Why Are iPads So Expensive?

Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by Ernests Embutnieks

Since the entire evolution of the iPad, the tablet has always been considered relatively expensive. Even with more budget-oriented options, such as the classic iPad and the iPad Mini, the entire lineup still crosses the $300 mark in more instances than one.

iPad is so expensive because they run on proprietary software (iPadOS), have Apple’s own Silicon (AX / MX) chips, and generally run for much longer than their Android counterparts due to stellar software support.

In this article, we’re going to go over exactly why iPads are so expensive, what justifies their cost, and if we’ll see price reductions in the upcoming future.

Vertical Integration

Apple is one of the only manufacturers that tend to source and produce most of the components that go into their devices themselves. While they outsource chip production to TSMC and display production to Samsung, they have their own proprietary technologies when it comes to features such as Apple AX and MX chip series.

In essence, Apple holds a monopoly over its own products. Due to this particular monopoly, they are able to substantiate high prices with exclusivity. And this brand image drives the prices up high.

Older reports suggest that Apple’s tablets have a profit margin of 40-55%. While the company has gotten more tight-lipped over the years about its profits, it is quite clear that they still make a decent sum off each product without reducing prices. 

Professional Tools

The iPad Pro (and even the iPad Air in some cases) have both cemented themselves as iPads worthy of professionals. Their software, combined with the sheer power of Apple Silicon has led to desktop-grade applications paving their way to the Apple ecosystem with many more following suit each year.

Now, tools such as Procreate are being used by professionals around the world to create stunning digital art. And, tools like LumaFusion and Premiere Rush are also allowing creators to clip and create videos with Photoshop being used for photos.

Whenever you go for a professional tool, you are bound to pay a hefty premium. And, since the iPad Pro is the first tablet that’s achieved desktop-class experience, Apple’s certainly turned the price up for their entire iPad lineup since most of them share a semblance of that performance.

Proprietary Software

Apple’s iOS in its earlier iPads and later, iPadOS is proprietary software. No tablet other than the iPad can run this software. And, since it features tight-knit integration with other Apple products and contains ecosystems such as the App Store that are exclusive to it, Apple pays a lot in upkeep, maintenance, and R&D on iPadOS.

This cost tends to add up and is subsequently transferred over to the net consumer thereby increasing the iPad’s price. Personally speaking, while I feel that iPadOS really does bring a lot of unique features to the table, especially when it comes to Apple-only integration, it does fall back on a lot of the open-source features that Android provides to its tablet users, such as the ability to change your home screen launcher, for instance.


Let’s face it, iPads just last longer. Compared to their Android brethren, Apple promises 4-5 years of ongoing software support for each of their iPads with the newer chips driving that figure to 5-6 years as well. This means that while your initial spend is relatively high, you’ll be able to use your tablet for a much longer time.

This leads you to a value proposition. Would you rather purchase a tablet that costs a few hundred dollars less and lasts for 3-4 years rather than a tablet that costs a bit more but lasts much longer? While the answer may be the former for some, we’ve seen that Apple’s insistence on using their own software combined with their hardware integration has led them to achieve impressive longevity on even older hardware.

Poor Competition

Android tablets have certainly stepped up in recent years. And, while the smartphone competition is quite stiff between the two OS’es, its not very even when it comes to tablets. This is because Apple had a headstart in the tablet market. Moreover, tablets have a more niche audience.

Unlike phones, tablets are meant to be used by everyone, the kids, your parents, and even their parents. This means that they must be accessible, easy-to-use, have great UI, and needs to have excellent parental controls for those pesky kids.

These requirements (while certainly available in Android), aren’t as polished as Apple. Once again, this is because of time. While Android is certainly catching up, Apple definitely has the lead and seems to keep it for the foreseeable future.

Since this lead exists, Apple is able to jack up prices and keep them there since well, if you need a tablet that caters to all the conditions we just mentioned, there’s nothing better than the iPad. 

Original Accessories

The iPad comes with a few accessories that seamlessly integrate with the tablets. The Apple Pencil and the Magic / Smart Keyboard. While various iPads use different versions of these two accessories (except the iPad Mini which has no Smart Keyboard support), they’ve gotten quite pivotal to the iPad experience.

The main draw is that these accessories possess the same level of quality and finesse the Apple’s products have. This leads to them being highly sought after and most iPad users, casual or professional tend to have these accessories.

The pricing on these accessories is already quite high for similar reasons as to why the iPad is expensive, exclusivity, quality and proprietary software. Therefore, when you go and pick up these accessories and an iPad, you are bound to be paying a hefty premium.

Cellular Integration

A lot of consumers tend to forget that there are Cellular-enabled versions of each iPad which usually increase prices by $50-100. This means that you’ll be able to use your iPad on the fly without needing to carry your phone with you everywhere.

While this feature is available on high-end Android tablets, budget Android tablets tend to skimp on this. And, this is where the iPad may feel a bit more expensive at first. But, since it has quite

a vital feature for most, the price hikeup tends to be justified for those who’ll end up using its cellular capabilities. 

Will iPads Ever Be Cheap?

No, iPads will never be considered cheap. While models such as the classic iPad have certainly reduced the barrier to entry, they still can’t be considered as cheap tablets. The reason why there won’t be a price reduction is because no other company will be able to emulate what the iPad is, namely:

  • The ecosystem
  • The OS
  • The brand name

These three factors culminate into forming the iPad brand. And, since Apple won’t be selling iPadOS, its integration with its ecosystem, and the brand name itself anytime soon, iPads are expected to remain a premium-priced product until another brand competes with Apple’s OS and ecosystem.


The iPad has placed itself in the market as the most popular tablet of all time. And, this keen grasp has led it to get quite expensive over the years. And, we’re not really seeing that change for the foreseeable future. 


Is an iPad Worth Owning?

Yes, an iPad is definitely worth owning. It is a great device for note-taking, media consumption, casual web browsing, gaming and even professional use cases such as video editing and drawing.

What’s is so special about an iPad?

There’s nothing special about owning an iPad. However, if you have other Apple devices such as an iPhone or a Macbook, you’ll be able to combine both devices and use their tight-knit integration to your advantage, such as being able to use your iPad as a secondary wireless monitor.

Why are iPads better than other tablets?

iPads are better than other tablets because they have elongated software support, a great user experience, and proprietary chips. Besides that, they’re widely used and therefore have a relatively better reputation in the market.

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I love tech and all about it. I'm interested in finding ways how they can make my life more productive, and I share my knowledge with my blog readers. I'm an iPad Pro, iPhone, MacBook, and Apple Watch user, so I know a thing or two about these devices and try to write helpful content around these topics.