People ALWAYS ask me how they can get a good deal on an iPad. Since last year, my recommendation has pretty consistently been to just check out Apple’s own base model iPad. Well last week, Apple added compatibility with their (fantastic) premium stylus, the Apple Pencil, to the new sixth generation of the iPad.
For the most part, this new sixth-generation iPad is the same as the fifth-generation model it replaces. Its physical dimensions are unchanged, so existing cases and accessories should continue to work. It comes in the same three colors: silver, gold, and space gray. Even the pricing and options remain the same, with a 32 GB model starting at $329—the jump to 128 GB adds $100, and cellular capabilities add $130.
I mentioned that Apple added support for the Apple Pencil stylus to this new iPad. The Apple Pencil was previously only compatible with the iPad Pro line, which started at $649. Thanks to a high-resolution touch sensor in the iPad’s Retina screen and palm-rejection technology, you can now use the $99 Apple Pencil in compatible apps on this much cheaper iPad. As with the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil is sensitive to pressure and tilt so you can vary line weight and shading, much as with a traditional pencil.
Also new in the sixth-generation iPad is Apple’s A10 Fusion chip, with its embedded M10 coprocessor. Apple claims that the new processors provide up to 40-percent faster CPU and 50-percent faster graphics performance.
This upgraded processor is also the reason for the iPad’s new camera capabilities. Unlike the previous iPad, the sixth-generation iPad can take Live Photos and supports body detection in images along with the previously supported face detection. Also new is support for the Retina Flash feature that turns the screen into a giant flash when taking selfies.
Additionally, Apple updated it’s FREE suite of office apps, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, to include support for Apple Pencil. If you haven’t been using Pages, Numbers, and Keynote on the iPad, the latest updates may encourage you to try Apple’s iWork apps—remember, they’re available for free in the App Store. Notably, the three apps allow you to draw, sketch, and write directly within documents. Even more interesting, though, is Apple’s Smart Annotations feature, currently in beta. With it, your comments and proofing marks anchor dynamically to text, and stay with the text they were attached to even as the document changes.
If you’re looking for the best deal on an iPad, Apple has made the sixth generation iPad, starting at only $329, a pretty attractive deal.