Are giant iPads the next big thing?

At Apple’s May ‘Let Loose’ event, the company made a major change to the iPad Air: it got bigger.

This is the first time Apple has brought the larger 13-inch size down to a (slightly) more affordable iPad and made it so both the small and larger options have all the same features. No matter what size of iPad Air or Pro you buy, both will perform and look the same.

In previous iPad Pro models, the larger Pro always sported a higher-end display, meaning if you wanted the best, you needed to spend the most on the large 12.9-inch iPad Pro. This year, there’s still a price jump between the small and large iPads, but that’s the only thing separating them.

The price difference between the large and small iPad Air models is $300 and the jump between the Pro models is $400. This is a substantial change, but for those who want a larger screen, it could be well worth the price jump.

After doing a bit of brief searching online, it appears that since Apple added Sidecar, which allows an iPad to be a Mac display, people have wanted a tablet bigger than 13 inches. Beyond that, digital artists who use iPads for drawing professionally also pine for a larger work surface. The popular drawing tablet company Wacom makes a device that’s 30 inches, but at that point, the iPad would likely become more of a home computer replacement. Others who use their iPads for sheet music also expressed the desire for a larger screen that would fit better on a music stand. I recall seeing people who read graphic novels enjoying larger screens so I expect that groups of people would also enjoy a big iPad.

“If the large iPad Air sells well, it will also be interesting to see what happens on the lower end of the iPad spectrum.”

Apple says that historically, iPad Pro sales have been split pretty evenly between both sizes up until this point. However, releasing the new Air and Pros with feature parity will likely push that metric to one size or another. I still believe that the regular 11-inch size of the iPad is perfect, and the bigger models are a little cumbersome to use as tablets. That said, as iPads grow as formidable computers, the larger screens appeal to people who plan to use the tablet as their main computer.

There’s a growing market of people who see iPads as computers in a more attractive form factor. While I often encounter comments complaining about the differences between macOS and iPadOS, in practice, a lot of workflows work just as well on a tablet. For example, my mom has a work laptop, but at home, she only uses an iPad and has done so for years. If she was able to, I’m sure she’d use her iPad for all of her work as well (she’s an elementary school principal). With this in mind, it really feels like the launch of the new Air and Pro is for a world of people who use an iPad as their only computer and not as a secondary device.

If the large iPad Air sells well, it will also be interesting to see what happens on the lower end of the iPad spectrum. Will there be a larger 13-inch iPad in a few years? Will we just get rid of the Mini? I’d love to see the regular iPad and the Mini recalibrate to be more in line with the Air and Pro, offering similar chips and features, but with differently sized screens.

It’s a conundrum that will likely end with, “Choice is good,” but let me know what iPad size you use, or if you already have an iPad, do you want a larger screen? And most importantly, are you willing to pay the premium for it?

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