Why I'll skip the iPhone 14 and buy the iPad 2022 instead

iPad (2017)
(Image credit: Future)

The annual iPhone launch is always the most exciting event in mobile tech, and this year Apple is expected to drop the iPhone 14, alongside the iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

It won’t be a revolutionary update, and not an entirely new design, more like some small tweaks and a feature boost. That’s why I’m more excited about the iPad 2022, likely about a month behind the new iPhones. Between the iPhone and the iPad, it's Apple's next tablet that I'm planning on buying. 

The next iPad is expected to be a bigger step forward, at least for the low-end of the iPad family. The basic iPad is said to finally be losing the Home button, being one of the last remaining Apple devices to bear the mark, which would make it look more like one of Apple’s more premium iPad Air or iPad Pro devices.

Whether it has the potential to rank amongst the best iPads out there remains to be seen, but at least we don't have long to wait, if the rumors are to be believed.

In-person images of the ipad Air 2022 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

One of the more significant improvements is that the next base iPad is expected to feature a USB-C port. That may not seem like a big deal, but it’s huge for me. I have a few scant remaining Apple Lightning accessories in my drawers, but I’m stocked to the gills with USB-C. If I get an iPad with USB-C, I’ll instantly have chargers, memory card adapters, external display dongles, and whatever else I need, ready to go.

Why do I need either one?

I may not need a new phone, but there are always great deals on trade-ins when a new iPhone launches. If I trade in my existing phone and look for the best possible deals, I could probably pick up a new iPhone and drop only $400 or so from my bank account. That’s similar to what I’d expect to pay for a new Apple iPad when the next generation launches. The next iPad is rumored to launch with a price around $329 / £319 / AU$499, with higher capacity and cellular connected versions costing slightly more. 

My Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a fantastic phone: the pinnacle of Samsung’s underappreciated design. It’s in no need of replacement. I would like to have a tablet, and I considered upgrading to the amazing Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 instead of buying an iPad, but even if I traded my Galaxy S22 Ultra, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 would remain prohibitively expensive, and it’s not large enough to scratch my tablet itch. 

Why do I need an Apple device?

I need a way back into the Apple ecosystem. My phone is a Samsung Galaxy. My work laptop is a Microsoft Surface Laptop Go, my personal laptop is a Pixelbook Go. I’m very 'Go' these days. 

I used Apple's gear for many years, so now I need a way to access my stuff

I have no iPhone, no Macbook, and my kid commandeered my old iPad completely. The iPad isn’t friendly with multiple user accounts, and there’s no way I’m taking away his primary source of entertainment on our frequent and long car rides. For the first time since I purchased my Powerbook 520c almost thirty years ago, I have no device running an Apple OS.

I used Apple's gear for many years, so now I need a way to access my stuff. I have years of photos saved up in iCloud. My music library started on iTunes, and I still have tracks there I can’t find on Spotify or elsewhere. I want to be able to play my games with all of my Apple Game Center progress saved – I’m not starting Alto’s Odyssey again.

Is the basic Apple iPad enough?

Once it’s launched, I’ll happily buy the basic new Apple iPad. I do like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S tablets very much, but they are crazy expensive and don’t offer me the entrance to Apple’s ecosystem that I'm searching for. The entry-level iPad is all I need, because the open secret about iPads is that they are vastly overpowered for most of what they do. 

As I said, my kid has my old iPad, a five year old iPad Air. It uses an Apple A9 chip. Today’s iPhones and iPads use an A15. I’ve never had any problems watching movies, browsing the Web, or playing games on the old tablet. I even use Adobe Lightroom on it from time to time, and it’s faster than using Photoshop on my Surface Laptop Go. 

I’ll be happy to have an iPad of my own again, and I’m sure the basic new Apple iPad will have all the power I need. If I want to keep in touch with the life I stored on iCloud, the iPad is the cheapest and best option for those looking to reconnect.

Philip Berne
US Mobiles Editor

Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, having reviewed his first device (the Sony D-EJ01 Discman) more than 20 years ago for eTown.com. He has been writing about phones and mobile technology, since before the iPhone, for a variety of sites including PCMag, infoSync, PhoneScoop, and Slashgear. He holds an M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Phil was the internal reviewer for Samsung Mobile, writing opinions and review predictions about top secret new devices months before launch. He left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. He has been a High School English teacher at Title I schools, and is a certified Lifeguard. His passion is smartphones and wearables, and he is sure that the next big thing will be phones we wear on our faces.