By Chand Bellur – September 22, 2020 at 3:42 p.m.
- Apple’s 2020 iPad refresh updates the iconic tablet with a speedier A12 Bionic Chip and a deceptively affordable price.
- The A12 Bionic processor launched on September 12, 2018 — over two years ago.
- The inexpensive base model only offers 32 GB of storage, which is a non-starter for most consumers and serves as a bait and switch tactic for Apple.
Apple Refreshes the iPad for 2020
The iPad is essentially a large iPhone. Although they now run discrete operating systems, not so long ago, these sibling devices both ran on iOS.
Demand for the iPad peaked back in 2014, according to Statista. Since then, a combination of market saturation, competing devices, and user awareness continues to diminish iPad sales.
Every few years, Apple refreshes the iconic device and positions it for sale to students and content consumers. This year’s refresh gives the iPad an A12 Bionic processor. Although it’s a speedy chip, it’s also two years old. Buying an Apple device with an older processor means that it won’t be supported as long as a device with an A13 Bionic chip or Apple’s upcoming A14 processor.
Other than that, Apple’s newest base model iPad is the same as the last refresh. It still sports an outdated 8 MP rear-facing camera, with an even weaker 1.2 MP front-facing camera. Capturing 4K video is not an option. The device also uses Apple’s older TouchID authentication mechanism. Everything about Apple’s newest iPad seems stale.
Innovative marketing upsells the device as a capable companion for any student. One iPad ad depicts a lone teenager walking through the woods with perfect cellular reception. As he scribbles notes on his iPad, the A12 processor’s neural engine translates handwriting to text. You can even select, copy, and paste text. Hallelujah! They just reinvented the Newton!
Handwriting recognition and styluses are nothing new. I used a light pen on my Atari 800XL back in the 1980s. The Palm Pilot, Apple’s own ill-fated Newton, the Galaxy Note, and many other devices use this technology.
Once again, Apple shows up late, attempting to make up for their tardiness with pervasive marketing. Consumers don’t seem to go for styluses, and Steve Jobs didn’t like them either. After all, your hands already have 10 of them.
Apple boasts a low $329 price for the base model; however, with adequate storage, an Apple pencil, cellular capabilities, and a cellular plan, as shown in advertisements, the device will cost up to $2500 a year, including data charges. They’re well-known for their reality-distortion field, which has the power to multiply $329 sixfold.
Bait and Switch: 32GB is a Non-Starter in 2020
Although Apple’s newest iPad is incapable of recording 4K video or taking high-resolution photographs, 32 GB is still a non-starter for most consumers. Given that a user needs 5 GB of free space to install a new, major version of iOS, this leaves the base model iPad owner with 27 GB of free space.
Today’s games and video content take up a lot more space than before. Although now unavailable on iOS, the popular game Fortnite takes up to 10 GB of free space. Given the user’s choice in apps, the base model iPad may only store a few games and videos, requiring one to delete and re-download apps. Of course, the iPad has no microSD slot, so users can’t upgrade storage capacity themselves.
Apple’s pricing strategy has long been one of bait and switch tactics. Their base model devices start at a seemingly attractive price, but with ridiculously paltry storage capacities, they’re non-starters. Most consumers end up opting for more expensive models.
Compare this with Android device makers, such as OnePlus and Samsung. It isn’t easy to find 32 GB on a OnePlus phone or Samsung device. I recently purchased a OnePlus Pro 8, and the only option was 256 GB of storage. Apple employs far more aggressive and manipulative sales practices than competitors offering superior devices.
Apple Contends the iPad is Versatile and Useful
When Steve Jobs created the iPad, he billed it as a content consumption device. The Mac was his baby, and he had no desire to sacrifice it for the sake of the iPad. To this day, despite more advanced models, the iPad is not suited for most workplace tasks, such as document creation and management and software development. In fact, the iPad doesn’t serve the latter purpose at all.
As a writer with a broken MacBook Pro, I’m using an iPad out of sheer necessity until my newly arrived LG Gram laptop charges fully for the first time. I’ve been using my iPad to write for a few weeks, after my barely used and fragile MacBook Pro broke for no apparent reason, other than shoddy manufacturing.
I hate working on an iPad. It’s an entirely frustrating experience. As I am writing in Grammarly, my words completely shift under the top banner, so I can no longer read what I am writing. This only happens on the iPad. Closing and opening the keyboard fixes it more than half of the time. I often need to exit the document and reload it.
Selecting text on an iPad or iPhone is frustrating and erratic. Now that I have an Android phone, I know other devices provide better user experiences. Apple’s motto used to be “it just works”. That slogan now seems a better fit for the top Android device makers, such as Samsung and OnePlus.
While using this 2017 iPad to do something as simple as write and publish news articles, I encounter nothing but obstacles. Safari is still horrible, and my publishing admin tool works better on every other non-Apple device.
Even something as simple as writing and publishing a news article on the web is a chore with an iPad. It takes me twice as long, which diminishes my output and reduces revenues. That “low” price is quite expensive, at least for me.
If you’re looking to develop software or create media, in any professional sense, the iPad is not the best option. iPadOS doesn’t support any software development tools. All of the creative software are mere shadows of their desktop equivalents, which run just fine on laptops that cost as much as the iPad.
iPad Launch Event Misleads Consumers
The iPad launch bragged about its speed compared to popular Windows devices, Android tablets, and Chromebooks. This misleading comparison pits the cheapest non-Apple devices against an iPad that really starts at $429, because no one can get by on 32 GB these days. Those willing to spend $400-$500 on a Windows machine will enjoy a much more useful device.
Looking beyond GeekBench scores, PCs at the low end are fully capable of running the Adobe Creative Suite, Ableton Live 10, and many other full software titles. The iPad runs mobile software. These are ersatz apps, giving users a mere subset of the desktop experience.
The 2020 iPad is not much different from its ancestors. It’s the entry-level device into Apple’s ecosystem. Consumers can find better options for a similar price, as Apple’s bait and switch tactics drive shoppers to more expensive models.