Opinion: The new iPad Air is stuck between two better products

(Image credit: Apple)

One thousand. Two thousand. Three thousand. 

That is the amount of Dirhams that you need to base your iPad purchasing decision on - not the naming scheme. That's because names are confusing. For example, the iPad Air is more expensive than the iPad but the MacBook Air is cheaper than the MacBook.

Apple announced an updated iPad Air yesterday which is, more or less, the older 10.5-inch iPad Pro without the 120Hz screen and quad speakers but with a newer-generation processor. 

It sounds great on paper and is priced right between the regular 9.7-inch iPad with a smaller screen and lesser features, and the iPad Pro with a larger screen and more features.

Why would anyone really want to buy the new iPad Air?

The regular 9.7-inch iPad with an A10 processor flies in everyday tasks such as web browsing and streaming videos, has Touch ID and Apple Pencil support. It also has an equally impressive 10-hour battery life and back-camera capabilities like the new iPad Air. 

iPad 2018

The only missing features on the regular iPad are the faster A12 processor, smart keyboard connector and a bigger screen that supports true-tone. I don’t think that’s reason enough to spend an extra thousand Dirhams for the iPad Air over the regular iPad- especially considering how well the A10 processor on the iPad has aged.

Now let's flip the coin and see if the iPad Pro 11-inch is worth the extra thousand Dirhams over the new iPad Air and in my opinion, that answer is a resounding yes.

With the iPad Pro, you're getting a slightly bigger screen but with ProMotion (120Hz) capabilities, Face ID for more secure authentication, USB Type-C and the latest generation of Apple Pencil with magnetic charging capabilities.

iPad Pro 11-inch

While I haven't tested the performance on the iPad Air, the iPad Pro is a beast with the A12X processor that I doubt the Air will be able to come close to. The iPad Pro also has a better rear camera and a four-speaker setup for nicer multimedia experience. 

And finally, the iPad Pro is also the first iPad with a next-gen design that we're likely to see the entire iPad line move to sometime in the future. I found it very surprising that Apple released the new iPad Air yesterday with the old iPad design language. 

Based purely on the specs and features, I feel that the new iPad Air is a middle-of-the-road product that really doesn't make much sense. If you're a casual user, the regular iPad is much cheaper and a really good device. And if you're looking to get the most out of a tablet, the iPad Pro is extremely powerful with the best feature set Apple has to offer on it’s tablet.