Here's why you DON'T need the new iPad Pro

• 8 min read

Here's why the best iPad for you might be available to buy right now.

As we prepare for the Spring Loaded Apple Event, a common expectation is new iPad Pros being unveiled. As an iPad Pro user I am excited to see Apple continue to support the iPad Pro after a number of Apple Products have been discontinued.

That being said, I am not one to push people to buy the new iPad just because it is the new and shiny device. I used to be that kind of person and I made dumb financial decisions to justify buying a new Apple Product. I am sure I will be excited about the new iPad Pros coming tomorrow, and I will absolutely be writing about it, but that doesn't mean every other iPad Apple has for sale is worthless. In fact, the iPad Pro is most likely not for you.

Here's a quick flow chart I made with my thought process of what iPad someone should get, and it rarely managed to show a time where the new iPad Pro is the right option for someone.

Flow chart of iPad buying guide
Click image to view full size

As you can see, you not only need a budget of over $800, but you also need to have a robust and powerful workflow that will justify the speed (and price) increase from the iPad Air to the iPad Pro.

As someone that has an iPad Pro, I am happy with my decision. However, I got this as a replacement for my MacBook Pro. I was editing podcasts, doing heavy graphic design, recording audio, writing, and using it as a media consumption machine daily.

I also didn't have the new 4th generation iPad Air as an option at the time of my purchase. I was left between the iPad Pro 11” or an outdated iPad Air. Had I waited a little bit longer and the iPad Air came out I most likely would have bought the Air instead and used the money I saved to buy a Magic Keyboard or a USB-C dongle.

Fortunately I was able to afford the iPad Pro and it has been a dream to use for both work and play.

A common thought I have when people ask me what iPad is right for them I wonder what MacBook would be best for them. If they need a lightweight yet fast machine that can do most of the heavy lifting people need I suggest the MacBook Air. If they need something that is much more involved and extensive I would suggest the MacBook Pro. The same thought process goes for the iPad Air and iPad Pro, which I think is what Apple intended when they refreshed the iPad Air last year.

The price gap Apple wants in the iPad lineup is there, but the iPad Air seems to be the most bang for you buck when it comes to using the iPad making the iPad Pro only justifiable to some.

So when Apple releases the new iPad Pro tomorrow, remember that it is most likely meant for the high-end users much like the MacBook Pro is for laptop users. The iPad Air is fast, future proof, works with the Apple Pencil 2, and offers compatible speeds to the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pros.

If you want to learn more about the different models available you can do so on Apple's website.

Getting a Used iPad Pro

One thing that I hadn't added in the flow chart, due to several variables that I just couldn't get neatly in a flow chart, was buying a used iPad Pro.

If the iPad Air is not what you want, there is a strong case to look at possibly buying an older iPad Pro for significantly cheaper than what ever the new iPad Pros will cost. In fact, the 2018 iPad is still a fantastic option nearly 4 years later, which just goes to show the longevity modern iPads can have.

I think that Parker Ortolani it best in his recent opinion piece on 9to5Mac.

It’s been two years and five months since the 2018 iPad Pro was released, and it has shown no signs of slowing down or aging. The A12X processor in the 2018 iPad Pro has proven itself to be so powerful that it feels as fast and as efficient as even the newest M1 Macs. The 3rd generation 12.9” iPad Pro still ranks as the highest multi-core performer on Geekbench, ahead of any other iOS device ever released.

It ranks even higher in multi-core performance than the new iPad Air with its state-of-the-art A14 chip. The regular A14 chip does beat out the A12X in single core and metal performance tests but doesn’t surpass it so much that it makes a tangible difference in day-to-day use.

The new iPad Pro is likely going to be a jump in power, speed, and battery life. That has been a given for quite some time in the recent iPad releases, but the question is whether you need the iPad Pro or you can get away with saving some money with a new iPad Air or a used iPad Pro.

Exceptions to the Rule

My guide here isn't gospel, nor do I want it to be treated as such. That said, I think that the decision for what iPad is best for you is ultimately for you to decide. If you feel that the iPad Pro is worth the extra money, then buy that. If you feel that the iPad Air is too pricey then buy the iPad instead. It can be abut feeling just as much as it can about your wallet.

The iPad lineup is in a near perfect state right now, and with the new iPad Pros coming along with a potential new iPad Mini the iPad lineup is about to be fully modernized for 2021. If the rumors are true and the iPad lineup gets a refreshed iPad Pro line and a new iPad Mini I can foresee this lineup being the standard for years to come.

