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It’s a good time to start shopping if you’ve been eying an iPad but feel the M1 iPad Pro is overkill for your needs. Amazon is once more selling the fourth-generation iPad Air with WiFi and 64GB of storage at a record low $539, well under its $599 official sticker. The tablet hasn’t reached that price since February, and this suggests you won’t have to wait until Prime Day to score a big deal. You’ll also see a particularly large discount on the 256GB rose gold Air, which is selling for $660 instead of its usual $749.
The iPad Air won’t be as speedy as the latest Pro, but it’s still one of the fastest tablets around. You’ll also get strong battery life and support for both the Magic Keyboard as well as the second-generation Apple Pencil. If you like the idea of the 11-inch iPad Pro but don’t need the M1, 120Hz display or multi-camera setup, you’ll get a very similar experience for much less money.
The main catch, aside from those tradeoffs, remains the software. The iPad Air can handle a surprisingly large number of tasks that would normally be reserved for laptops, but iPadOS 14 remains more of a mobile platform than a full desktop OS substitute. iPad OS 15 should improve multitasking, but you’ll still want a conventional computer for many heavy duty tasks. With that said, the discounted iPad Air with a Magic Keyboard is significantly less expensive than a MacBook Air — that’s worth considering if you’re more interested in touch support and tablet flexibility than performance or sophisticated software.