The last time I bought a new iPad Pro was at the end of 2018, and I have been patiently waiting to order the new model with the M1 chip. Despite waking up very early on the April 30th morning to buy one from Apple’s website, I will still have to wait a few months to actually hold my new device. It looks like delivery is going to be sometime in late June 2021 or early July 2021. Whether it be for work or entertainment, I almost always prefer to use an iPad, so the wait is going to feel agonizingly long.

By the way, while shopping around, I noticed something a bit surprising about my new purchase. It turns out that the fully loaded 12.9-inch iPad Pro is currently the most expensive M1 portable computer you can buy. You pay more for the fully specked out 12.9-inch screen iPad Pro than you do for the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Both have the 8-core M1 chip with 16 GB memory and 2 TB of storage, but with the iPad you get a 5G modem and an XDR display. And a much better camera for Zoom calls.

The MacBook Pro is $2,299. Meanwhile, the iPad Pro is going to cost you $2,399 — and that’s before you shell out about $450 for a keyboard and a pencil.

If you include those additional (and necessary, I would argue) items, then the iPad Pro’s final price tag — $2,877 — is higher than any other M1 machine. It’s more expensive than even the new iMac, the fully loaded Mac mini, and MacBook Pro. The Mac mini with the same M1 chip and specs (and 10 Gb Ethernet) costs $1,799. The new iMac is going to set you back $2,499, but that includes a keyboard and a mouse.

iPad, sure has come a long way! 

This got me thinking about the day Steve Jobs first showed off the iPad on stage. I was deeply impacted by the release of the iPad. It brought up fond memories. My first aha moment with the iPad was when I gave one to my mother, nearly a decade ago. It made me realize that for once we had a device that delighted grandparents as much as their grandkids. And that’s what made the iPad special. It has been more than a decade and my iPad has been a constant companion through the years.

For some odd reason, there is a perception that, when it comes to Apple’s line-up of products, the iPad is the runt of the litter. This may not come as a surprise at this point, but I think this line of thinking is incorrect.

Just take a look at the numbers! 

Earlier this week, Apple reported earnings for its quarter ending March 31, 2021. The iPad brought in a revenue of $7.8 billion, up 79% versus the same quarter in 2020. In comparison, the Mac division (which benefited from a new M1 chip launch) saw revenues of $9.1 billion, up 70% over the same three months in 2020. The iPad is inching up on the Mac!

Strategy Analytics, a market research firm, noted in a recent research report that Apple’s share of the tablet market during the first three months of 2021 was 36.7%, up 6.6% compared to the first three months of 2020. During the same period, it shipped 17.8 million units, a jump of 75% from 9.6 million units in the first quarter of 2020. 

That means iPad took market share from both Android and Windows-based tablets during the first three months of the year. Researchers from Strategy Analytics seem to suggest that this demand for tablets could be more sustainable. They seem to believe that tablets are a beneficiary of the shift towards working-from-home, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. 

Another factor working in favor of tablets in general, and iPads specifically, is how quickly and seamlessly they can go from being a device for work to a device for fun. 

I use my iPad to watch baseball, cricket, and Formula 1 races. I use it to read long articles and even Kindle books.  And nothing compares to watching YouTube on my iPad. As someone who uses Adobe Lightroom Cloud to store his raw photos, I use the iPad for most of the cataloging work — from rating photos to deleting the ones that don’t make the cut. And I do that while streaming music to my home music system.  

Could I do all of these things on my laptop? Of course, I could. But the iPad has a better screen, better audio, and — most importantly — an easily detachable keyboard that lets you literally cut loose and leave work mode behind. 

So, while I may have been a bit surprised to find myself buying the priciest M1 computer available when I went to upgrade my iPad, I can confidently say that it was money well spent. If only it would get here already!

M.J. Tsai, who curates a great mac blog, pointed to a story with a clever headline — The Mac Price Crash of 2021. “The new M1 Macs have cratered MacBook resale values,” notes Robin Harris.

I check Craigslist fairly regularly to keep track of what’s for sale. I’ve seen an unusual bifurcation in the pricing for MacBooks. There are more late-model Intel MacBooks showing up for sale. Some of those are showing context sensitive pricing, i.e. almost new MacBook Airs for $600 rather than the $800-$900 that some think their Intel-based machine is still worth.

That said if you are on a budget and don’t care about the latest: wait a few months, and Intel macs’ prices will collapse. Harris predicts price “carnage.” And he is right. Why would you buy an older machine powered by Intel chips when you can read all over the internet — the M1 Macs are better, faster, and most importantly, run cooler.

After Apple loaned me a 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro for review, it was clear: we were on the cusp of a significant shift in architecture. Intel-powered Macs would feel puny in a few years. I needed to get rid of all my Intel machines as quickly as possible. The prices were going to collapse. Off went my two computers — an iMac Pro (from 2017) and MacBook Pro 16 from 2019. 

I got pretty reasonable prices for both of them — enough to be ready for the next Apple Silicon-powered large screen laptop. 

As you know, I do most of my daily work on an iPad — emails, writing, reading, and managing my web life. The computers are really for one thing and one thing only: managing and editing photos. I use Adobe Photoshop, which, unfortunately, is not very good on the iPad. 

After sending back the loaner, with much regret, I now have a new loaner laptop hooked up to an XDR Display. It is a perfect replacement for either of the two Macs I sold earlier. I have not missed the old machines for a minute. 

I have been trying out a digital medium format camera, and it produces some big files. And I mean big. Even a few layers in Photoshop can increase the file size to over 5 Gb with my workflow. This computer is being put through the paces — and yet it doesn’t break a sweat. I can be running Adobe Bridge, Capture One, and Photoshop all running simultaneously — with Apple Mail in the background, and everything feels smooth as silk. 

The only time I have experienced some hiccup is when I fire-up Zoom and Photoshop (running via Rosetta) at the same time. The mouse doesn’t move across the screen as smoothly on the screen. 

M1-based Macs are just better. And that is why it doesn’t surprise me the prices are collapsing. The sliding prices are just a continuation of what I had pointed out in August last year — Mac has been steadily losing some of its resale value. At that time, I had wondered if the “news of the pending launch of ARM-based machines that has depressed the prices.” 

Well, I have my answer.