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The new iPad Pro.
BIG SHIFT

Apple just made the iPad its new entry-level computer

Dave Gershgorn
By Dave Gershgorn

Artificial intelligence reporter

True to form, Apple is making everything more expensive.

Each of the new devices Apple released today (Oct. 30)—updates to the iPad Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini—are each pricier than their predecessors. The move marks a shift for the iPad and the MacBook Air, which are typically the most affordably priced computing devices Apple sells.

The MacBook Air has been the entry-level computer for most users since its release—it’s small and portable, but also the only Apple laptop you could buy for $1,000. For that reason, and the laptop’s durability, it’s become an institution for universities and businesses that want to be in the Apple ecosystem but not spring for pricier MacBook or MacBook Pro models.

At its inception, the iPad existed somewhere between the iPhone and the MacBook lines—it was priced less than a typical Apple laptop, but could also do less. The idea was that there were specific tasks like emailing and internet browsing that didn’t require a full computer, and could be done efficiently on a streamlined device.

But now that’s different: Apple is touting the iPad as a do-it-all machine, the new entry-level device for those wanting an Apple computer. The 11″ and 12.9″ iPads will start at $799 and $999, compelling price points if thinking about the devices as capable of everything a laptop can do. Of course, those costs don’t include the keyboard and Apple Pencil. On the other hand, the MacBook Air starts at $1,199 for the base model, and has similar specifications to its more powerful MacBook lines like the MacBook and MacBook Pro. It’s just smaller.

Apple is setting up a new paradigm for its computers, one that doesn’t necessarily suggest that you need a laptop if you want a computer. And for those who do, well, you’re simply furthering Apple’s plan of making more money selling the same thing.

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