Making Sense of the Basic iPad 2019
This all began in a surprise late September release. Not a lot of people expected it because it came almost right after the iPhone 11 launch event. While we were all still talking about the iPhone’s camera set-up and the new colour variants, Apple slyly launched a new line-up of iPads.
But, this time, it’s different. Instead of announcing just two – the iPad Air and the iPad Mini like what they’ve been doing in recent years, they also announced a basic iPad. This is surprising because they seemingly axed the basic iPad line back in 2012 when they stopped upgrading them.
It is important to note that Apple did technically release a basic iPad back in 2017 but they basically made an iPad Air upgrade more than a refresh of the basic iPad. They essentially put an iPad Air 1 chassis and stuffed it with modern internals.
But alas, we’ve got the new basic iPad 2019 this year. Luckily it takes nothing away from what you’d expect from an Apple tablet. It’s well-built, easy to use, and it works the way you expect it to. The new iPad OS also works perfectly with it if not for some bugs that even the iPad Pros are having.
So, what about this iPad that compelled Apple to make it after 7 years of absence?
The previous iPad had a 9.7-inch screen. This new one boasts a 10.2-inch screen. This is, without a doubt, one of the most significant improvements to the iPad in recent history. Even if you include the iPad Air which effectively replaced the basic iPad in 2013, there still hasn’t been anything of this magnitude to come to the iPad.
It’s become a content consumption champion because of it. With more screen real estate, you’d be able to binge on your Netflix shows at a more comfortable distance from the screen. Writing documents should also be a little easier on a bigger display.
Although the screen size upgrade is welcome, it is not without its caveat. Once you actually have it in your hand, you’d quickly notice that it’s a screen of lesser quality than the others that launched with it. if you compare it with the iPad Mini 5, for example, you’d notice that there’s a slight gap between the screen and the glass. If you look closely when you use it, you’d notice that your fingers would cast a shadow on the display. This is because Apple decided not to equip it with a laminated display. My guess is that it’s a cost-cutting measure that allows them sell it for a whopping $329.
Old Processor, Still Excellent Performance
Speaking of cost-cutting, another area where Apple decided to keep its expenses down is by equipping the iPad 2019 with an outdated chipset. More specifically, they used the A10 chip. It was originally the processor that came with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7+.
If users of these phones are any indicator, though, you shouldn’t be worried about this. iPhone 7 and 7+ owners have become one of the most stubborn users who refuse to upgrade their phones. Partly, this is due to the A10’s snappy performance despite being outdated.
Compatibility with Apple Input Peripherals
One of the things that held iPads back was that it wasn’t a very good productivity machine. Sure, you could answer emails with the touchscreen keyboard but it just wasn’t going to be pleasant that way. For some people, this was the deal breaker. A purely content consumption machine just didn’t make sense when you have other similarly-priced notebooks that could do both content consumption and productivity tasks relatively well.
The iPad 2019 aims to change that by equipping it with the Smart Connector that originally debuted in the iPad Pro. If you’ve been itching to write a novel on a sub $400 tablet, then this year is the time to do that.
Apple’s Smart Keyboard for its iPads is incredible to type on. The texture, key travel, and portability are just spot on.
Furthermore, it’s also got Apple Pencil support. This enables you to draw on the screen with ease. However, you shouldn’t expect the best possible experience with as the non-laminated screen might take a little away from it. Despite this, it still is nice that you have the option to do it if you want or need to. Especially for people just want to try out their hand at digital art. If you’re a professional though, you’re better off with the other iPad versions as those have better colour reproduction and laminated screen.
The iPad 2019 lends support to the to the axiom that the whole is not the sum of all its parts. It is no doubt, a lesser iPad in a lot of aspects. But, the user experience on it is amazing. Everything on it works exactly how you thought it would behave. In some apps, it doesn’t veer too much away from the performance of the iPad Pros. Only in heavy duty tasks will it let you down. And for the price tag on this, you probably won’t be expecting to do those on the iPad 2019 either.
So, if you’re looking for a content consumption device that can do some light work, I think this is the one to get. It’s inching closer to being a decent laptop replacement especially if you opt to get the $159 keyboard.
If you get the pen, it’s also worth noting that it should give you a bit more value than other similarly priced digital drawing gear. While it does have some limitations for professionals, it has the all the basics of a drawing tablet.