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iPad Air 3 opinions?

ssledoux

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
2,729
2,001
Down south
I need to get my 8yo grandson a new iPad. I'm getting an LTE version (his younger brother will get his LTE 6th gen because they're moving out by us, and the wifi is not always consistent - he is on the spectrum, so he can't quite get why he can't watch his marble videos whenever he wants).

Anyway, because I'm doing LTE, I am likely gonna go through AT&T Next. I certainly don't want to spend AT&T prices for an 18 month old 6th gen, so I was considering getting him an Air 3.

Pros/cons to the Air 3?
 

Herrpod

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2019
541
1,041
Pro - it's awesome. It's fast, has a beautiful screen, and touch ID is still faster than Face ID, and thanks to the iPad Pro 10.5 being out for years, there's tons of peripherals already made for the Air.
Con - if you use it to watch videos without headphones, it's kinda jarring to only have audio come out of one side of the device. I doubt a kid would mind though.
 
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ssledoux

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
2,729
2,001
Down south
Yeah since that's what he's used to with his 6th gen pad anyway. I'm sure he wouldn't care about the speakers.

How much faster than 6th gen? I haven't really looked at specs - guess I could probably do that. ;-p
 
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Herrpod

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2019
541
1,041
Con: usb2 & lighting port.
Pro - headphone jack

As for speed, it's blazing fast. But so are most iPads made within the past few years so I'm not sure you could really see a difference unless you were exporting/editing video.
 
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Torty

macrumors member
Oct 16, 2013
84
30
Con: usb2 & lighting port.
For me the lightning port was a pro ;)
I agree what others posted:

pro
- fast
- beautiful display
- very good battery life
- headphone jack
- A12 (maybe neural engine becomes important for future IOS updates)

con
- speaker only from one side in landscape mode
- Older design

neutral
- touch id / no face iD
- 3GB RAM (only 1GB more than 2014 Air2)
- Only pencil gen 1 supported but it's cheaper
- Also available in gold (for some it's important)
 
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OldCorpse

macrumors 68000
Dec 7, 2005
1,544
163
compost heap
Here's what I've learned - Apple products, like ALL products are unreliable. I have the iPad Air3 and am very pleased. However, the more Apple moves to wireless solutions, the more it fails. I have had very, very bad experiences with such on my iPhone. For example, when my iPhone syncs with iTunes on the computer wirelessly throgh Wi-Fi, half the time it butchers the podcasts I've downloaded, by only downloading half of each podcast which is extremely frustrating if you are listening to a podcast while jogging and suddenly your podcast quits and starts over again in the middle.

The solution: use a cable to hook up the iPhone to the computer. Reality: Wi-Fi syncing is garbage (for me). Wireless FAIL!

Next - I have bluetooth earbuds (not Apple) - those worked fine for about a month, then randomly quit working. Nothing I did brought them back. So I switched to wired earphones (Apple ones). THANK GOD the iPhone 6S (which I have) has a headphone jack. So, reality: Bluetooth connectivity is garbage (for me). Wireless FAIL!

Next - external keyboard (not Apple) - same FAIL story as with earbuds - keyboard worked for awhile, then stopped. THANK GOD I have an Apple ASK - even if it doesn't do portrait orientation which is what I used the bluetooth for. So, reality: Bluetooth connectivity is garbage (for me). Wireless FAIL!

And so on. Seemingly we're making progress, getting rid of wires, but as we all know, it's just another vector for failure to occur (recently my bluethooth Apple Magic Keyboard started failing to connect with my iMac).

The fact is, as these things get increasingly complex, they also increasingly fail. Which is why I like to have options, such as wired solutions, headphone jacks and so on. The more Appple removes such options, the more you're left up the creek with no paddle when the *inevitable* failure occurs.

Which is why I never rely exclusively on iCloud or cloud services, instead like to have my files also kept locally - I've had cloud failures before, where syncing failed or updates didn't occur when I was counting on them. That's a big reason why I bought the 256GB version of the Air3, because I simply will not rely on iCloud as it will INEVITABLY fail at some point. Yet, more and more Apple is pushing iCloud only apps and solutions.

Apple - and everyone else - is moving more and more toward unreliability, and I'm trying to fight it as much as I can.

I find the Air3 more reliable than the iPad Pros in various configurations, what with their screen problems and various other nonsense for which I refuse to pay a premium.

FOCUS ON RELIABILITY PLEASE, APPLE!!!!
 
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canesalato

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,374
1,278
Here's what I've learned - Apple products, like ALL products are unreliable. I have the iPad Air3 and am very pleased. However, the more Apple moves to wireless solutions, the more it fails. I have had very, very bad experiences with such on my iPhone. For example, when my iPhone syncs with iTunes on the computer wirelessly throgh Wi-Fi, half the time it butchers the podcasts I've downloaded, by only downloading half of each podcast which is extremely frustrating if you are listening to a podcast while jogging and suddenly your podcast quits and starts over again in the middle.

