Remember the iPad? In the afterglow of its splashy 2010 debut, Apple’s tablet became the post-smartphone “it” gadget of the decade. In recent years, however, sales have dipped — both for iPads and tablets in general. But not for lack of trying: Near-annual improvements have pushed the iPad family forward, with higher-resolution Retina screens, ever thinner bodies, and — with the more expensive iPad Pro — towards productivity and creativity features such as stylus support and a high-end keyboard.
Ironically, the iPad line’s biggest problem was that the older models were so good that there wasn’t a huge incentive to replace them. And it didn’t help that phone screens have gotten ever larger in the past few years, too: Why lug out a tablet, even a slim one like an iPad, when a 5.5-inch phone offers a reasonably close experience? Those newer iPad Pro models, meanwhile, were perfectly lustworthy, but priced at laptop pricing tiers of $600 and up. For watching videos, reading the web and playing Super Mario Run, older iPads — or those big-screen phones — remained good enough for a lot of users.
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