Apple iPads are capable productivity devices and can be alternatives to laptops—you might even consider one for office use. In fact, performance is significantly better than similarly priced Windows laptops. With the new iPad arriving in India later this week, the line-up will now have as many as 18 variants. Look closely and you will find differences that tell you which device will work best for you

iPad (2018)

Rs28,900 (32 GB; Wi-Fi); Rs35,700 (128 GB; Wi-Fi); Rs38,600 (32 GB; Wi-Fi + cellular); Rs46,300 (128 GB; Wi-Fi + cellular)

The iPad (2018) succeeds the excellent 2017 edition, which showed that an entry-spec iPad model didn’t have to compromise on performance or design, just because you were paying less than what its most illustrious sibling, the iPad Pro, would otherwise cost. This runs the powerful A10 processor and looks similar to its predecessor. It is comfortable to use for work-related apps and for watching media, and covers a wide range of useability scenarios. The big change is that the 9.7-inch display on this iPad supports the Apple Pencil, which, till now, was limited to the more expensive iPad Pro range. Incidentally, Logitech has also introduced a slightly less functional Pencil alternative, called Crayon, that works exclusively with this iPad for the moment. However, what the new iPad misses out on is smart connector ports, and that means this iPad isn’t compatible with the iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard accessories—you’ll have to make do with Bluetooth keyboards for the moment. Unless you need something very powerful, and a laptop replacement for running resource-intensive apps at work (which the iPad Pros do brilliantly), this iPad does the balancing act very well between portability, price and performance.

iPad Mini 4

Rs33,800 (128 GB; Wi-Fi); Rs44,500 (128 GB; Wi-Fi + cellular)

Apple hasn’t updated the Mini in a while, and its age is starting to show. It is the smallest iPad, with a 7.9-inch screen, and is powered by an A8 processor (the same as an iPhone 6), which isn’t the newest option on the table. Theoretically, anyone who prefers a small screen would find the iPad Mini 4 appealing. We really can’t recommend this over the iPad (2018), because the older specifications don’t justify the price tag—and for just a little more, you get the 128 GB variant in the iPad (2018), with the added advantage of a larger and better display, as well as support for the Apple Pencil.

iPad Pro 12.9

Rs63,500 (64 GB; Wi-Fi); Rs76,200 (256 GB; Wi-Fi); Rs93,200 (512 GB; Wi-Fi); Rs74,100 (64 GB; Wi-Fi + cellular); Rs86,800 (256 GB; Wi-Fi + cellular); Rs103,800 (512 GB; Wi-Fi + cellular)

If you need a true laptop replacement for office usage, the iPad Pro 12.9 is perhaps the best option. It runs the very powerful A10X Fusion that continues to set the benchmark for performance, be it for productivity or multitasking. This is the closest screen size (12.9-inch display with 2,732x2,048 resolution) to a 13-inch laptop that you might otherwise find comfortable to use, and that means a lot of space for workplace apps, document editors, photo-editing apps and more. There is so much power under the hood that video editors will be able to edit multiple streams of 4K videos simultaneously. The accurate display is great news for photo editing and graphics designing. You can attach the Smart Keyboard to the iPad Pro 12.9, using what are known as smart connectors. The blazing-fast gaming performance and graphics rendering make it the perfect all-rounder for work and play.

iPad Pro 10.5

Rs50,800 (64 GB; Wi-Fi); Rs63,500 (256 GB; Wi-Fi); Rs80,500 (512 GB; Wi-Fi); Rs61,400 (64 GB; Wi-Fi + cellular); Rs74,100 (256 GB; Wi-Fi + cellular); Rs91,100 (512 GB; Wi-Fi + cellular)

This is the iPad Pro that essentially replaced the iPad Pro 9.7 in the line-up. The 10.5-inch screen has one of the most accurate tablet displays, particularly for photo- and video-editing. There is no gap between the display and the glass, unlike a lot of other touch devices, which makes the colours look richer—and you’ll notice fewer reflections too. The powerful A10X Fusion chip makes it significantly faster than any Windows 10-powered convertible that you can buy as an alternative to the iPad Pro 10.5’s six variants. The 10-hour battery life also hammers another nail into the “PC" coffin, since there are hardly any Windows convertible computing devices that come close—the Microsoft Surface Pro being a rare example. The iOS 11 update really brought the entire iPad Pro category to life, by adding detailed multitasking as well as file-management features.

Must-have accessories to get more out of your iPad

Logitech Crayon
$49 (around Rs3,200)

Logitech Crayon only works with the iPad (2018) at the moment.
Logitech Crayon only works with the iPad (2018) at the moment.

While the Crayon’s Smart Tip dynamically adjusts line thickness and shadowing according to the angle you place it on the screen, it doesn’t have the ability to decipher pressure sensitivity and thus misses out on the smoothness that feature enables. This only works with the iPad (2018) at the moment.

Apple Smart Keyboard

Apple Smart Keyboard is an absolutely necessary accessory for the iPad Pro 10.5 and the iPad Pro 12.9.
Apple Smart Keyboard is an absolutely necessary accessory for the iPad Pro 10.5 and the iPad Pro 12.9.

This is an absolutely necessary accessory for the iPad Pro 10.5 and the iPad Pro 12.9, if you will be using either one as a laptop or desktop replacement. The layout allows for enough spacing between each key, and the individual key size is large enough to allow for quick and accurate typing.

Apple Pencil

There are many third-party apps that support the Pencil.
There are many third-party apps that support the Pencil.

The stylus, called the Apple Pencil, lets you scribble, draw, annotate, jot down text quickly or mark up PDF documents on the iPad’s screen. It can also detect different pressure levels and will automatically increase or reduce the thickness of text, sketches and shading effects. There are many third-party apps that support the Pencil. It works with the iPad and iPad Pro.