophobic and anti-reflective coated retina display. Its processor uses the Apple’s A9X chip. Storage options are  32GB, 128GB, and 256GB with a 4GB RAM. It uses the 8 pin lightning connector or the smart connector. For connectivity, you have Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi with Cellular LTE technology with a nano-SIM card. Its primary camera is of 8MP with 1080p HD video recording and its secondary camera is of 1.2MP with 720p HD video recording. You have a choice of three colours with the iPad Pro 12.9” (first generation), silver, space grey, and gold.

iPad Pro 9.7”(first generation)

The iPad Pro 9.7” (first generation) comes preinstalled with the iOS 9.3 operating system. This can be updated to the iOS 11.3. Its display is a 9.7” LED-backlit Retina display with an oleophobic and anti-reflective coating. Its processor uses the Apple’s A9X chip. Storage options are 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB with a 2GB RAM. Apple has made available the 8 pin lightning connector and a smart connector for this device. For connectivity, you have Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi with Cellular LTE Advanced technology with a nano-SIM card. Its primary camera is of 12MP with 4K HD video recording and its secondary camera is of 5MP with 720p HD video recording. You have a choice of four colours with the iPad Pro 9.7” (first generation), silver, space grey, gold, and rose gold.

Finally, when it comes to quality, Apple is a brand you can trust and is a world leader in the field of technological innovations. This makes the iPad an intelligent choice in if you are looking to buy a tablet. All of Apple’s iPad devices are priced differentially to suit every pocket and almost all of those discussed above can be bought online at discounted prices. Do check them out!

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See Also: What makes Microsoft Surface Pro 4 different?

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