Over the past couple months, I’ve grown frustrated with my decision last summer to purchase the 32gb version of the iPad Pro 9.7. It seems that 32gb just isn’t what it used to be. I have four or so hours of Westworld video on my iPad, a half dozen saved Google Play playlists for hockey scorekeeping (not a big fan of Apple Music–a story for another time), and a selection of apps…and I have about 1gb of space left. That’s it. Somehow all my apps and other iOS related software eat up about 18gb of my memory (including a whopping 4+ gb for Google Play Music). It’s a good thing I don’t actually use the camera on the iPad for taking pictures or video… Needless to say, I probably should have paid the extra $100 to get the 128gb model.
A couple months back, I decided that I would upgrade to a tablet with higher storage capacity, give Cynthia the 32gb iPad Pro 9.7 (she really wants to be able to use the Apple Pencil, which she can’t do on her iPad Air 2), and probably sell the iPad Air 2. Just as I was closing in on buying a new iPad Pro 9.7, 128gb model, rumors started circulating about new iPad Pro models coming out in “March or April.” It sounded like there would be a new 10.5″ iPad Pro with no side bezels and the same total physical size as the 9.7 inch model. The idea of new technologies always intrigues me, so I held off on any new purchase until I could see what March held in store for Apple.
This morning, the Apple Store online went down for maintenance, which usually means they’re refreshing the models. The store went back up and…
A new special red iPhone 7/7 Plus model…iPhone SE refresh to 32gb and 128gb models…iPad Mini 4 now only offered with 128gb…AND…9.7″ “iPad” with slightly better specs than the old iPad Air 2, but clearly a new low-end model (starting at just $329). The iPad Pro 9.7? iPad Pro 12.9? Zilch. No updates. No refreshes. No new 10.5″ model. No price cuts. An iPad Pro 9.7, 128gb, with LTE is still $829.
Color me disappointed. Much of the post mortem on the tech websites today is best summarized as: no one really cares about tablets any longer. This wouldn’t be the first time the tech industry has started playing taps for tablets. Supposedly the iPads are not selling very well, there are very few quality Android tablet choices (the best two I could find were the new (yet unreleased) Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 and the over-a-year-old Google Pixel C tablet).
So, what’s next? I think I’m going to wait until I can get the new Samsung Tab S3 in my hands and see how it works. I’ve made the switch back from iPhone to Android, maybe I should consider a similar switch from iPad back to an Android tablet. The S3 looks nice on the outside–HDR-capable screen (same resolution as the iPad Pro 9.7, same size), four speakers for improved sound, includes a pressure-sensitive stylus (though strangely enough, they still haven’t left an area on the tablet for storing the stylus), Android 7.0 Nougat under a thin TouchWiz UX launcher.
But on the inside, the S3 runs on–a Snapdragon 820 chip. That’s the same chip that runs my OnePlus 3 from last summer. Shouldn’t a tablet with more pixels to push, and a generally larger, HDR-ready screen need more to drive it? Not even a SD 821? Samsung is supposedly putting the new SD 835 chips into their new S8 phones next month–so the phones will be more powerful than the tablet? (This actually makes some financial sense as the tablet is rumored to cost $600, where the S8 phones are expected to be over $800.) But still… Is that Snapdragon 820 enough to smoothly power a 9.7″ HDR tablet?
Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments… I’m always open to good, thoughtful suggestions…