The Best iPad for Kids in 2020

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by Jack Taylor | Last Updated:  March 24, 2020

iPads are increasingly becoming popular, especially with kids. Parents love that this one device delivers educational content, entertainment, and is a great way to express creativity. All from one device. But when considering purchasing an iPad for your child, what is the best iPad for your child?

The best iPad for your child is probably the entry level iPad offered by Apple for only $329.  You could spend $1,649 for the top-of-the-line iPad with 1 terabyte of storage, but that’s almost certainly not necessary because you can do the same things on both devices.

There are several things to consider when purchasing an iPad for your child.  The purpose of this article is to help you see that you do not need to spend an enormous amount of money when purchasing an iPad for your child.  It is also my hope to reveal many benefits that you may not have considered, which will add to your conviction in purchasing an entry level iPad for your child.

Why An iPad is a Great Choice for your Child

Purchasing an iPad for your child is a fantastic idea because it allows for creativity to express itself without limit.  The iPad was not built for a particular age group, but rather, for all age groups.  Everybody can use the iPad to maximize their creativity in a way that works for them. It is a device that works for you instead of you having to work the way it wants you to work. 

For example, you can take an iPad and do anything you want with it while sitting on the couch or laying in bed. You cannot say the same for a desktop computer or perhaps even for a laptop computer. Even the 13“ MacBook Air is not as easy to use as an iPad when sitting on the couch, lying in bed, or sitting on an airplane with a long flight ahead. But an iPad is, without question. 

The iPad Offers Unlimited Creativity

With the iPad, one can express creativity in so many ways. You can write, draw, edit photographs and video and more. Today, a ten-year-old can use Garage Band to create and lay down tracks using a myriad of instruments.  The iPad allows you to do all of this at a fraction of what it would cost just 15 years ago.  In fact, every iPad allows your child to express themselves in the following ways. 

Writing

Whether you use an Apple Pencil To take Traditional notes in class, or a keyboard to write that 30 page term paper, The iPad is the ideal solution for writing.  Not only is it incredibly portable, but you can easily connect a Bluetooth keyboard to it , or freehand it by using the Apple Pencil .

As I sit here and write this article, I will either use Apple’s Magic Keyboard, or I will dictate everything out by double tapping the Function key to enable the dictation tool.  Is it a bother?  On the contrary.  I literally have a 13” 2019 MacBook Pro sitting right next to me, but I prefer to use the iPad to write my articles.

Drawing

Children love to draw because it’s the easiest way for them to express themselves.  With apps like procreate, they can doodle or create a digital masterpiece that can be saved in the cloud forever.  

Photography

Not only can kids take pictures with the iPad, but they can manipulate those pictures creating digital scrapbooks, Or perhaps create a digital card and send it to grandma while using FaceTime on the iPad.  Those memories will never go away.  

Video Editing

Today, children learn at an early age how to manipulate video by using tools such as Luma Fusion, One of the best video editors out on the market today.  No longer Is the computer a requirement to create movies. These days, kids can do all of that from an iPad. Editing video for school projects is a huge confidence builder. 

The iPad is a Great Source of Entertainment

When purchasing an iPad for your child, it’s easy to think that the only source of entertainment might be for them to watch movies or YouTube videos, perhaps read a book or play games on it. However, there are other ways in which they can use it as a source of entertainment, some of which I’ve already mentioned. Such as Editing videos or manipulating editing videos or Learning how to use Photoshop on the iPad while sitting in the backseat of the car during your family vacation.

Movies

The iPad allows you to watch movies from your favorite subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or even Apple TV+.  With such a bright display and very responsive unit, The iPad is the perfect choice for watching movies while sitting on the couch or laying in bed, given how light and portable it is.

Books

Do you love the idea of your kids loving to read? How about giving them the ability to carry literally thousands of books around with them on their iPad, all of which are readily available at a moments notice. Apple Books allows just for that.

Games

iOS is the number one gaming platform in the world right now. Why? Because more people have access to the “Apple Arcade”, than any other gaming platform in the world, and Apple Arcade is found on every iPad and iPhone. 

Educational Opportunities Abound for those who have an iPad

Right now there are well over 200,000 educational apps found in the App Store, ready for download. 

Educational videos

Not only can your kids use the iPad for watching movies and television, but they also can use it to watch educational videos from streaming services such as CuriosityStream.com and other subscription services.  Ask a 10-year-old how to change spark plugs in a car and the first thing that he will do is look it up on YouTube. Go ahead, I dare you.

Home-schooling

Parents who homeschool their children love the iPad because it allows for so much flexibility. If the iPad serves as a classroom, they can literally take that class from anywhere they want at any time.  They can read through a lesson while waiting in the doctors office, or in the backseat of the car on the way to grandmas house.

The Most Expensive iPad is Probably Not the Best iPad for Your Child

I’m just gonna come right out and say it.  Buying the most expensive iPad does not necessarily provide for a richer experience for them, and purchasing the most expensive iPad for your child is probably not the wisest option, for several reasons. 

You could spend $1,649 for the top of the line, most expensive iPad available on the market today.  Mind you, this iPad is designed for career professionals such as digital artists, audio engineers, and for intense video editing.  Industry professionals use such a device and you’re child probably does not need all of that power, at least not yet.

As an example, Do you think it would be wise to purchase a brand new 2020 Ferrari for your 16-year-old as their first car? I’m sure you would agree that it would not be a wise decision.  So too, purchasing The most expensive top-of-the-line iPad with the largest storage capacity is probably overkill when considering which iPad to purchase for your child. 

Should I Get the GPS Only or Cellular Version?

