iPad Air

Fourth generation, introduced in September 2020.

The Skinny

  • The model "starting" at $599 is such a waste.
  • Go cellular version or go home. It's $130 extra.
  • Buy it from T-Mobile.
    • T-Mobile includes 500MB free data per month with every iPad.
    • $10 gets you a month of their data. Commit to the monthly charge and forget about it or manage this as-needed (#NoContracts) along with your WiFi + 500MB usage.
  • 64GB internal storage is the cheapest available and will be sufficient for casual to moderate users.
  • 256GB internal storage = $150 upgrade. Well worth the cost if you're considering heavy professional use. It's also FAST storage and that's important to consider.
    • If you're struggling with this decision, remember the USB-C port! Check out this simple guide to building your own super-fast external USB-C storage. This option will net you a full 1TB of storage for the same $150(ish), not to mention the flexibility of moving files, photos, videos, etc. from your iPad to ... anywhere else you might need those files.
1TB 10Gbps USB-C: How To DIY
Build the fastest possible USB drive in 2020.From scratch.It’s easy. I promise you are 100% capable of building this at home, on the road,in a car, near or far, with a fox— twice the speed of SATA SSD, in one tiny box. Spoiler Alert> It’s fast.Drink in the nerdy bits or fast-forward to see the…

All In All

$879 is the cost of a maxed-out iPad Air. Not bad at all, especially if you pay for it over 12 months at T-Mobile. $729 from T-Mobile is what I'd recommend to most people. $729 gets you the 64GB base storage with a free 500MB of cellular data per month. This is the most flexible and cost-efficient option, period.

My wife works for T-Mobile so I am submerged in this information ad nauseam. I don't work for T-Mobile but we do employ them for our cellular devices. After having cellular services from both AT&T and Verizon, I have many pros and cons I could makes lists about but the skinny version is— T-Mobile wins my business today.


Apple's cellular model of this 4th Gen iPad Air is also compatible with gigabit-class LTE. Gigabit-class LTE is the fastest LTE money can buy before getting to 5G. T-Mobile introduced their gigabit-class LTE services in November of 2017 and their 5G services in December of 2019. If it's speed you're looking for, you've found it here.

Apple Pencil (2nd gen!)

$129 means not everyone needs an Apple Pencil but, after dropping mine a hundred times and replacing the tip three times, I can confirm that you want one.

Buy Apple Pencil (2nd generation)
Apple Pencil (2nd generation) lets you write, draw, and more with ease. And its touch surface supports customizable gestures. Buy now at apple.com.

Keyboard Case

$299 is quite possibly the most infuriating accessory cost that I have personally swallowed. I tried the iPad's external 4K monitor support— it's neat, not yet great. Typing on my $179 Smart Keyboard Folio was great when there was plenty of light, but exhausting if the lights were off or dim. I wanted to use the iPad's USB-C port for my external SSD storage but was forced to stop working when the iPad died. This Magic Keyboard solved my iPad workflow problems by including a back-lit keyboard and adding a second USB-C port. The case itself doesn't have a battery but it's USB-C port does facilitate charging the iPad. With the iPad's included USB-C port now available for ... literally anything else, I am now able to work from my iPad all day. I bit. I swallowed. I love it. It just works.

Magic Keyboard for iPad Air (4th generation) and iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation) - US English
Magic Keyboard delivers an amazing typing experience, has a built-in trackpad, and provides front and back protection. Buy now at apple.com.

$159 is a much easier price to chew. While I've not used this specific Logitech case, I have enjoyed other Logitech cases in the past. This one looks awesome.

Logitech Folio Touch Keyboard Case with Trackpad for iPad Air (4th generation)
Logitech’s Folio Touch features a precision trackpad, a full-size keyboard, and four use modes for extra versatility. Buy now at apple.com.