Apple's latest entry-level iPad adds support for a useful add-on: The Apple Pencil.
Can you believe the iPad has been around for eight years now?
Apple recently revamped their $329 entry-level iPad with a few new improvements, notably a faster processor and support for the Apple Pencil. Apple Pencil isn't included - it's a $99 add-on - but it does extend the functionality of the device.
The Apple Pencil is no typical stylus - it's a high-end tool that can be used to write on the screen, color and shade objects, manipulate items and more. It uses Bluetooth to talk to the iPad so it must be charged. You can plug it into the iPad using the lightning connector on one end of the Pencil, but it isn't pretty. Much better to use the included adapter and plug it into the wall.
With the latest iOS software, you are able to create on iPad more than ever. In the past, I've seen the iPad as more of a content consumption device - movies, books, photos, etc - but there are enough features to make it useful for making stuff too. You can now drag and drop files, split screen apps side by side and watch videos in a pop-out box. There's also a dock that lets you easily switch between apps.
The addition of the Apple Pencil is notable since this was first introduced as a companion on the much more expensive iPad Pro, which starts at $650. This is the first time the accessory is available on a $329 iPad.
One feature that's still included in the iPad? A headphone jack! You'll be sure to appreciate that.
One note about tablets. I'm often asked about cheaper Android tablets as an alternative to the iPad, which comes with a relatively premium price tag. But the iPad is still the gold standard in tablets - especially when you look at a combination of the available accessories, apps and overall performance. It is still the best way to go, and they usually last for four years or so if you take good care of them.
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