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noisedude

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 10, 2009
63
56
I need an iPad partly for screen/device testing in web development; I always spot things I missed when testing in responsive mode on a larger screen, plus it's a nice excuse to buy a new one.

The main other things I'd use it for are:
  • General use like web, YouTube, email
  • I want to try note-taking handwriting-to-text with a Pencil, instead of paper (which probably rules out the mini)
  • Zoom/Facetime calls
I'm not really fussed about:
  • Editing video
  • Photography
  • Tonnes of storage (I use iCloud/iCloud Photos/Apple Music)
  • Attempting web development without a mouse...
I haven't bought an iPad in about five years so I want this one to last a while too. I've tried one of the older 12.9" iPad Pros and it's too big for what I need.

So I guess I'm asking: in autumn 2021, is the Air the sweet spot or does the Pro have something I really want? Or am I being silly and should just buy the entry level iPad?

Thank you! :)
 
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warpdrive

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2013
181
269
strictly speaking, the base iPad will do all that stuff fine.

The Air gets you a nicer screen...has anti-glare coating, and laminated...it's just nicer to look at.

Air supports Apple Pencil 2....with magnetic docking/charging....very convenient if you are using the Pencil a lot. I like the touchID on the corner button too....no home button which is hard to go back to after using iPhone

Pro gets you speed, Pro Motion, improved speakers. The Center Stage might be useful for FaceTime.

I would get the Air and if I felt like Splurging, the Pro. But the Air is a fine middle ground.
 

dsusanj

macrumors regular
Oct 29, 2008
188
316
I wouldn't get the Air 4 at this point as it's in a bit of a weird spot (A14 etc.) regardless of it being the middle ground unless you are really fine with having the 64 GB model for the next five years.

Once you start thinking about getting more storage, the 128 GB 11" iPad Pro is actually a much better value for pretty much the same money when compared to the 256 GB Air 4 and is also quite a substantial upgrade (ProMotion, M1, 8 GB RAM, speakers etc.).

So I'd suggest, given your use cases, you're either fine with the iPad 9 or it's worth going for the 11" Pro given how long you expect to keep the device.
 
Last edited:

ericwn

macrumors G4
Apr 24, 2016
11,794
10,338
I wouldn't get the Air 4 at this point as it's in a bit of a weird spot (A14 etc.) regardless of it being the middle ground unless you are really fine with having the 64 GB model for the next five years.

Once you start thinking about getting more storage, the 128 GB 11" iPad Pro is actually a much better value for pretty much the same money when compared to the 256 GB Air 4 and is also quite a substantial upgrade (ProMotion, M1, 8 GB RAM, speakers etc.).

So I'd suggest, given your use cases, you're either fine with the iPad 9 or it's worth going for the 11" Pro given how long you expect to keep the device.

Excellent post in my opinion! I’d personally look at the 11” Pro if you can make it work financially.
 
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noisedude

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 10, 2009
63
56
This is really helpful, thank you all!

I thought I was mad considering the Pro but the Air seems to be caught between generations now. I could wait until the next one comes out, but that's literally always true isn't it? I'll have a think about whether I can justify the spend. :)
 

yitwail

macrumors 6502
Sep 4, 2011
427
479
This is really helpful, thank you all!

I thought I was mad considering the Pro but the Air seems to be caught between generations now. I could wait until the next one comes out, but that's literally always true isn't it? I'll have a think about whether I can justify the spend. :)
Another web dev here, and I'm waiting on an updated Air before making a purchase decision. You mentioned zoom/facetime so keep in mind the current Air has a lesser webcam than the base iPad.
 

warpdrive

macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2013
181
269
There have been pretty decent discounts on the Air which makes it a good value IMO despite the A14. We picked up the Air from Costco at $100 off for example...it was a lot cheaper than the Pro.

Mostly I don't find a huge difference in the processors. I upgraded from a XS Max to 13, and I would be hard pressed to tell which one is which unless they were side by side. Every processor is fast in Appleland.

Anyway, the Air is mid cycle so it should be updated next year.

