The iPad is Apple's answer to the perfect computer replacement for people that don't need everything a computer does. It's the ideal middle ground for providing excellent web browsing, email checking, and more. There is a clear winner for the best iPad in 2018 and it's all about that pencil.
We've also dug deep to come up with our picks for the best accessory and app for iPad in 2018.
Best iPad Award
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Best iPad of 2018
Why we picked the 6th-generation 9.7-inch iPad as the Best iPad of 2018
It all comes down to Apple Pencil support. You get the best of the entry-model features on an iPad, but with the advanced support of the Apple Pencil, previously only available on the more expensive Pro model.
You can use an iPad to draw or take notes, create presentations for your class, play games, film or snap photos with the iSight camera, read novels, correct term papers, chat with your faraway family, or any other number of activities suited to a multi-touch computer.
It needs to be fast. It needs to have enough storage. It needs to work with accessories that make it a better computer. It should have a solid screen for both text and photographs, and stereo speakers for watching videos or playing music.
Apple's 2018 9.7-inch iPad fits the bill — all in a compact 1.03-pound package and ten hours of battery life. Previous 9.7-inch iPad models were either too pricey (as with the 2016 9.7-inch iPad Pro) or too feature-limited (like the 2017 base-model iPad), but this 2018 base model is the best of both worlds: It offers enough advanced features to satisfy any entrant into tablet computing — including full Apple Pencil support — without an outrageous price point.
Best iPad accessory Award
Best iPad accessory of 2018
Why we picked the Apple Pencil as the Best iPad accessory in 2018
Last year, Apple Pencil was nothing but an elite drawing tool for people who could afford the Pros. It was only available on iPad Pro models. This year, however, Apple updated the iPad with support for Apple Pencil, making the elite drawing tool accessible to all levels (except the iPad Mini).
Additionally, Apple released an updated version, Apple Pencil 2, which is only supported on the 2018 iPad Pro, but has a couple of fantastic new features that make it an absolute must-have for owners of the 2018 model iPad Pro. Namely, the magnetic charging system, which replaces the Lightning port charging of its predecessor.
Whether you've got the 6th-generation iPad, an older iPad Pro, or the latest and greatest iPad Pro, there is an Apple Pencil for you, and that's why it's our pick for the best accessory for iPad in 2018.
Best iPad app Award
Best iPad app of 2018
Why we picked Affinity Designer as the Best iPad app in 2018
Affinity Designer is meant for people that want to do more than just make incredible art. It's for people that want to design the perfect graphic. With it, you can build your incredible masterpiece using more than 100 brushes, plus use the detailed vector graphic tools for precision designing, add stunning typography to your layout, and see what your final results would look like in the real world.
The number of features included in Affinity Designer, plus the responsiveness and nearly zero lag, makes it invaluable to any artist. Which is why it's our pick for 2018's best iPad app.
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Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books. If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).