Why the iPad Event Was So Disappointing

Commentary: Apple needs to remember the Steve Jobs lesson and go back to basics in the iPad product lineup.

Bridget Carey Principal Video Producer
Bridget Carey is an award-winning reporter who helps you level-up your life -- while having a good time geeking out. Her exclusive CNET videos get you behind the scenes as she covers new trends, experiences and quirky gadgets. Her weekly video show, "One More Thing," explores what's new in the world of Apple and what's to come. She started as a reporter at The Miami Herald with syndicated newspaper columns for product reviews and social media advice. Now she's a mom who also stays on top of toy industry trends and robots. (Kids love robots.)
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  • Bridget has spent over 18 years as a consumer tech reporter, hosting daily tech news shows and writing syndicated newspaper columns. She's often a guest on national radio and television stations, including ABC, CBS, CNBC and NBC.
Bridget Carey
iPad Pros on a table with keyboard cases connected

The new iPad Pros have new Magic Keyboards, a new Pencil Pro, new M4 chips and vibrant OLED displays. Do you need them, though?

Scott Stein/CNET

Apple this week revealed new iPad Pros, iPad Airs, a new Pencil and Magic Keyboard. But after the flashy presentation -- which even unveiled upgraded Apple silicon, the M4 chip, too -- I'm left feeling like Apple lost sight of what its customers really want.

The new 2024 iPad Pro, by all means, looks to be a high quality machine, but something felt off in this "Let Loose" streamed event. Apple got tangled up in the wrong details by making products more expensive and accessories a confusing compatibility mess. If you're keeping score, the new Air is heavier than the Pro, the new squeezable Pencil has zero backward compatibility, and the new Magic Keyboard is only for the new iPad Pros. The new Pro is the thinnest and most expensive iPad ever, but it's also got the most powerful AI chip -- so it can cosplay as a MacBook? Perhaps Apple's presentation was aimed more at Wall Street than Main Street.

In this week's episode of One More Thing, embedded above, I explain all the ways the Apple event missed the mark with this new batch of iPads. It also left us cringing from its "Crush!" ad, over which Apple has now apologized for hitting the wrong tone. 

But there is hope for the iPad lineup -- and perhaps Apple would do well to remember a lesson from Steve Jobs and thin down the product line to go back to basics.