I've been using iPads for 12 years, this is the best value on Apple's tablet I've ever seen

iPad Air 5 using picture-in-picture
(Image credit: Future)

The iPad has come on leaps and bounds since the first generation was unveiled in 2010. Most recently, the advent of Apple silicon to iPad has put them on the map as immense tools of power and productivity, with the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil in tow to provide ultimate flexibility and creativity. 

I’ve been in the iPad fold since 2012, the 3rd generation iPad Air was my first device, followed by the original iPad Air. Since then I’ve owned and used the iPad mini, the iPad Pro, and every iteration in between. I even spent three years working at Apple, teaching customers about their iPads and Apple’s product solutions every single day. 

For years, there has always been a pick for great value in an iPad. I’m here to tell you that Apple’s M1 iPad Air is the best-value tablet I’ve ever seen. 

M1 iPad Air - greatest, not the latest 

You might know that Apple recently unveiled a brand new M2 iPad Air. As such, the M1 iPad Air isn’t sold by Apple and isn’t the best iPad in the range anymore. However, where it can be found there are often great deals on it, such as this massive saving that brings it down to $399 at Best Buy. For that, you get a 10.9-inch tablet featuring Apple’s monstrous M1 chip. It might not be the most powerful chip in the lineup now, but the M1 chip is so good that it produces more power than any iPad user could possibly need. It might not have the 120Hz display of the iPad Pro, but it still has great colors, contrast, and brightness. Even at $599, the iPad Air was always a great pick for those who wanted a middle-of-the-road iPad pick. $200 off is so good you’d think it was a joke. 


iPad Air M1 | $599 $399 at Best Buy

It might have just been replaced by the fancy new iPad Air M2, but the M1 version is no slouch — and with $200 off, it's a whole lot cheaper than the brand-new model. At this price, it's an even better deal than the 10th-generation iPad.

Price check: $400 at Amazon | Out of stock at B&H Photo

For reference, the cheapest iPad that Apple sells currently is the base-model iPad 10. The M1 iPad Air is better than this tablet in every measurable stat, yet the iPad 10 costs $349. For just 50 bucks more you can get a much more powerful tablet that’s lighter. That M1 chip won’t just be great day-to-day for tasks, it’ll also ensure futureproofing thanks to years of iPad software updates. It’ll run Apple’s incoming iPadOS 18 without a hitch, no doubt. 

There are some other iPad discounts in Best Buy’s surprise Apple sale this weekend, but none more deserving of your attention than this M1 iPad Air. Heck, you could even throw in an Apple Pencil 2 for just $79 instead of the usual $129. 


Apple Pencil 2 | $129 $79 at Best Buy

Again, like the Apple Pencil 1, make sure that your iPad is compatible with the Apple Pencil 2 — it can be confusing, so it's worth double-checking. Then come back and get your discounted Pencil.

Price check: $79 at Amazon | $114 at B&H Photo

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9