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Here’s how Apple could simplify its overcomplicated iPad lineup in 2024

Published Dec 11th, 2023 9:24AM EST
iPad Air running Apple Music Classical
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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With no iPad announcement in 2023, next year is set to become the year of Apple’s tablets as the company is rumored to introduce several new models. In his latest Power On newsletter, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman says how Apple is working on cleaning up its confusing lineup.

The issue

Basically, the journalist talks about how Apple was crystal clear about its iPads in the early days by offering “a big one and a little one. And the previous year’s version was sold at a discount.” But as the years went by, the company added more options by selling two Pro model sizes, one Air version, two entry-level iPads, and a mini iteration.

It gets more complicated when you think there are three different Apple Pencils users can choose from – but none of them works with all tablets – and a few folio/magic keyboard accessories. That said, the journalist believes Apple will have its “Mac moment” with the iPad and simplify everything – although I disagree that choosing a new Mac is that simple, as there’s a blurred line between the different models.

The solution

iPad 10

According to Gurman, everything will look better once Apple introduces the next batch of iPads starting early next year, as Cupertino will clarify what’s Pro, what’s Air, and what’s entry-level. Here’s what’s going to happen:

  • Pro: 11-inch and 13-inch options. M3 processor. OLED with ProMotion. Face ID. Exclusive Magic Keyboard with aluminum finish. Possibly exclusive Apple Pencil 3. Higher prices.
  • Air: 10.9-inch and 12.9-inch options – the larger model is new. M2 processor. LCD with 60Hz. Touch ID on the side button. Old Magic Keyboard. Apple Pencil 2 and USB-C Apple Pencil support. Fun colors.
  • Entry-level: 10.9-inch display. New processor (possibly the A15 Bionic). LCD with 60Hz but no anti-reflective coating. Touch ID. Magic Keyboard Folio. USB-C Apple Pencil support. Fun colors.
  • Mini: 8.7-inch display. New processor (possibly the A16 Bionic). LCD with 60Hz. Touch ID. Apple Pencil 2 and USB-C Apple Pencil support. Fun colors.

Although there are a few other differences between these iPads regarding colors, battery life, and cameras, this is pretty much Apple’s 2024 iPad lineup. While Cupertino is rumored to discontinue the iPad 9, which is cheaper than the tenth generation, and possibly making the Pro models more expensive, I still think the lineup is pretty confusing – and I blame the iPad Air.

Apple should discontinue the iPad Air

iPad models available in 2022
iPad models available in 2022

If you think about it, Apple should discontinue the iPad Air and boost the entry-level model. There are little differences between the A15/16 Bionic and the M1 or M2 chips. But as the company is rumored to add more Air models, it’s going to be harder for the customer to choose a tablet, as they will get similar (but not the same) features as the Pro models but still pay a lot of money.

With a boosted entry-level model, Apple could still profit from educational and casual users and draw a clear line between what’s Pro and what’s not. The mini model, on the other hand, could stay as it is: an option for Kindle-like users who want a smaller tablet for convenient usage.

That said, I believe the iPad Air makes Apple’s tablet lineup confusing. Although there would be a huge price gap between a $400 to a $800 tablet, Apple could offer between this price range more storage or a few other improved specs, such as a Mac mini that has the M2 but also the M2 Pro options.

I can’t wait for the iPad Pro, as this is one of the Apple products I’m looking forward to the most in 2024. But if you want an iPad, choose the tenth generation – or the upcoming eleventh generation. The Air is not worth it.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.