“It’s understandably a bit confusing to see Apple return back to its original five-year-old naming convention with the release of a new 9.7” entry-level iPad that the company is once again simply dubbing “iPad” for marketing purposes and perhaps even more interesting that Apple is calling it the “iPad (5th generation)” in its support documents, despite the fact that it’s actually the seventh iPad model of its design and form factor,” Jesse Hollington writes for iLounge.

“On the other hand, it may not be entirely inappropriate, considering how much of a hybrid this new iPad is. It has the size and weight of the original 2013 iPad Air which came right after the fourth-generation iPad, while the specs put it much closer to a slightly upgraded version of the 2014 iPad Air 2,” Hollington writes. “It’s almost as if Apple wants us to pretend that this is what would have come next had neither of the iPad Air models ever existed.”

“Much as it did with the iPhone SE, Apple has clearly conceded that there’s still a need for an entry-level iPad in the marketplace, and that simply continuing to sell a two-year-old model won’t suffice,” Hollington writes. “Ultimately, this is the lens through which the fifth-generation iPad needs to be viewed. It’s essentially a ‘modernized’ replacement for the iPad Air 2 at an even lower price point — $329 now gets you a current model 32GB A9-based iPad with great battery life, whereas two weeks ago you would have paid $70 more for a two-year-old 16GB model with around half the runtime.”

Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad, starting at just $329

Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad, starting at just $329

 
“Apple’s fifth-generation iPad is a good, solid product at a great price for those who want a full-sized iPad but have no desire to pay twice the price for ‘Pro’ camera and audio features,” Hollington writes. “The performance is more than fast enough, and it provides the longest battery life of any iPad we’ve ever tested.”

Tons more in the full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote the day it was announced, 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

SEE ALSO:
It’s just plain old iPad, and it’s cheap – starting at just $329! – April 3, 2017
Apple’s new iPad is actually more than ‘just’ an iPad Air – March 30, 2017
Apple unveils new 9.7-inch iPad starting at new low price of just $329 – March 21, 2017