Of course, if you got the Pro, you definitely get a lot of iPad for the money. If you don't upgrade until every 5 years, maybe spending a few $ more upfront isn't a bad idea.
 

The-Real-Deal82

macrumors P6
Jan 17, 2013
16,176
23,821
Wales, United Kingdom
I need an iPad partly for screen/device testing in web development; I always spot things I missed when testing in responsive mode on a larger screen, plus it's a nice excuse to buy a new one.

The main other things I'd use it for are:
  • General use like web, YouTube, email
  • I want to try note-taking handwriting-to-text with a Pencil, instead of paper (which probably rules out the mini)
  • Zoom/Facetime calls
I'm not really fussed about:
  • Editing video
  • Photography
  • Tonnes of storage (I use iCloud/iCloud Photos/Apple Music)
  • Attempting web development without a mouse...
I haven't bought an iPad in about five years so I want this one to last a while too. I've tried one of the older 12.9" iPad Pros and it's too big for what I need.

So I guess I'm asking: in autumn 2021, is the Air the sweet spot or does the Pro have something I really want? Or am I being silly and should just buy the entry level iPad?

Thank you! :)

I bought a 64GB Air and plan to keep it 5 years or until it slows down. It’s a good iPad despite what many here will say. Worth checking out and some good deals are appearing.
 

noisedude

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 10, 2009
63
56
Good points. I miss the days when there was only one iPad screen size to cater to!

I would think between core web vitals stuff and some older iPhones I’ve probably got slow device testing covered. Or maybe I just don’t want to be talked into getting the base one when there’s shiny new ones with no bezels!

I’ll check out the rumour mill on the next Air’s release date and decide whether it’s worth the wait. I can’t tell that much speed difference between my 13 mini and the X it replaced.
 
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noisedude

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 10, 2009
63
56
I feel like in a web dev forum we’d all be convincing each other we needed the most expensive one for work, pretending we hadn’t noticed that any Mac from 2015 onwards still has all the power you need to run a browser, a text editor and do a little bit in Photoshop/Illustrator. ?
 
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dennisk85

macrumors newbie
Nov 16, 2021
1
0
Germany
I need an iPad partly for screen/device testing in web development; I always spot things I missed when testing in responsive mode on a larger screen, plus it's a nice excuse to buy a new one.

The main other things I'd use it for are:
  • General use like web, YouTube, email
  • I want to try note-taking handwriting-to-text with a Pencil, instead of paper (which probably rules out the mini)
  • Zoom/Facetime calls
I'm not really fussed about:
  • Editing video
  • Photography
  • Tonnes of storage (I use iCloud/iCloud Photos/Apple Music)
  • Attempting web development without a mouse...
I haven't bought an iPad in about five years so I want this one to last a while too. I've tried one of the older 12.9" iPad Pros and it's too big for what I need.

So I guess I'm asking: in autumn 2021, is the Air the sweet spot or does the Pro have something I really want? Or am I being silly and should just buy the entry level iPad?

Thank you! :)
Why do you consider the Mini to be ruled out? Seems like it has all you‘re asking for, except the larger screen…
 
Last edited:

1BadManVan

macrumors 68040
Dec 20, 2009
3,144
3,278
Bc Canada
The iPad 9 checks all the boxes for your needs. It just depends if you want the basic or go all fancy on the pro. The upgraded FaceTime cameras on the iPad 9 and the pro is a good reason to skip the air 4 if you’re using it for facetime calls.

ipad 9 is generally all most need, heck, it’s more then I needed and I still went for the pro because I can lol
 
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Andysapple

macrumors member
Nov 18, 2020
67
72
Base iPad is fine for you needs. The Air/Pro models will absolutely provide a better experience even at basic tasks due to the better screen and speakers but if you want to pay premium price for that is up to you :).
 

Zapdoc

macrumors 6502
Mar 4, 2012
382
69
I need an iPad partly for screen/device testing in web development; I always spot things I missed when testing in responsive mode on a larger screen, plus it's a nice excuse to buy a new one.