What to do after the Apple event

If you are in the market for a new iPad, after the event you will have a fantastic idea of what iPads Apple will be offering for the next foreseeable future. Take stock at your budget, look at the options available for your iPad of choice, and consider what accessories you want to get as well.

Buying an iPad is fun, but you want to make sure you have your ducks in a row before you click the checkout button online.

Watch reviews online of the accessories you are considering, compare prices with other online stores, and make a list of what you want to get so you are prepared for when everything goes on sale.


Coming out later today is an episode of Sorry to get back on topic, a podcast by Rob Brogan and Josh Windisch. We talked all about the iPad, how to get started using it for more productive work, and tools that can help you accomplish you goals with the iPad. You can subscribe to the podcast here.

Subscribe to the Podcast

Workflow of the Week - Heading Home

Heading Home shortcut screenshot
Click image to view full size

This week’s workflow is a shortcut I use everyday I leave work. The goal of the shortcut is to get the driving time from my current location, calculate when I will be home, and then send a message to my wife letting her know I have left work and when I will approximately will be home.

Thanks to Shortcuts I just have to tap my phone on an NFC sticker and some Shortcuts magic she knows when I am leaving work and when I will be home. Here’s how it works.

Get Directions Home

The first step to this workflow is to get the driving time to my home address and calculate it from my current location when I will be home. I could make it so it calculates the distance from my home address to my work address, but on the off chance I have to go work in a different location for an event or something I don’t have to futz with the Shortcut.

Add 8 Minutes

Once it does that I add 8 minutes to the drive time to give myself some extra time in case I hit traffic or need to get gas.

Get Random Item from List

To make things seem less robotic I have several different ways to tell my wife I am leaving home. They each use the Adjusted Date variable in it, which I will bold for this newsletter. Here are a couple I have:

  • Hello love of my life! I should be home from work soon. Around Adjusted Date to be specific.
  • My dearest Courtney, after a long laborious day of work I have finally been allowed to return etch home. I shall arrive home at approximately Adjusted Date.

Send Message

From there, it just takes the item from the list and automatically sends it to my wife via messages.

Show Notification

Lastly, so that I don’t need to go into the Message app and make sure it was sent, I get a notification telling me that the message was successfully sent.

You can download the Shortcut here.

This Shortcut makes my commute home simple and easy thanks to Shortcuts. My wife also appreciates when I do this, especially when she is planning on making dinner for us both.

You can always tweak the shortcut to your specifications, but I hope this inspires you to make a shortcut for when leave work or something similar.

Weekly Roundup

With the anticipated Apple Event April 20th a large amount of the content out there is “What to expect” and the latest leaks. I am not one to feed the flames on this, which means I don’t have too many links to share this week. That said, I think next week will have a plethora of links and takes on the event, myself included.

How to edit multiple Bear notes at the same time on an iPad

The app Bear shows that they care deeply about the iPad experience and add another fantastic tutorial to their site for users to get the most out of this beautiful Markdown notes app.


Some Drafts Themes Updates

Tim Nahumck shares more about Drafts Themes and talks about the new Drafts Theme Builder that makes creating and editing themes much easier than editing JSON files by hand. If you want to learn more about the Theme builder you can watch the tutorial here.


You can now buy audiobooks directly within the Audible app, using Audible credits

Benjamin Mayo writes about Audible’s move to allow purchases inside the app with credits.

It is now possible to buy new audiobooks and add them to your Audible library without having to use the web browser. (Update: Some readers are telling us they have had this ability for a while. We have reached out to Audible for clarity.)

With an Audible membership, users get (at least) one credit per month to spend to buy and own an Audible book forever. Before today, iOS users were forced to visit the website to actually spend these credits. But now, this functionality is available directly inside the native Audible app on iPhone and iPad.

The old requirement to use the website instead of the in-app flow is thought to be due to Apple’s strict rules about In-App Purchase. App Store rules ensure Apple gets its 15-30% commission on eligible digital goods transactions.


I want a USB-C iPhone, but Apple probably shouldn't make one

Matt Birchler makes another video that made my ears perk up. He states that the USB-C would be a great option for iPhones but it isn’t what Apple should do. To get a full explanation give his video a watch and see if you agree with him.



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