An iPad may be a valuable tool for your small business. Demos, graphs, and photos look great on an iPad’s large screen, and its portability frequently makes it more practical than a laptop. However, with the variety of models available, you might wonder which iPad is better for usage in a business environment.
Of the various models of iPads, the iPad Pro is the most advanced option for business use in terms of specs and handles more intensive workloads. While the 5th generation of iPad Air offers slightly less performance than the iPad Pro, it is an excellent option for professionals on a budget.
When investing in the best iPad for business use, consider its features and whether they are necessary to your business. The best ideal choice should improve mobility and connection, provide the performance you want, and fall within your budget. To make sense of that, let’s look at what makes the best iPad for business use and what makes others less so.
The Best iPads For Business Use
Since it was initially released in 2010, the iPad has advanced significantly. When it first came out, it functioned more like an oversized iPhone without the ability to make phone calls. Today, it has many versions, its beefed-up version of iOS coupled with features that rival laptops.
The variety of possibilities for an iPad might be a little overwhelming: There are four variants available which is the iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad, and iPad Mini. Each with an exclusive set of characteristics and a particular intended market.
For example, if you want to use your iPad for business, some models aren’t appropriate; if you only want a portable screen, the more costly, advanced models may be overkill. However, among the four models, the best decision lies between the iPad Pro and iPad Air.
As a result, the purpose here is to compare the latest iPad Pro and iPad Air models so you can make the best investment. With that in mind, here are some factors to consider when choosing the best iPad for your business, starting with the most advanced option, the iPad Pro.
1. iPad Pro 2021: Best For Heavy Workloads And Advanced Use
The Mac-based M1 processor in Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro outperforms almost every competition in benchmark testing, but it’s also the most costly choice on the list. The processor coupled with the 120Hz micro-LED display (unique to the 12.9-inch model) makes the iPad pro suitable for graphic design, content creation, multiple business management app workloads, conference calls, and so much more.
In addition, the enhanced front-facing camera with auto-tracking technology is ideal for those working remotely. Finally, if you’re looking for an iPad to replace a laptop, there’s essentially just one viable option: the iPad Pro.
The Magic Keyboard cover for the iPad Pro adds a floating iPad Pro stand, a keyboard, and a trackpad, making it seem more like a laptop than some of the smaller iPad models that don’t have the trackpad option on their keyboard cases.
The iPad Pro also contains a USB-C connector, which makes connecting an external display easier than prior iPad versions, which only featured a Lightning Port and required a dongle converter. But, of course, external displays on iPads aren’t new. Still, the iPad Pro not only simplifies the process (particularly on monitors with USB-C connectors) but also supports 5K resolution, which earlier iPads do not.
In 2020, apple transformed the iPad operating system into iPadOS, a beefed-up version of iOS that sits between a mobile and desktop operating system.
2. iPad Air 2022: Best Value For Money And Everyday Business Use
Apple released the fifth-generation iPad Air in March 2022, with the M1 processor, 5G connectivity, and a new front-facing camera system.
The upgraded iPad Air arrived about a year after Apple released its current iPad Pro series, which also has the M1 processor and 5G connection. It also includes several high-end features such as ProMotion and a Thunderbolt connector and has an entry price of just under $600.
The previous, fourth-generation iPad Air was released in September 2020, bringing it considerably closer to the iPad Pro in terms of design. However, the fifth-generation iPad Air has the same M1 processor as the iPad Pro with the current edition, putting them even closer together.
Despite this, the iPad Pro and iPad Air are different devices designed for different user groups. The iPad Air is the best value-for-money alternative for most businesses looking for a more straightforward approach to business and software productivity.
Most consumers will not justify spending an extra $200 or more to acquire Face ID, a more adaptable back camera system, four-speaker audio, and a ProMotion display with refresh rates up to 120Hz.
Some iPad Pro features, such as LiDAR (3D scanning and enhanced augmented reality), the Ultra Wide back camera, more extensive storage choices with up to 16GB of RAM, and a Thunderbolt connection will only be suitable for a narrow range of corporate applications.
Some businesses will never use some of these high-end capabilities. In addition, many capabilities, such as True Tone flash, mmWave 5G connection, Audio zoom, and stereo audio recording, may not be used to their maximum potential by many businesses.
