Apple’s new wallet-friendly iPad is a good one. It looks the same as last year’s cheap iPad, and it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it offers plenty for the price. It’s the iPad I would give to my nieces and nephews to play educational games or read books, or the iPad I would buy for a grandparent who wants a larger screen for playing games and FaceTiming with me, their favorite grandchild.
There is nothing—and I mean nothing—exciting about this iPad. If you want a giant, nearly bezel-free display, Face ID, powerful performance, and compatibility with Apple’s excellent Magic Keyboard for iPad, you’ll have to splurge on an $800 iPad Pro. But that iPad is too much iPad, in both specs and price, for a lot of people. Even the $600 fourth-gen iPad Air, due out next month, has a completely new design and cutting-edge processor that might be overkill for some.
I do wish Apple would spice it up a little bit for those in the cheap seats, though. Maybe throw in some extra storage for the base model, which starts at a disappointingly low 32GB, or make the switch from Lightning to USB-C for charging. Perhaps bump up the processor to last year’s A13 Bionic instead of 2018’s A12 Bionic, or add some more features that make use of the A12’s Neural Engine, like Face ID (though, you know, I’m okay with this iPad’s Touch ID, because plenty of people still want that).
It’s an iPad! If that’s all you want, this is it.