Macworld reviews iPad (2017): With a stripped-down iPad for $329, you may not need to go pro

“Amazon sells a Kids Edition of its Fire tablet, which is the exact same tablet they sell for adults, but in a kid-friendly case, with a year’s worth of the FreeTime Unlimited service for kids apps and content. Apple does not do this. But at $329 for 32GB of storage, the new iPad is pretty close,” Susie Ochs reports for Macworld. “This is a great iPad at its most family-friendly price, and certainly a better buy for kids than the $599 iPad Pro.”

“Now, obviously you won’t get all the same features or technology that’s in the more expensive iPad Pro,” Ochs reports. “This is more of a throwback than a brand-new product, kind of the iPad equivalent of the iPhone SE.”

“And you know what?” Ochs reports. “That’s fine with me. Now that the iPad has been around a while, and we’ve seen what the use cases are and how long they tend to last, a low-cost, full-size iPad is just what the lineup needed.”

Much more in the full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: It not only “exposes just how little the 9.7-inch iPad Pro does to earn its ‘Pro’ label,” as Andrew Cunningham wrote recently for Ars Technica, but also reminds us of what we wrote back in January:

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.

Ars Technica reviews Apple’s $329 iPad: ‘For people who have never upgraded’ – April 6, 2017
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


  1. The tablet is maturing, and reaching the limit of what the form factor can accomplish. If there are pros doing more with it than the average (and much more numerous) consumer, there aren’t many. And even fewer will be doing it without also having a real computer for other things. Just like in televisions, smartphones, home theater equipment, etc., the tablet market is reaching commoditization. Prices come down, feature growth stagnates, margins shrink. Thin-ness only goes so far, before structural integrity suffers.

    Creative updates to the concept are necessary to spur new growth – and technology is approaching a level where we’ll start to see some of that – namely in the hybrid form factors (Surface is pretty good, it was too early and not fully baked, which is why its uptake has been slow). The tablet-as-trackpad is another combined use that may help bring more people in, if executed well. And edgeless, foldable (or rollable) screens are also in the future.

  2. The $599 iPad Pro would be a reasonably expensive tablet if it had 128GB for the base WiFi model. $599 for a 32GB tablet is just plain silly at this point, a consumer would have to be awfully naive to spend that much money for such a tablet. I actually got my 32GB iPad for $299 after the academic discount, which makes $599 for the Pro model even more ridiculous. Yes, something needs to be done here, and soon.

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