Comparing The iPad Pro And iPad Air
There are several significant elements that the iPad Air and iPad Pro have in common, including a 12MP rear Wide camera, a squared-off industrial design, a 12MP front Ultra Wide camera, and a USB-C port. With that in mind, the following list of the standard features the two iPads share.
- Flat edges with industrial designs
- 264 PPI, complete lamination, oleophobic and anti-reflective coating, P3 Wide Color, and True Tone liquid retina display
- Next-generation Neural Engine on the M1 chip
- A 5G connection
- A 1.8 12MP wide-angle rear camera with a digital zoom of up to 5x and Smart HDR 3 for photographs
- Center Stage and a front-facing 12MP Ultra Wide camera with a 2x optical zoom out
- They share 4K video recording at 24, 25, 30, and 60 frames per second, 1080p HD video recording at 25, 30, and 60 frames per second. They also share an extended dynamic range for video up to 30 frames per second, 3x video zoom, support for slo-mo video in 1080p at 120 or 240 frames per second, and stabilized time-lapse video
- 10 hours of “all-day” battery life
- Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6 connection
- USB Type-C port
- Compatible with the Apple Pencil, Smart Keyboard Folio, and Magic Keyboard (2nd generation)
According to Apple’s breakdown of specifications, the M1 processor and other vital components are shared by the two iPads. However, with that said, it is essential to mention that the iPad Air and iPad Pro differ primarily in their screens, authentication methods, and back cameras.
Differences In Specs Between The iPad Pro And iPad Air
|iPad Air Specs||iPad Pro Specs|
|Touch ID built into the top button||Face ID enabled by TrueDepth camera|
|It comes in Starlight, Space Gray, Pink, Purple, and Blue.||It includes a digital zoom of up to 5x and 2x optical zoom out|
|Liquid Retina LED display||It compromises an extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps|
|8GB of memory||It includes Video zoom up to 3x and 2x optical zoom out|
|500 nits max brightness (typical)||11-inch or 12.9-inch display, with 120Hz|
|Sub-6GHz 5G connectivity||It has a Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display on a 12.9-inch version with 1,600 nits peak brightness (HDR) and 1,000 nits max full-screen brightness|
|1.8 12MP Wide rear camera||ProMotion technology|
|10.9-inch display||600 nits max brightness (typical)|
|Includes a 2.4 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with 2x optical zoom out and Center Stage||Sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G connectivity|
|Two speakers audio landscape mode||USB 4|
|USB‑C connector||8GB or 16GB of memory|
|Up to 256GB of storage||True Tone flash|
|3x video zoom||It includes a 1.8 12MP Wide and 2.4 10MP Ultra Wide rear cameras with a LiDAR scanner|
|Digital zoom up to 5x||It also includes a Center Stage, 2.4 12MP TrueDepth Ultra Wide front camera with 2x optical zoom out, and Portrait Lighting, Portrait Mode, Animoji, and Memoji.|
|The price starts at $599||Stereo recording|
|USB‑C connector with support for Thunderbolt /|
|Up to 2TB storage|
|Available in Silver and Space-Gray|
|The price starts at $799|
Both devices have their advantages and disadvantages and I love them both to pieces. However, I find myself mostly relying on the iPad Pro as a Laptop Replacement. And the iPad Air is mostly used as a tablet device, for signing documents and media consumption.
You’ll never see the Air as part of this desk setup – it’s specifically reserved for the iPad Pro.
The iPad Air and iPad Pro work well as laptop or desktop replacements since both iPads are the only models with the M1 chip. However, in terms of business use, the iPad Pro is best suited for more advanced uses and may be overkill for more basic business requirements. However, with basic requirements in mind, the iPad Air takes the win and fits the budget.
I’ve been trying to move my business towards using the iPad exclusively since the 2nd generation iPad Air. I truly believe the iPad is an amazing and versatile device and I want to use it a lot more. However, sometimes I just have to reach out to my mac for certain tasks (like programming).
Here’s the thing tho’, my line of work has me writing documentation, blog posts, designing games and managing the business. 3 out of 4 tasks I can do on an iPad. I don’t claim to be a master iPad user but I know some other people who are.
This is why I’m recommending the following articles for those looking to get another perspective on the situation.