An iPad with Wi-Fi only simply limits where you can access the internet from your device.  In order for an iPad that offers Wi-Fi only, to access the internet, you either have to connect to a Wi-Fi router, or you have to connect to a cell phone via HotSpot.

HotSpot is a feature of modern day cellphones that allows you to piggy back off of it’s cellular connection. If enabled, you would simply connect your iPad to the cellphone in question by entering a password that you set up on the cellphone.  Once connected, you would be able to access the internet at a similar speed, (if not the same speed), as your cellphone could.  

Connecting to the internet via HotSpot is not ideal, but works in a pinch and is generally used for short term uses, to check your e-mail, or bank account for example.  It *could* be used for streaming movies or gaming, but just keep in mind that the speed at which it plays is limited to the Cellular signal of the cell phone. If used in this manner, just understand that you will probably be buffering a lot. 

Let me begin by saying that there is absolutely NO difference in functionality between an iPad Wi-Fi only, and an iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular other than the Wi-Fi + Cellular allows you to access the internet while driving down the highway, for example.

The question you have to ask is, “Where will my child primarily be using the iPad?”  If it is at home, or at school, (or anywhere that they could connect to a Wi-Fi network), then you will probably want to get them the Wi-Fi only version of the iPad.

If you do purchase an iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular, understand that in order to use cellular connectivity,Your cell phone carrier will require that you purchase an additional phone line so that your iPad can access the Internet using cellular connectivity.  Typically, that price can range anywhere from $20-$40 a month depending upon your cellular plan with your phone carrier.

Most kids will not need an iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular connectivity.  In fact, I think that that would be quite the exception if they did require that. Again, it all depends upon your circumstances and where your child will primarily be using the iPad in question.

Once again, let me reiterate that there is absolutely NO difference in functionality between an iPad Wi-Fi only, and an iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular connectivity, other than the Wi-Fi + Cellular allows your child to access the internet when they do not have access to a Wi-Fi network or a cellphone that shares a HotSpot.

Why the $329 iPad is More than Sufficient for Your Child

In comparing the different iPads available for purchase, you will find that the iPad is the least expensive offered, and yet it offers a such a huge bang for your buck. It’s actually less expensive than the iPad Mini!

Source: Apple

People tend to think that more expensive means that it must be a better product.  That may be true for true professionals who require the power and performance offered by the iPad Pro, but for most kids, the iPad is more than sufficient to meet their needs.

Unlike computers, an iPad tends to last a long time, especially if you take care of it.  Why does it last such a long time? Because they really don’t have any moving parts.  It also does not take a lot of maintenance either.  

Below is a list of the things that your child needs to do in order to maintain their iPad.

As you can see, it does not take a rocket scientist in order to maintain an iPad.

AppleCare+ is an Absolute Must, Especially for Kids

You could think of AppleCare+ as an insurance policy on your device, but it is way more than that. Behind AppleCare+ is a team of people dedicated to helping you address any question you may have in how to use your iPad, and they are available via chat or by phone. Additionally, this Support Team is readily available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can call them free of charge and talk to them until all of your questions have been answered.

If you purchased AppleCare+ for your iPad within 60 days of the purchase date, and any of the following were to happen to your iPad, . . . it would be covered under AppleCare+.

The unbelievable part about AppleCare+ is the cost.  Below is a chart showing the cost of AppleCare+ for each device listed, and the deductible as well.


iPad Pro iPad Air iPad iPad Mini
AppleCare+  $5.99/mo or $129 $3.49/mo or $69 $3.49/mo or $69 $3.49/mo or $69
Deductible $49 $49 $49 $49
Storage Any Size Any Size Any Size Any Size
Wi-Fi  Same Price Same Price Same Price Same Price
Wi-Fi + Cellular Same Price Same Price Same Price Same Price

For those who may want further clarification, for the iPad Mini, iPad, and iPad Air, the monthly cost of AppleCare+ is $3.49 per month, or you can pay $69 at the time you purchase the iPad.  If you opt to pay the monthly fee of $3.49, your coverage remains as long as you do not cancel your subscription, or miss a payment.  If, however, you choose to pay the $129 up front, you will only receive 2 years of AppleCare+ coverage from the date of purchase, and will not be able to extend coverage on a monthly basis at the end of the two years of coverage.

If you purchase the iPad Pro (either the 11” or the 12.9 “), the monthly cost of AppleCare+ is $5.99 per month, or you can pay $129 at the time you purchase the iPad.  If you opt to pay the monthly fee of $5.99, your coverage remains as long as you do not cancel your subscription, or miss a payment.  If, however, you choose to pay the $69 up front, you will only receive 2 years of AppleCare+ coverage from the date of purchase, and will not be able to extend coverage on a monthly basis at the end of the two years of coverage.

Regardless of which iPad you choose to purchase, should you purchase AppleCare+ for your iPad, you will have 2 instances (2 claims), that you can make within a two year period.  Additionally, should you need to take advantage of AppleCare+ (use one of your allowed instances), it will cost $49 per instance.

Closing Thoughts

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a GREAT iPad for your child, (regardless of their age).  The iPad offers so much for your child, allowing for your child to express creativity in a way that you were never able to when you were growing up.

The educational opportunities are limitless.  Being able to create movies and edit them, or learn become an audio engineer, or a digital artist, is something that one would have to go to a specialized school for, just a few years ago.  Now, your 8 year old can start learning how to use these tools, giving them an advantage when they graduate from high school.  

Regardless of which iPad you choose for your child, I highly encourage you to spend the extra few (literally few), dollars each month to get AppleCare+ as an investment in your child’s future.

Jack has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article or working on his YouTube channel, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Jack, click here.
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