Is The New iPad a Bargain for Field Users?

In April 4, 2017

Last week Apple released a new iPad with a 9.7” screen at a price that makes it appear to be a bargain when compared to the 9.7” iPad Pro. But will field users find it to be a suitable alternative to the other offerings from Apple? The short answer is “no”.

Apple is now offering four iPad Models. I have listed them in the table below along with the specifications that most field users will find important.

I selected the WiFi+Cellular models in the table above, as for most field users the built-in GPS is essential. Also, although most field users could manage with a 32 GB model, 128 GB is the minimum for both the iPad Mini and iPad Pro 12.9”.

Personally I find the iPad Pro 12.9” to be far too big for most field applications. Most of my colleagues prefer the iPad Mini as it is easy to carry in a vest pocket and hold in your hand. My own preference is the 9.7” model. I find that I can do a much better job of annotating images and greatly prefer this size for viewing the video feed when piloting a drone. The Apple Pencil can help when it comes to detailed annotations.

Although the device size and screen size are important considerations, what trumps all other features is the ability to view the screen in the outdoors. The laminated display, antireflective coating, and the True Tone Color feature all contribute to creating a display that is much easier to view in the outdoors. The complete lack of these features in the new iPad makes this an unacceptable tablet for use in the outdoors.

If you really don’t have the budget for an iPad Pro or iPad Mini 4 get a refurbished iPad Air 2. It is not as good as either of these newer iPad’s but is significantly better than the new iPad. At a little under $500 US for a 64 GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular it is the real bargain!

By Brian Saunders
Tablet Ex-Gear