Apple’s iPad could be the most underrated product in its lineup, but with the latest update, the company gives its entry-level users all the power and features they need to get the job done.
I’ve been using one of the new iPads for almost a week. This iPad comes with 256GB of storage, a 10.2-inch Retina display, the A13 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, a 12MP Ultra Wide front camera, an 8MP rear camera, support for the first-generation Apple Pencil, and 4G LTE cellular.
These are all essential features for the iPad’s target market of education, people entering the iPad product line, those that no longer need a computer, and quite honestly, even those people that need to work on it every day for their job.
The A13 Bionic chip with Neural Engine came out in 2019, so this is not a big step down in power. The A13 is still about six times faster than the best-selling Android tablet and three times faster than a Chromebook. Don’t let anyone tell you that this is not a powerful device. The A13 can run the more than 1 million apps available on the App Store.
I am currently running the same setup on my iPad as I do on my iPad Pro M1, and everything is working just fine. Of course, I love other features on the pro, but the iPad is very capable of doing my daily work routine.
The iPad comes in two storage configurations—64GB and 256GB. Many people will default to paying up for more storage because running out of space is a big fear. That fear is a real consideration in some cases, depending on what you’re doing with the iPad. However, I recommend thinking about what you plan to do with the iPad before blindly paying up for extra storage.
On my iPad, I am currently using about 40GB of the 256GB available. That includes all my photos and about 3GB of music (I always have some music downloaded for trips).
I store most of my files on iCloud where I have a 2TB account. Using iCloud for my storage makes sense to me for many reasons, including accessing the files from any of my other devices and having the ability to offload files from my devices.
My point is that there are other viable options for storage other than purchasing physical space. Be aware of what you will be using the iPad for and make the smartest choice for you.
Having support for the first-generation Apple Pencil is huge for the iPad and its target market. Imagine what educators can do with their students when they have an iPad and Apple Pencil at their disposal. It opens the possibilities so much for what they can teach.
Just have a look at this one article in June to see how educators are utilizing the iPad to teach students.
Not only does iPad come with a 10.2-inch Retina display, but now it also includes True Tone. This feature has been around in Apple products for a while now, and I like it. True Tone adjusts the display to the room’s color temperature, giving you a better viewing experience. It’s tough to explain, but once you see it, you’ll appreciate it.
The one feature I didn’t expect in the new iPad is Center Stage, but it makes perfect sense after thinking about it. Center Stage uses the 12MP front camera to keep you in the center of the camera frame automatically. If you move to the left or right, the camera will compensate for that movement. If someone else walks into the frame, Center Stage will zoom out to put both people in the frame. It’s a great feature these days when more of us are doing work or school remotely.
The rear 8MP camera supports 1080p HD video recording and, of course, taking pictures. You can also use it for Augmented Reality, used by gamers, interior design apps, and many other applications.
I like having a keyboard for my iPads. It’s a must-have for me, but that’s because of the type of work I do on my iPad—a lot of writing. Apple does have a Smart Keyboard that is compatible with the iPad, and it’s pretty good.
I often sit outside typing with the iPad on my lap, and the Smart Keyboard doesn’t always work so well in that circumstance. The angle of the iPad display is off a bit, making it hard to see what I’m doing. However, if I were a normal person and used the Smart Keyboard on a desk or table, it would work perfectly. If I could change one thing, it would be to have the option to purchase a Magic Keyboard for iPad because it is the absolute best.
This iPad uses the traditional form factor, meaning that it has a physical Home button on the bottom of the display. It does not use Face ID or the integrated Touch ID in the power button as the new iPad mini does. For many people, this is a plus because they like the Home button. It doesn’t matter to me because I’ve used all three ways to unlock my devices, and in my experience, it’s just what you become familiar with using.
There are more powerful iPad models in Apple’s lineup. iPad models that use 5G, USB-C, faster chips, support for a newer Apple Pencil, and more storage space. However, all of those cost more money and are targeted to a different audience.
The updated iPad makes it the perfect device for its target market at an affordable price, starting at $329. It allows people to use robust apps to create, learn, and work using a device that is powerful, easy to transport, and packed with features.
iPadOS 15 packs a lot of new features, but a few stood out to me. These features made using my iPad better, more efficient, and more productive. That’s what I’ll be focusing on here.
The most outstanding feature improvement in iPadOS 15 has to be multitasking. I’ve loved the ability to use multitasking on the iPad, but it always seemed like a hassle to get it working for me. Sometimes it was downright frustrating, but not anymore.
Now, when you open an app that supports multitasking, three dots appear on the top of the screen. You tap it to reveal the multitasking menu and choose Split View, Slide Over, or full screen. Then you select the app you want, and you are now using two apps.
I use this feature a lot in my daily work, and it makes things so much easier.
I’m as surprised as anyone that I would say Widgets are among my top new features. However, having the ability to place widgets on my Home Screen has changed things for me.
I have a lot of the information I’m looking for in a widget right in front of me, so I don’t have to go looking. Upcoming Calendar events, weather, and even pictures are among the widgets on my iPad. Interestingly, I’ve looked at more photos in my library since installing that widget than I ever have before. Sometimes, it is nice to reminisce.
I was glad to see App Library come to iPad. I never liked scrolling through pages of apps, so I would always use search. Now, I have the home page with my main apps and then the App Library. That’s it.
App Library is set up so my top used apps are available with a single tap, so I swipe to the App Library and tap the app I want. It’s faster than using search. When I need a lesser-used app, I swipe to App Library and then search.
Having my apps set up like this saves me time and is a much better experience.
Focus is an interesting new feature that gives you control over what happens on your iPad while in a particular mode. I mainly use Focus for sleep, so I don’t get interrupted when I’m trying to get some rest, but there are plenty of other ways to take advantage of Focus modes.
Turning on a Focus mode allows you to, well, focus on the job at hand. Focus enables you to draw boundaries around what is allowed and what isn’t. You can control notifications, the visible apps, and the people who can contact you while in a Focus mode.
Focus isn’t just for work; you can have a personal focus set up too. You can block work notifications for an hour or so, allowing you to focus on your personal tasks.
Apple is all about privacy and security, so it’s no surprise that a couple of my favorite new features are about privacy. The first is Mail Privacy Protection, which stops people or companies from knowing whether or not you’ve even opened an email from them. Some emails contain tracking pixels or use remote content to track you to build a profile of your habits and learn your location.
Mail Privacy Protection protects you from this type of behavior. Apple sends all remote content downloaded through multiple proxy servers, preventing the offending email from ever knowing your IP address or location. Apple assigns a random IP address only from your region.
The last two privacy features I like are part of iCloud+.
iCloud Private Relay allows you to browse the internet more securely. Traffic leaving your device is encrypted, so nobody can intercept and read what you are doing. Requests are sent through two separate relays, so your identity and your browsing are secure and private.
Hide My Email is another fantastic feature that allows you to set up alias email accounts to sign-up for services. All of those emails are delivered to your iCloud account, so you can get the correspondence you want, but you don’t have to give your actual email to a service if you don’t want to. When you are done, delete the alias, and the sender can no longer contact you.
There are many other great features in iPadOS 15 that may make your iPad experience great, but these are the ones that stood out to me.