oldest acceptable iPad (for some music applications)
November 15, 2018 1:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm a Windoze and Android user and would like to pick up an older iPad for a few apps that are only available in iOS and mostly to explore iOS apps. Mostly this is for Garageband with use of a MIDI controller, and my needs are very minimal- i'm just playing around to learn a bit about DAWs on tablets rather than really making serious music. What's the oldest sorta-acceptable iPad generation you'd recommend in my case?

There are a bunch of other music-related apps I've played with on an iPhone that I'd like to explore on a larger iOS device (such as apps for ear training and for figuring out chords to stuff, for instance Musicnotes).

I'm shopping Craigslist so there is a wide variation in prices. My budget is under $250 but because this is such a frivolous toy sort of application I'd prefer to spend much less.
posted by twoplussix to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Your app needs may vary, but I've been using my 4th-gen iPad (2013) as a performance controller with Ableton Live for the last five years with absolutely no troubles. They're going for well under $250 at this point.
posted by mykescipark at 2:04 PM on November 15, 2018

The first-generation iPad Air (announced October 22, 2013) is the oldest iPad that will run the current OS release (iOS 12). They sell for well under $250 in my area. Keep in mind that in all likelihood iOS 13 will not support the iPad Air. If compatibility with the future release of iOS 13 is important, I think the second-generation iPad Air 2 is a better choice (it also added support for Touch ID, likely not relevant to your choice).
posted by RichardP at 2:24 PM on November 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have a MC706LL/A (ipad gen.3 from around 2012) that works beautifully with my favorite music apps like Animoog, Yonac Steel Guitar, and Pixitracker, even though it has trouble with modern web sites in Chrome or Safari. It's too old to run iOS past 9.3.5, so any software that relies on the latest iOS wouldn't work - but that also makes it virtually worthless so you could probably pick one up real cheap.
posted by moonmilk at 2:26 PM on November 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Looks like Woot is moving the 2nd Generation iPad Air for cheap today.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 2:41 PM on November 15, 2018

I'd recommend the Air 2 - I upgraded my 3rd-gen last year (which was kind of slow, even brand new, and simply cannot even load many web pages today) to a Air, but then returned the Air and got an Air 2 because the Air did not really seem that much faster.

The Air 2 is also kind of unique in that it is from a time when the iPad was still a flagship product and thus is made more like the current iPad Pros (thinner, laminated display). All the current non-Pro iPads are minor revisions of the iPad Air with a faster processor, with the exact same shell and display.
posted by meowzilla at 2:57 PM on November 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've been using a 3rd gen (first with the retina screen) for years and it's been great but I'd go with the Air 2 (esp since it's on sale). I mainly use mine for reading comics and playing simple games on planes so I have no need for it to be updated, but your needs might be best served by something that's a bit more modern. It'll also be waaay lighter!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:41 PM on November 15, 2018

I can state from experience that the Animoog app runs perfectly on an iPad 1, including with a USB MIDI adapter that uses the camera connection kit. I'm also pretty sure that Garageband is fine on my original iPad Mini (same specs as an iPad 2, but with a lightning connector).

You'll probably be fine with any iPad you get.
posted by krisjohn at 7:51 PM on November 15, 2018

I picked up an Air2 with a slightly cracked screen for $99 on Craigslist, and I'm excited to fill it with apps. I'll post a separate question soon to ask about apps/gadgets that people like for various purposes.
posted by twoplussix at 2:23 PM on December 17, 2018

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