The solution: use a cable to hook up the iPhone to the computer. Reality: Wi-Fi syncing is garbage (for me). Wireless FAIL!

Next - I have bluetooth earbuds (not Apple) - those worked fine for about a month, then randomly quit working. Nothing I did brought them back. So I switched to wired earphones (Apple ones). THANK GOD the iPhone 6S (which I have) has a headphone jack. So, reality: Bluetooth connectivity is garbage (for me). Wireless FAIL!

Next - external keyboard (not Apple) - same FAIL story as with earbuds - keyboard worked for awhile, then stopped. THANK GOD I have an Apple ASK - even if it doesn't do portrait orientation which is what I used the bluetooth for. So, reality: Bluetooth connectivity is garbage (for me). Wireless FAIL!

And so on. Seemingly we're making progress, getting rid of wires, but as we all know, it's just another vector for failure to occur (recently my bluethooth Apple Magic Keyboard started failing to connect with my iMac).

The fact is, as these things get increasingly complex, they also increasingly fail. Which is why I like to have options, such as wired solutions, headphone jacks and so on. The more Appple removes such options, the more you're left up the creek with no paddle when the *inevitable* failure occurs.

Which is why I never rely exclusively on iCloud or cloud services, instead like to have my files also kept locally - I've had cloud failures before, where syncing failed or updates didn't occur when I was counting on them. That's a big reason why I bought the 256GB version of the Air3, because I simply will not rely on iCloud as it will INEVITABLY fail at some point. Yet, more and more Apple is pushing iCloud only apps and solutions.

Apple - and everyone else - is moving more and more toward unreliability, and I'm trying to fight it as much as I can.

I find the Air3 more reliable than the iPad Pros in various configurations, what with their screen problems and various other nonsense for which I refuse to pay a premium.

FOCUS ON RELIABILITY PLEASE, APPLE!!!!

Absolutely agree on every single point!
An Air 3 design with apple pencil 2 and usb-c is my dream device.
 
Comment

AutisticGuy

macrumors member
Feb 1, 2018
94
172
It seems like the best choice to me. The iPad Air 3 is more sturdy than the iPad Pro. Normally having louder speakers would be an advantage, but in this case the quieter single speaker in the iPad Air 3 can be better for certain people on the spectrum. Beyond that, it's plenty fast enough.

Seems like a winner to me.
 
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ssledoux

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
2,729
2,001
Down south
It seems like the best choice to me. The iPad Air 3 is more sturdy than the iPad Pro. Normally having louder speakers would be an advantage, but in this case the quieter single speaker in the iPad Air 3 can be better for certain people on the spectrum. Beyond that, it's plenty fast enough.

Seems like a winner to me.

Thanks for all the input!

The Air 3 will actually be for my 8yo grandson, so I can give his younger brother, who’s on the spectrum, his 6th generation pad with LTE. The main issue for my grandson on the spectrum is the ability to have the LTE so when he IS using his iPad, he can watch the things he wants without counting on WiFi. The 5th generation he has doesn’t have LTE.

I certainly couldn’t justify buying him (at 4) an Air 3, since he is not quite as careful with his iPad as his older siblings.

Another plus for the 8yo is that he already has a first gen Apple Pencil he’s been using with his 6th gen, so he’ll have that for the Air 3. I’ll just have to get a case and screen protector. For those I get 10.5 inch pro, right?
 
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AutomaticApple

macrumors 603
Nov 28, 2018
5,017
1,952
Massachusetts
Pro - it's awesome. It's fast, has a beautiful screen, and touch ID is still faster than Face ID, and thanks to the iPad Pro 10.5 being out for years, there's tons of peripherals already made for the Air.
An eight year old on the autism spectrum wouldn’t care or even need any of those features. I actually know a few people on the spectrum. You should definitely go for the iPad Air 3. Your grandson will not care about the speakers or stuff like Touch ID.
 
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ssledoux

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
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Down south
An eight year old on the autism spectrum wouldn’t care or even need any of those features. I actually know a few people on the spectrum. You should definitely go for the iPad Air 3. Your grandson will not care about the speakers or stuff like Touch ID.

The 8yo that’s getting the Air3 is not the one on the spectrum, but I still don’t think an 8yo is gonna care about these sorts of things. It’s not like I would spend the money to get him a pro anyway. The Air3 is quite enough - likely too much for an 8yo.

Mainly, I just didn’t wanna overpay for a 6th gen iPad with LTE 18 months out; figured I’d wind up with more bang for my buck buying him the Air3. There are certainly things about it I know he’ll appreciate.

