iPad Pro: The high price of LTE

Those planning on getting the iPad Pro in a few weeks should be aware of the limited options Apple is offering. These include the pricey LTE model.

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The latest iPad with the big 12.9-inch display will be available for purchase in a few weeks and those considering a purchase may be surprised that Apple has limited the options available. There are fewer models of the iPad Pro compared to previous iPads, and these limits will likely cost you more at purchase time.

The limits impact both storage capacities and LTE availability. Unlike previous iPads, the iPad Pro is only available with two storage options: 32GB and 128GB. There is no 64GB option for the iPad Pro which may push buyers into the larger capacity, likely overkill for some, and that drives the price up from the $799 base to $949.

My own real-world situation shows this to be the case with my iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The entry-level 32GB models would not be sufficient based on my two iPads. I bought both of them with 64GB of storage and that is plenty for my needs. Having 128GB on my iPads would be total overkill.

The limited options are more impactful for those wanting integrated LTE. Apple has chosen to only offer one iPad Pro model with LTE, and that's -- you guessed it -- the 128GB model. The only option with LTE is thus $1,079 making the purchase on the high end for a tablet.

Whether Apple's limited offerings are because it believes an iPad aimed at the workplace needs more storage (possibly) or if it wants to drive buyers to the most expensive models (more likely) is irrelevant to the buyer. The reality is if you want sufficient storage and LTE you have to pay to play.

Since the iPad Pro is being pitched as more appropriate for the workplace, integrated LTE makes sense. I didn't get it on my iPad Air 2 and quickly regretted it, so I definitely want LTE if I get an iPad Pro. That means the high-end model and the high price that goes with it.

On top of the $1,000+ iPad Pro price would be the Apple Keyboard which is necessary to turn the tablet into a work system. That adds $169 to the expensive iPad Pro which approaches the rarefied level of the premium laptop. Those wanting to take full advantage of what the iPad Pro offers will also tack an Apple Pencil onto the purchase at $99. This pushes the total price to almost $1,350, which is very high for an iPad.

Apple has been clear about the limited options but consider this a timely reminder. If you plan on getting an iPad Pro with LTE you will have to get the most expensive model, and that's the way it is. It may turn out to be the mobile system you've always wanted, but you won't know until you plop down a lot of cash.

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