Apple just revamped the iPad lineup. There are now five distinct units from which to choose. And while that may seem daunting, it strangely simplifies the lineup. Here is a breakdown of the lineup:
iPad $329 - it is the most generic tablet that can still be called an iPad. Think content consumption on a larger screen. It also travels well.
iPad mini $399 - It is better than the iPad in most every way, and, it’s smaller.
iPad Air $499 - From the beginning, the canonical iPad was priced at $499. This price point has always represented the iPad that most people should get. It still does, now, more than ever.
iPad Pro “11 $799 - This is a $300 jump in price that forces the buyer to clarify what exactly they are hoping to get out of their purchase. This is the iPad with all the bells and whistles, and can be seriously considered as one’s only computer.
iPad Pro “12.9 $999 - This is not a companion device. It is a primary machine for getting things done. You should know exactly why you want this machine. You should take it as seriously as a laptop purchase.
1. Be Honest About the Kind of User You Are
Before you decide between the iPad Pro and the iPad casual, you need to determine the kind of user you are. Don’t worry about the machines. Picking the right product is more about knowing yourself and being comfortable in your own skin.
If you are the kind of person who likes cutting-edge products and has the budget to acquire them, apart from any other consideration, you should get the highest-end iPad you can spec. You will not be happy with anything less. But if you don’t care that much about tech and just want a practical touch-screen device for basic tasks, go with the iPad. Anything more would be a waste.
You can never achieve maximum satisfaction with an iPad that does not match the type of user you are. Thinking aspirationally is a mistake. Think realistically. The iPad is not amenable to what you want to be, but to what you actually are. So pick the one that fits who you are right now as a user. And you will be much happier with your purchase.
2. Forget About the Price
In less than a month, you will have forgotten what you paid for the iPad. You will only be left with whether you are enjoying it or not. If you are not, it doesn’t matter how little you paid. And if you are enjoying it, then it will not matter how much you paid.
If what you want is the $499 iPad, you will never be happy with the $329 iPad. So if all you have is $329, don’t buy the iPad until you have saved more money. The same is true for options. If you want the cellular version but can’t stand the extra $129, wait until you can afford it. You can’t add it later. Don’t let price cheat you out of enjoyment.
3. Give It a Job
We derive greater satisfaction from things that have a clear purpose. If you don’t give your iPad a job, you will soon start to question why you purchased it in the first place.
A few years ago, I bought a mini 4 to serve as my bedside reader. The first thing I would do in the morning was to catch up on my news feed. It would take between 30 minutes and an hour. That one job was enough to justify the purchase, and maintain my enjoyment in the product.
It is conceivable that one could own and enjoy all five iPads. It is just that each one would need a well-defined job that justifies its existence. There is nothing wrong with having a bedside iPad and a couch iPad provided that you give them things to do. The same is true for a house iPad and a travel iPad. iPad’s with clearly defined jobs empower happy users.
Once your iPad has a job, give it the appropriate accessories. If you have an iPad for drawing and note-taking, then it is obvious that you are going to need an Apple Pencil. Curse the price if you must. But buy the accessory that will bring you the most joy.
Be sure to dress up your iPad in a protective or decorative case. Pick up a Smart Cover for those times when you just want to prop it up to watch TV. Spring for the Smart Keyboard if you know you are going to be typing things like the article you are currently reading. Pick up a sleeve so that you can carry it in style and safety. Accessorizing is not just practical, but fun.
5. Support Developers
This is not about altruism. It is well within your motivated self-interest to support the developers who are making the apps that add value to your iPad purchase. No one buys a podcast app because they need it. There is a perfectly serviceable app installed in every device. People buy third-party podcast apps because they get more enjoyment from them. The same is true for notes apps, calendar apps, reminders apps, etc.
The next time you have to spend some time in Word, consider purchasing the Office 365 subscription and doing that task on your iPad. The same goes for Ulysses. These apps are fantastic, and do not exist without receiving massive support from users. Start exploring the App Store and discover just how much more enjoyment you can get from your iPad.
If you have found that your initial enthusiasm for the iPad has waned over time, it could be because you purchased the wrong iPad for the kind of user you are, or let the price stand between you and the iPad you really wanted.
Even if that is the case, you can get more from your current iPad by giving it a job, accessorizing it, and finding the one or two apps that make you reach for it again and again.