I just placed the order; now I just need to get on Amazon and get a case and screen protector.
 
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Herrpod

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2019
541
1,041
The 8yo that’s getting the Air3 is not the one on the spectrum, but I still don’t think an 8yo is gonna care about these sorts of things. It’s not like I would spend the money to get him a pro anyway. The Air3 is quite enough - likely too much for an 8yo.

Mainly, I just didn’t wanna overpay for a 6th gen iPad with LTE 18 months out; figured I’d wind up with more bang for my buck buying him the Air3. There are certainly things about it I know he’ll appreciate.

I just placed the order; now I just need to get on Amazon and get a case and screen protector.
For an 8 year old, I'd get the entry level iPad from 2018 for 249 dollars. If you don't think they'd notice or care about what I listed as Pros for the Air 3, the entry level unit would be perfect, and would still have some of the benefits from the Air 3. Entry level iPad is fast, has a lovely (albeit non-laminated) retina screen, supports the Apple Pencil, has a stupidly long battery life, and the speakers are as good as the Air 3. I think its only negatives are the air gap in the screen, slightly smaller screen, and it doesn't support True Tone. As far as cases for the Air goes, I bought a case from Khomo for the iPad Pro 10.5 that fits the Air 3 perfectly and only cost 10 bucks. It's very nice.
 
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ssledoux

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
2,729
2,001
Down south
For an 8 year old, I'd get the entry level iPad from 2018 for 249 dollars. If you don't think they'd notice or care about what I listed as Pros for the Air 3, the entry level unit would be perfect, and would still have some of the benefits from the Air 3. Entry level iPad is fast, has a lovely (albeit non-laminated) retina screen, supports the Apple Pencil, has a stupidly long battery life, and the speakers are as good as the Air 3. I think its only negatives are the air gap in the screen, slightly smaller screen, and it doesn't support True Tone. As far as cases for the Air goes, I bought a case from Khomo for the iPad Pro 10.5 that fits the Air 3 perfectly and only cost 10 bucks. It's very nice.

Thanks, but we have to have LTE, which brings the cost up anyway. He’s got the entry level now - that’s we are handing down to his brother because he needs LTE as well.

His birthday (the 8yo - well, very soon to be 8yo) is coming up in a couple weeks, so I figured if I’m replacing his iPad, I’m gonna get him something that’s an upgrade. The base Air 3 has 64 gigs also, which will be nice for him since he likes to store a few movies on his iPad (we travel a good bit, so they come in handy), as well as lots of games. Plus, I’m doing it on my AT&T Next, and I don’t want to do that with an iPad that’s already nearly 18 months old because I’d be WAY overpaying for it. Overpaying for an Air 3 (which of course I’ll do using NEXT) is a little more palatable because it’ll last him longer anyway.

I picked him up a thick rubber Fintie case for $16.99 (ALL my grandkids have these - they’re great for kids), and a screen protector. I think he’ll be super excited!
 
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rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,954
4,960
Thanks, but we have to have LTE, which brings the cost up anyway. He’s got the entry level now - that’s we are handing down to his brother because he needs LTE as well.

His birthday (the 8yo - well, very soon to be 8yo) is coming up in a couple weeks, so I figured if I’m replacing his iPad, I’m gonna get him something that’s an upgrade. The base Air 3 has 64 gigs also, which will be nice for him since he likes to store a few movies on his iPad (we travel a good bit, so they come in handy), as well as lots of games. Plus, I’m doing it on my AT&T Next, and I don’t want to do that with an iPad that’s already nearly 18 months old because I’d be WAY overpaying for it. Overpaying for an Air 3 (which of course I’ll do using NEXT) is a little more palatable because it’ll last him longer anyway.

I picked him up a thick rubber Fintie case for $16.99 (ALL my grandkids have these - they’re great for kids), and a screen protector. I think he’ll be super excited!
Yeah, needing LTE and having to pay full MSRP for iPads (over a period of 20 months) does change the value proposition between 6th gen and Air 3.

6th gen 32GB: $460 / 20 months = $23.00/mo
Air 3 64GB: $630 / 20 months = $31.50/mo

For the extra $8.50 per month, I'd definitely go Air 3 as well. Heck, even paying cash, I'd opt for the Air 3 given it's just $170 difference for pretty significant upgrades.

Mind, it's not like you're drastically overpaying for the Air 3 anyway. I mean, yeah, the LTE add-on costs a lot but there's nothing you can really do about that. Discounts on LTE models can be iffy and AT&T rarely offers discounts on iPads (unless it's 2-year contract with ETF or tied to iPhone purchase) so I doubt you'll save much (if any) by waiting.
 