The main other things I'd use it for are:
  • General use like web, YouTube, email
  • I want to try note-taking handwriting-to-text with a Pencil, instead of paper (which probably rules out the mini)
  • Zoom/Facetime calls
I'm not really fussed about:
  • Editing video
  • Photography
  • Tonnes of storage (I use iCloud/iCloud Photos/Apple Music)
  • Attempting web development without a mouse...
I haven't bought an iPad in about five years so I want this one to last a while too. I've tried one of the older 12.9" iPad Pros and it's too big for what I need.

So I guess I'm asking: in autumn 2021, is the Air the sweet spot or does the Pro have something I really want? Or am I being silly and should just buy the entry level iPad?

Thank you! :)
New
 

rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
14,351
12,281
New Mini 2021 would be best with 256GB and processor A15. Great screen and very portable

I know there are plenty of mini lovers here but the mini is a pretty niche choice. I think for most, bigger iPads are preferable.

The last statistical breakdown I saw was 57% base iPad, 19% Air and 17% Pro so inferring from that, the mini represents just 7% of iPad sales.

I feel like for people getting the mini, they don't need recommendations. They already know what they want and why they want it, and are willing to deal with its quirks for ultimate iPad portability.
 
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noisedude

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 10, 2009
63
56
Why do you consider the Mini to be ruled out? Seems like it has all you‘re asking for, except the larger screen…
Mainly that I love making lists and sketching out plans on A4 paper and I’d like to get close to that tactile experience but with cloud syncing for the hybrid home/office era.

I worry the mini is too small and I’d just go back to paper.
 

noisedude

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 10, 2009
63
56
The iPad 9 checks all the boxes for your needs. It just depends if you want the basic or go all fancy on the pro. The upgraded FaceTime cameras on the iPad 9 and the pro is a good reason to skip the air 4 if you’re using it for facetime calls.

ipad 9 is generally all most need, heck, it’s more then I needed and I still went for the pro because I can lol

Base iPad is fine for you needs. The Air/Pro models will absolutely provide a better experience even at basic tasks due to the better screen and speakers but if you want to pay premium price for that is up to you :).

You’re both right. Being honest, though, I think my heart is set on a full face display. Just irritating that the Air is out of phase with the others.
 

rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
14,351
12,281
You’re both right. Being honest, though, I think my heart is set on a full face display. Just irritating that the Air is out of phase with the others.

With holiday sales (likely $649-699) for the iPad Pro 11" 128GB Wi-Fi, it's not significantly more expensive than the Air.

Mind, I have both Air 4 and Pro 11. If you don't need to use the Pro 11 while wearing a mask, FaceID is way more convenient than power button TouchID.
 

noisedude

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 10, 2009
63
56
I doubt anyone’s on tenterhooks wondering how this ended but I decided to follow my heart and got an 11” M1 Pro. Got a few bits in the BF event including this and the gift cards can go towards a new MBP once I’m over the notch…..

It’s ridiculous that this is currently my most powerful computer but I love it and the Pencil is experience is sooo much better than the 1st Gen 13” Pro/Pencil I’ve played with previously. Actually the iPad has really grown up generally since I last bought one.

Thanks to everyone for your help!
 

1BadManVan

macrumors 68040
Dec 20, 2009
3,144
3,278
Bc Canada
I doubt anyone’s on tenterhooks wondering how this ended but I decided to follow my heart and got an 11” M1 Pro. Got a few bits in the BF event including this and the gift cards can go towards a new MBP once I’m over the notch…..

It’s ridiculous that this is currently my most powerful computer but I love it and the Pencil is experience is sooo much better than the 1st Gen 13” Pro/Pencil I’ve played with previously. Actually the iPad has really grown up generally since I last bought one.

Thanks to everyone for your help!
Good choice, I love my M1 Pro, overkill for me but I still appreciate the smoother experience and knowing it’s going to be this fast for a long time to come
 
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noisedude

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 10, 2009
63
56
Good choice, I love my M1 Pro, overkill for me but I still appreciate the smoother experience and knowing it’s going to be this fast for a long time to come
Thanks. Yeah, I think this is as close to future proof as you can get and that works because iPads and Watches are things I buy as infrequently as possible!
 
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