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Good advice for buying an iPad

The Verge has some good advice on buying an iPad and choosing between the many models available.

Now’s the time to buy last year’s iPad by Dan Seifert cuts through the messy collection of Apple iPad models with this core advice …

… thing that remains the same is it is an iPad.
There might be minor differences between them here and there, but at the end of the day, they all perform very similarly and have access to the same vast library of apps.
That means you can buy an older model now and not have to worry too much …

That’s right. Like most modern devices (including iPhone), they are all very powerful. The differences between the various models is slight and not always reflected in the price difference.

Feature Plateau

Modern tablets and smartphones have reached a feature plateau where each new model isn’t much different from last years. The same thing happened to cars in the 20th Century and, to some extent also applies to long-standing software like Windows, MacOS and Microsoft Office.

2021 iPad vs 2022 iPad

The Verge article points out there’s two major differences between the 2021 and 2022 iPad:

  • M1 processor in 2021 vs M2 in the 2022 model
  • Apple Pencil has a hover mode in the 2022 iPad.

But the 2021 iPad costs about US$200 less than the newer 2022 version. Choose whichever capabilities you want — storage and in-built cellular connection.

Wifi only iPad

Office Watch suggest saving money and getting the Wifi only iPad. Unless you’re regularly walking around with an iPad and need the ‘always on’ connection, the cost of the cellular extra isn’t justified.

Remember that you’ll have to also pay for a separate mobile/cellular connection for the iPad.

For most people, an iPad can be connected via ‘tethering’ from their smartphone — called ‘Personal Hotspot’ on an iPhone, if there’s no other wifi available. That shares your existing mobile broadband data allowance.

iPads and Microsoft Office

Any modern iPad will work with the Microsoft Office apps.

Sure, the apps will run a little faster on the more recent models, but the difference will be small and quite possibly not even noticable.

The Office for iPad apps require iOS 14 or later – that’s the Office ‘all in one’ app and the separate ‘mobile’ apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Keep in mind that iPad’s with a screen size over 10.1″ need a Microsoft 365 plan to run the Office apps (Microsoft considers any screen over 10.1″ to be a computer).

Anyone with a smaller iPad (under 10.1″ screen) can run the various Office apps without a Microsoft 365 ‘subscription’ but there are some extra features for the paying customers.

For more info see Four ways to put Microsoft Office on your iPad

Older iPads

Even older iPads are OK for most people’s modest needs. The 2018 and 2020 models are perfectly adequate too.

They are rarely available new but there’s plenty second-hand from reputable retailers. The main concern is battery condition and a screen without cracks or scratches.

Look on eBay for sellers with a long track record, many completed sales and excellent rating.

Apple Refurbished

If buying second-hand worries you, look at the Apple Refurbished store. This is the lesser known part of the Apple online store where they sell returns. The availability varies but the products are ‘as new’ – in fact it would be hard to tell a refurbished iPhone/iPad from a new one.

Apple Refurbished products have a one-year warranty and is available for Mac computers, iPhone, iPad, Watch and other products.

Find Apple Store Refurbished by scrolling to the very bottom of web page for your country .. look for ‘Refurbished and Clearance’.

We found Apple Refurbished in the USA, Canada UK and Australia – note that the availability varies a lot.

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