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Snippet: Simplifying the iPad Lineup ☇

Shared on October 19, 2023

John Gruber:

On the one hand, this new Pencil makes complete sense. Lightning is quickly fading away, and this new slider seems like a much better design than the old cap. On the other hand, though, the fact that there are now three Apple Pencil models, all with different features and which are supported by different iPads, exemplifies just how over-complicated the iPad product lineup is.

As much as I enjoy the iPad as a product, the lineup is confusing and unwieldy. Gruber suggests simplifying things and I’d take it a few steps further:

  • iPad (10th generation) becomes the entry-level model
  • Combine the iPad Air and 11″ iPad Pro into an in-between model, or drop the price of the 11″ Pro and kill the Air. There’s currently 3 iPads all in the 11″-ish size class and for most people, each improvement is mostly just for something a bit nicer even if the basic iPad (10th generation) is fine for most people.
  • Much like the iPhone 15 Pro Max, put a few additional bells and whistles on the 12.9″ Pro so the big screen is not the only differentiator.
  • Keep the mini in its weird kinda-powerful, but small state that sits outside of the rest of the lineup.
  • Get rid of the original Pencil, and rename the existing second-generation Pencil as the Pencil Pro, leaving two models.

Although Apple doesn’t share sales figures by model, I’d guess that the best selling iPad is the 9th generation model, followed by the Pros. These changes would create a good/better/best lineup that doesn’t lend itself to “should I buy the regular iPad, the iPad Air, or the 11″ iPad Pro?” and any accessories will work with any iPad (outside of keyboards that only fit based on screen size). The 12.9″ iPad has a very specific customer, as does the mini, so those can be the weird outliers. It may make sense to keep another “step” around in the middle, although it currently feels like there’s a lot of overlap in the middle of the lineup.

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.