2017? 5th Gen? Air SE?
What Apple's New iPad Lacks In It's Branding,
It Makes Up For With It's Affordability
Let's Face It: Apple Has Confused All Of Us With Their Branding Choices In Recent Years.
This newest iPad is Obviously built upon the iPad Air design. Last Year, Apple pulled a similar move with the iPhone SE - a budget-friendly iPhone 5S successor with some updated specs & colors. Yet, Apple has chosen to leave behind both the Air & SE brands. Instead, they simply refer to their newest tablet as the iPad 2017. Oddly, however, in fine text they also mention it as the 5th generation iPad. Huh...
It seems as though even Apple doesn't know what to call this one. Be that as it may, the iPad 2017/Air SE/5th Gen does a lot of things right. Probably its most attractive feature is its low $330 price-point. Not every customer is looking for an iPad Pro.
A few hundred dollar tablet is a family-friendly tablet.
And by family, I mean children. iPad's are tremendously popular with kids. This iPad is one many parents would be comfortable purchasing for family use. I do not know if it is RIGHT for parents to spend $300 on a digital babysitter, but I can assure you from personal experience I know many who do. Nothing quiets a child down faster than a new game or Hulu show.
Personally, I would recommend an Amazon Fire Tablet for this role. They are much cheaper (~$100), and Amazon's tablets are constructed predominantly of durable plastic. This translates into a tablet which is harder for a child to break, and less painful if they still manage to.
Cheap Buy - Cheap Fix
iPad's, with their large glass screens, break quite often. Because of this, I congratulate Apple on their decision to design the iPad 2017 as they did the Air 1, and not the Air 2. The Air 1 has an Unfused Digitizer and LCD, while on the Air 2 they are fused. What this means in layman's terms, is that the glass on both the Air 1 and the 2017 models can be replaced without having to replace the Full Screen Assembly. This means it is cheaper. For context, an iPad Air 1 Glass Digitizer Costs Around $20, whereas an iPad Air 2 Screen Assembly Costs Around $140. At a local repair shop, you would be paying around $100 To Fix The Glass On An iPad Air 1, and upwards of $250 To Fix The Glass On An iPad Air 2. Some of the components, such as the Digitizer mentioned above, are even interchangeable between the Air 1 & the 2017.
Many traditional product reviewers are making negative comments about the Unfused Screen Assembly. There is a noticeable gap between the glass and the screen beneath. This can effect brightness and viewing angles - especially in bright sunlight. From an aesthetic perspective, they may have a valid point. From a repair perspective, however, this is a positive design element. Apple has released an affordable iPad that is cheap to fix when your child inevitably breaks it in what they refer to as an 'accident' - but what you know to be their reaction to being eaten after a 30 minute bout in slither.io.