Is Apple’s iPad still a good investment?

The other day, someone asked me if it’s a good idea to invest in an Apple iPad for travel. I unequivocally answered no.

Let me be the first to say that I am a fan of most Apple products. The Macbook? A solid product. The iPhone? Incredible if you think about the evolution of phones.  Apple Watch?  Ok, maybe not so much that one…

As for the iPad, I’m actually one of the early adopters. I purchased the 1st generation of iPad Wifi + 3G when it first came out. There were reasons why an iPad made sense for me at the time, and why it doesn’t now.

These are the top 3 reasons why I would not buy an iPad these days.

1. Apple does not support older IOS versions

This is one of my biggest reasons why I no longer support the purchase of iPads, and the primary reason I ended up selling mine.

The iPad is not a cheap investment. It starts off well, as these things usually do. You update apps and download the newest IOS releases. Time passes. One day, Apple comes out with an IOS update and it doesn’t support your device. You quickly discover that you can’t download or update an app if the update requires the newest version of IOS. Basically, once the app developers require that you use the newest IOS version, you’re out of luck. The actual value of the iPad drops precipitously at that point.

Some people have come up with creative uses, like using the iPad as a digital photo gallery, to salvage what’s left of iPad. What would have been better is if Apple offered a competitive buyback or trade-in programs. I ended up selling mine where it fetched for a mere fraction of the price I paid for, but it was still better than the Apple’s buyback offer (which was $0).

2. The availability of the iPhone 6 Plus

I don’t think that anyone can deny that Apple is innovative — they even create new products that take away from their existing market shares. In the case of the iPad, the iPhone 6 Plus phones with a 5.5 inch screen makes for a good replacement. The iPhone 6 Plus is still smaller than the iPad, but it offers an improved viewing experience over the previous iterations of the iPhone. The iPhone doubles as a phone and camera and it is both practical and portable.

3. The availability of the 11 inch Macbook

On that same vein, if you want to buy the iPad because it’s portable and easier to view with the larger screens, I’d still say skip the iPad. You might be better off investing in the smallest 11-inch MacBook Air. It costs a tad more, but it’s also more valuable because it should last longer than an iPad’s shelf life. An Apple 11 inch Macbook is not significantly larger or heavier than the iPad, and it covers most of the desktop needs as well.


Bottom Line

My iPad was expensive, but it made sense for me at the time. It was small and lightweight, in sharp contrast to the heavy laptop I owned at the time. I took the iPad with me on numerous trips, and it was a handy companion until it wasn’t anymore.

If someone asks me if it’s worth it to invest in an iPad today, I can’t in good faith recommend it anymore. It’s no longer a competitive device with its relatively short shelf life and its value compared to other offerings that’s available now in the marketplace.

I’ve given up on the iPad, but fortunately for Apple, I haven’t gone far. I’ve opted for the 11-inch Macbook and I haven’t looked back since.