Apple today updated its most popular-sized iPad, featuring a brighter 9.7-inch Retina display and best-in-class performance at its most affordable price ever, starting at $329.

Designed for unmatched portability and ease of use, along with incredible performance and all-day battery life, iPad is the world’s most popular tablet and the primary computing device for millions of customers around the world. Through the more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for iPad, customers can do even more, from learning to code with Swift Playgrounds and reading books on the large screen to boosting productivity through Microsoft Office and using multitasking features like Split Screen.

“iPad is the world’s most popular tablet. Customers love the large, 9.7-inch display for everything from watching TV and movies, to surfing the web, making FaceTime calls, and enjoying photos, and now it is even more affordable,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, in a statement. “New customers and anyone looking to upgrade will love this new iPad for use at home, in school, and for work, with its gorgeous Retina display, our powerful A9 chip, and access to the more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for it.”

iPad features a beautifully bright Retina display with over 3.1 million pixels for stunning pictures and videos, and is enclosed in a sturdy yet thin aluminum unibody enclosure weighing just one pound for great portability and durability. The Apple-designed A9 chip with 64‑bit desktop-class architecture delivers fast processing and graphics performance for apps and games, while maintaining the same all-day battery life* customers have come to expect from iPad.

 
The front- and back-facing cameras offer exceptional low-light performance and HD video recording, making it fun and easy to FaceTime® with friends and family and capture unforgettable memories using the large Retina display as a viewfinder. Ultrafast wireless means connecting with iPad is quick and easy, and support for LTE cellular bands worldwide helps customers stay connected when traveling.** Apple SIM makes it even easier to connect to wireless data plans right from your device when traveling in more than 140 countries and regions.

Touch ID gives iPad users a simple and secure way to unlock iPad, keep personal information private within apps and approve purchases from the App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks Store. With Apple Pay*** on iPad, paying for physical goods and services within apps or on a website in Safari has never been easier.

iPad comes with iOS 10, which brings more expressive and animated ways to communicate in Messages, new ways to use Siri with your favorite apps, beautifully redesigned Maps, Photos, Apple Music and News, and the new Home app, which lets you simply and securely set up, manage and control your home all in one place. Multitasking features including Slide Over, Split View and Picture-in-Picture help you do even more.

Pricing & Availability
• iPad comes in silver, gold and space gray and starts at $329 (US) for the 32GB with Wi-Fi model and $459 (US) for the 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model at Apple.com and Apple Stores. For more information, visit apple.com/ipad-9.7.

• iPad is available to order beginning Friday, March 24, from Apple.com and starts delivering to customers and arriving next week in Apple Stores, through select carriers and Apple Authorized Resellers (prices may vary) in the US and more than 20 countries and regions, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Denmark, India, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Turkey and other countries and regions will follow in April. Brazil, Taiwan and other countries and regions will follow in May.

• Polyurethane Smart Covers for iPad are available for $39 (US) in charcoal gray, white, midnight blue, pink sand and (RED) at Apple.com and Apple Stores.

• iPad mini 4, available in silver, gold and space gray, now offers more capacity for the same price starting at $399 (US) for the 128GB Wi-Fi model and $529 (US) for the 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model at Apple.com and Apple Stores.

• Every customer who buys iPad from Apple will be offered free Personal Setup, in-store or online****, to help them customize their iPad by setting up email, showing them new apps from the App Store and more.

• Anyone who wants to learn the basics or go further with their new iPad can register for a free workshop at any Apple Store.

*Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results may vary.
**LTE is available through select carriers. Network speeds are dependent on carrier networks. Check with your carrier for details.
***Apple Pay is not available in all markets. For a list of Apple Pay countries, click here.
****In most countries.

Source: Apple Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Tidying things up ahead of the spring special event?

At these prices, Apple will move more units. iPad unit sales are finally poised to return to growth!

BTW, we told ya so:

iPads are too expensive relative to the perceived competition and Apple has obviously done a piss-poor job of marketing the iPad family (read: clearly explaining to the hoi polloi why they want an iPad over an Amazon or other Android tablet).

Sticker price is the biggest reason why iPad sales struggle to return to growth (the next biggest reason is that iPads’ useful lives last so damn long, they’re not rapidly replaced).

We would have purchased iPads for family members this year if they had been updated as they should have been for the holiday season and if the prices were a bit more palatable. Yes, we know what an iPad offers. Yes, we know they’re worth the money Apple’s asking for today; even being last year’s models. But, Apple should really do the math and consider making certain hardware more affordable in exchange for the backend revenue and increased mindshare and market share that will deliver.

For the same reason – mindshare – Apple should make their own Apple displays, even to the point of taking a loss of each and every one, so that other companies’ logos on frankly ugly products that do not match Apple design sensibilities are not in users’ faces all day long. That’s not a difficult concept to grasp; even an inveterate beancounter might be able to get it. — MacDailyNews, January 6, 2017