Comment

sokzzuka

macrumors member
Feb 24, 2019
44
12
Here's what I've learned - Apple products, like ALL products are unreliable. I have the iPad Air3 and am very pleased. However, the more Apple moves to wireless solutions, the more it fails. I have had very, very bad experiences with such on my iPhone. For example, when my iPhone syncs with iTunes on the computer wirelessly throgh Wi-Fi, half the time it butchers the podcasts I've downloaded, by only downloading half of each podcast which is extremely frustrating if you are listening to a podcast while jogging and suddenly your podcast quits and starts over again in the middle.

The solution: use a cable to hook up the iPhone to the computer. Reality: Wi-Fi syncing is garbage (for me). Wireless FAIL!

Next - I have bluetooth earbuds (not Apple) - those worked fine for about a month, then randomly quit working. Nothing I did brought them back. So I switched to wired earphones (Apple ones). THANK GOD the iPhone 6S (which I have) has a headphone jack. So, reality: Bluetooth connectivity is garbage (for me). Wireless FAIL!

Next - external keyboard (not Apple) - same FAIL story as with earbuds - keyboard worked for awhile, then stopped. THANK GOD I have an Apple ASK - even if it doesn't do portrait orientation which is what I used the bluetooth for. So, reality: Bluetooth connectivity is garbage (for me). Wireless FAIL!

And so on. Seemingly we're making progress, getting rid of wires, but as we all know, it's just another vector for failure to occur (recently my bluethooth Apple Magic Keyboard started failing to connect with my iMac).

The fact is, as these things get increasingly complex, they also increasingly fail. Which is why I like to have options, such as wired solutions, headphone jacks and so on. The more Appple removes such options, the more you're left up the creek with no paddle when the *inevitable* failure occurs.

Which is why I never rely exclusively on iCloud or cloud services, instead like to have my files also kept locally - I've had cloud failures before, where syncing failed or updates didn't occur when I was counting on them. That's a big reason why I bought the 256GB version of the Air3, because I simply will not rely on iCloud as it will INEVITABLY fail at some point. Yet, more and more Apple is pushing iCloud only apps and solutions.

Apple - and everyone else - is moving more and more toward unreliability, and I'm trying to fight it as much as I can.

I find the Air3 more reliable than the iPad Pros in various configurations, what with their screen problems and various other nonsense for which I refuse to pay a premium.

FOCUS ON RELIABILITY PLEASE, APPLE!!!!

There is no business for Apple to make more reliable products.
If it last two years that plenty enough by Apple (and other corporations) standards.
year after year products are more and more unreliable and „repair proof”...
 
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ssledoux

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
2,729
2,001
Down south
Yeah, needing LTE and having to pay full MSRP for iPads (over a period of 20 months) does change the value proposition between 6th gen and Air 3.

6th gen 32GB: $460 / 20 months = $23.00/mo
Air 3 64GB: $630 / 20 months = $31.50/mo

For the extra $8.50 per month, I'd definitely go Air 3 as well. Heck, even paying cash, I'd opt for the Air 3 given it's just $170 difference for pretty significant upgrades.

Mind, it's not like you're drastically overpaying for the Air 3 anyway. I mean, yeah, the LTE add-on costs a lot but there's nothing you can really do about that. Discounts on LTE models can be iffy and AT&T rarely offers discounts on iPads (unless it's 2-year contract with ETF or tied to iPhone purchase) so I doubt you'll save much (if any) by waiting.

I feel like the deals are never as good for LTE versions, but I definitely think buying a 6th gen at that price this late in the game was the dumber move. Plus he’s a little older than the other grandkids, and it’s his only device - he has no video game systems or anything like that - so I feel like he’ll appreciate the nicer display overall for his games and movies.

It arrives today. Case and screen protector due to arrive tomorrow.
 
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Herrpod

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2019
541
1,041
Did you order through the education site? Just asking, because he is definitely a student and right now you could get him a free pair of Beats Solo 3s when you buy an iPad. They pair incredibly well with the iPad.
 
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ssledoux

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
2,729
2,001
Down south
Did you order through the education site? Just asking, because he is definitely a student and right now you could get him a free pair of Beats Solo 3s when you buy an iPad. They pair incredibly well with the iPad.

I didn't. I did it through AT&T. :(
 
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Herrpod

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2019
541
1,041
I didn't. I did it through AT&T. :(
Might be worth returning it because I'm guessing the student discount is also cheaper than ATT's price. In addition to the 200 dollar headphones you get free as well.
 
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ssledoux

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Sep 16, 2006
2,729
2,001
Down south
Might be worth returning it because I'm guessing the student discount is also cheaper than ATT's price. In addition to the 200 dollar headphones you get free as well.

I'd have to look into it. When I do LTE devices, I almost always get them through AT&T and on the NEXT plan, since I have to have the service anyway. It's nice to not have to come out of pocket all at once, although my phone bill SUCKS! ;-p
 
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