Apple iPad

Cool factor *****
Usability *****
Value for money ***

Even a complete Apple convert must admit that the naming conventions of the iPad aren’t the simplest. We had the iPad, then the iPad 2, followed by the "new iPad" and the "fourth generation iPad".

Now they primarily use "new" and the screen measurement to distinguish between models — not that those measures are a one-off. The sister ranges like iPad Mini, Air and Pro at least give us a sense of the differentiation. Granted, this may be a niche gripe of tech writers.

Presumably, all customers want to know is "is it the latest?" and "what does it do?". So, with that in mind, the latest is the "new iPad 9.7 inch" – a slim, attractive and capable device that "by any other name would smell as sweet".

Apple tells us that 9.7 inches is their best-selling device size. It’s certainly a convenient one. Anything bigger tends to start feeling like a laptop without the keyboard. Anything smaller flirts with the phablet designation. This is the "Goldilocks" of sizes, that lets you browse, write and watch media (by yourself) comfortably. The screen itself offers "retina display", with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 (or 264ppi). It has rear and front camera — with the latter capable of 720p video for FaceTime HD.

"Under the hood", it has a 64-bit A9 chip processor which seems to handle even graphics-heavy or gaming apps smoothly and comfortably, and the installed operating system is iOS 10 with Siri-functionality.

The battery promises up to 10 hours of life so you can leave the charger behind on an average work day. To date, there are more than 1m iPad-specific apps now in the app store.

It is available in both Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + cellular models, and with storage of 32GB or 128GB. The entry-level 32GB Wi-Fi version will set you back R5,499, while the top-of-the-range 128GB with cellular model retails for around R9,499.

Though that’s not a tiny price tag (for tablets in general), it’s much more consumer-friendly than the iPad Pro pricing — which is aimed at the professional designer and creative market. The starting prices for new iPad Pro begin at R10,999.

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