Apple’s 2022 iPad Lineup is More Confusing Than Ever

Apple on Tuesday unveiled new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models powered by next-generation M2 Apple Silicon, along with a redesigned entry-level iPad with an all-screen display and USB-C.

The announcement brought two powerful new options (three, if you count the two size options for the M2 iPad Pro) for iPad buyers at opposite ends of the price spectrum.

While consumer choice is certainly good, there’s such a thing as having too many options. As Macworld points out, Apple’s iPad line is certainly approaching that threshold, if it hasn’t blasted past it already.

Apple is currently selling five different iPad models across four lines — the base iPad, the iPad mini, the iPad Air, and the iPad Pro.

When Apple launches a new product, the company typically discontinues the model it replaces. However, Apple is still selling the 2021 iPad despite having launched the 2022 iPad with an all-new design on Tuesday. Not to mention, Apple has plenty of deals on refurbished iPad models from previous generations as well, further adding to the confusion.

With each iPad model differing (sometimes ever so slightly) in features, making a choice can be overwhelming for some customers.

For example, anyone looking for an iPad on the cheaper end of the spectrum can currently get an iPad 10 for $599, or go down to the iPad 9 for $449, saving $150 while bagging an iPad that’s almost as fast but still has the older design.

Alternatively, they could jump up to the 2022 iPad Air for $799 — which has the exact same design as the iPad 10 with a much more powerful M1 chip under the hood — or even get a refurbished 11-inch iPad Pro (512GB) from 2018 for $829. Any way you look at it, Apple’s new base iPad is awkwardly positioned in the company’s catalogue.

Selecting an iPad should be pretty simple, right? You figure out what features you need, and then determine which model best matches them. Unfortunately, minute differences across Apple’s iPad portfolio — like keyboard case compatibility, Apple Pencil support, or the fact that each of the currently available models is powered by a different processor — complicate matters.

Even more confusingly, there are just as many similarities as there are differences. For example, the 2022 iPad, 2021 iPad Air, and 11-inch 2022 iPad Pro all share virtually the same screen size, and the first two are sitting at dangerously close price points.

What’s more, four different iPad lines basically means that a refresh will always be around the corner for at least one of them, making customers want to hold out for the next launch in many cases. The next iPad in line for an update is the iPad mini, with a new model expected in early 2023.

Alongside Tuesday’s iPad launches, Apple also quietly hiked iPad pricing in Canada across the board.