Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad is its cheapest yet

Apple just simplified its tablet lineup in a big way. The company has introduced a new 9.7-inch iPad — not the Air 3, just… iPad, along with a red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The new model will seem extremely familiar on the outside, but there are a bunch of notable under-the-hood upgrades. You’ll find a slightly older but still speedy A9 processor inside instead of the Air 2’s aging A8X chip, and Apple has doubled the capacities to give you either 32GB or 128GB of storage. (Sorry, no 256GB option here.) This new mid-size model also touts a brighter display, although the resolution is unchanged at 2,048 x 1,536.

The cameras remain the same, for or better or worse, with an 8-megapixel shooter on the back and a 1.2MP FaceTime cam at the front.

For most, the biggest deal may simply be the price. The upgraded iPad is available now, starting at US$329 (S$498) for the 32GB version, and US$459 (S$648) for the 128GB model. That’s the lowest starting price yet for a mid-size iPad, and it’s clear that this is the new budget option. In fact, Apple has gone so far as to make the iPad mini 4 more expensive: It’s now available with 128GB of storage only for US$399, and there’s no iPad mini 2 to pick up the slack. Apple clearly feels that 9.7 inches represents its mainstream size going forward.

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