Apple wants to simplify the iPad lineup next year

Dec 11, 2023

Apple has been working on simplifying the iPad lineup for next year. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports that the Cupertino company will trim its tablet series, to help users decide which one suits their needs.

The iPad conundrum

As you may be aware, there are quite a few iPads that you can buy today, it can be difficult to decide which one to get. The current lineup includes the likes of the iPad Mini, iPad Air, iPad Pro, and the regular iPad. To make matters more confusing, it also sells the previous year's iPad model at a slightly lower price.

Apple's idea was to offer various tablets at different sizes and budgets. This may have been viewed as a good business move, but ultimately it didn't work out great because they offered too many choices for consumers. Not many buyers will know the differences between the technical specifications of each iPad. There are marginal differences between iPads, but then there is another factor to consider, the price.

The 9th gen iPad is available for $329, but the 10th gen model costs $449. Meanwhile, the 5th gen iPad Air, which carries a price tag of $599, is about $200 cheaper than the iPad Pro which costs $799.

Apple iPad lineup is quite confusing

This makes it very difficult for a buyer to decide which iPad to get. But the confusion does not end here, Apple has a variety of accessories for each model. It is not apparent which accessory will work with a specific iPad model, for example, an older gen iPad does not support the recently launched Apple Pencil. Similarly, the latest iPad doesn't actually work with the high-end Apple Pencil. It barely makes sense, doesn't it?

Does it matter if the display on a tablet is a few inches bigger than a cheaper iPad? Would buyers prefer more powerful hardware instead? This is something that Apple may have underestimated, which could have been the cause of poor iPad sales.

It was not always the case, a decade ago, Apple had just 2 iPads, a regular sized one, and a larger tablet. It also sold the previous year's model to attract buyers with a lower price tag, but this didn't cause a lot of trouble like the cluttered lineup that we see today.

In order to solve this, Apple turned to one of its own products, Mac. Macs, especially MacBooks have a sizeable user base who prefer it for school, work, and even for casual usage. They are more expensive than iPads, but the main factor is that Apple has fewer options for customers to choose from. For example, the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air models, and the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.

Apple wants to launch 2 new iPads

Apple wants to make the iPad lineups similar, which could help boost its iPad sales. Gurman reports that Apple could launch 4 new iPads in March, with a 10.9-inch model and a 12.9-inch iPad Air, and are expected to feature an M2 Silicon Soc. The next gen iPad Pro series, however, will be powered by an M3 chip, and are said to come in similar sizes, i.e. 11-inch and 13-inch models. Apple wants to make the differences between the regular and Pro versions more subtle, by giving the iPad Pro an OLED screen, a new design, and an improved Magic Keyboard.

Apple will discontinue the 9th-gen iPad when the 11th gen models are released, but it remains to be seen what the company does with the iPad Mini, will the compact tablet be discontinued as well? Doing so could push buyers towards Chromebooks.

M3 MacBook Air to launch in March

On a sidenote, Gurman says that Apple is prepping to launch 2 new laptops in Spring 2024. The company is working on two MacBook Air models that have been codenamed J613 and J615, and will be powered by an Apple M3 Silicon Soc.

Apple wants to simplify the iPad lineup next year
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Apple wants to simplify the iPad lineup next year
The next gen iPad lineup may not be as confusing than the current series.

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