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Last year’s iPad is still a good buy, if you can find one

by Justin Herrick | March 31, 2018March 31, 2018 6:00 am PST

Before you rush out to purchase Apple’s new iPad, take a look at the price of last year’s model. It might just make you think twice about spending more money than necessary. Even if you decide to go with a model that has bigger storage, you could still pay significantly less than the same capacity on the new model.

As you’ve probably read already, there isn’t too much different between the models released in 2018 and 2017. Apple has made impressive upgrades in certain areas; however, maybe they’re not worth it to you. You’re not really “settling” for an inferior product, either. Instead, you’ll be spending what’s necessary to meet your needs. And there’s nothing better than saving some money while getting a great product.

The catch, however, is that you need to get hustling. Since the iPad (2018) is now shipping, retailers are pulling last year’s iPad and fast. Some are doing sales to avoid taking serious write-downs, and that makes it very possible to get a great deal.

We’re here to help you hunt down last year’s iPad if that’s what you’re after.

Let’s just go over what makes the iPad (2018) better than the iPad (2017) aside from being younger. Well, it also needs to be said that both are the exact same from the outside. Looking at them side-by-side, you won’t find any changes. Apple is reusing the shell and replacing the inside, so any accessories made for one work for the other with the exception of the Apple Pencil.

Inside, the new iPad is much more powerful. The A9 processor found inside the 2017 model has been ditched, and now Apple’s tablet ships with the A10 Fusion. Based on 64-bit architecture, this quad-core processor is way faster than its predecessor. It can handle 4K video editing, graphic-intensive apps including augmented reality ones. While it’s not the same as the A11 Bionic inside the iPhone X and iPhone 8, the A10 Fusion remains a powerhouse for the iPad.

Is that really necessary? Unless you’re running complex apps or editing media files, probably not. Those of who you just browse the web, read books, and use iMessage will be just fine with the A9. Both models have 2GB of memory, so it’s not like multitasking is different.

Apple made a groundbreaking advancement for the most affordable iPad. This year, the iPad supports Apple Pencil. The company’s custom stylus, which features an absurd number of pressure levels, first launched on the iPad Pro in 2015 but made its way to the budget-friendly model. More people than ever will be able to draw, sketch, and annotate on their iPads.

Again, it’s a great feature but imagining this as a selling point for the masses is hard. The Apple Pencil is tough to pitch at $100. Logitech has also announced the Crayon, a simpler alternative that’s half as expensive. Regardless of the stylus, your fingers will do more work than anything.

If you’re still looking for differences, we only have one left. The new iPad is offered in a new gold similar to the iPhone 8. What that means is the shade has some blush in it.

The test won’t come down to the exterior. Throughout this post, you’ve seen images of both models used. No, you can’t tell which year each one is from. That should make you really think about your wants and needs out of a tablet. While you ponder about what your iPad would be doing, it’s time to see how much the iPad (2017) is going for now that it’s being replaced.

Here are the retailers who we can confirm still have last year’s iPad in stock:

See, you don’t have to go for the new iPad unless the A10 Fusion and Apple Pencil support are enabling you to do things otherwise problematic with its predecessor. The A9 in the iPad (2017) is old, but maybe you don’t push your tablet to the extreme. And having the Apple Pencil is likely to put you $100 in the hole for an accessory you rarely use.

The iPad (2017) is still a good buy, but it’ll be challenging to hunt one down. If you do manage to get your hands on the year-old tablet, you’ll have a device that’s fast and reliable.

None of this is to say the iPad (2018) should be overlooked. Rather, I’m letting everyone know that maybe the new iPad isn’t worth $330 (or $459 for LTE connectivity) to start if the iPad (2017) is a good fit. We all like new things, but some of us appreciate a good deal that keeps money in our pockets.

TechnoBuffalo LLC has affiliate partnerships with various companies. These do not at any time have any influence on the editorial content of TechnoBuffalo. TechnoBuffalo LLC may earn a commission from these links.


Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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