The new iPads are here, and though they’re not exactly what we were expecting (whatever happened to that Touch ID business?), they still deliver in all the big ways: more powerful processors, better cameras, slimmer and lighter designs, and that all-important Retina display upgrade for the new iPad mini.

Ultimately, there’s a lot to be happy about, and we’re sure that Apple’s going to see a lot of demand for this pair. But still, in many ways today’s announcement was a conservative one; nothing about the iPad Air or iPad mini 2 is either wildly unexpected or even that innovative. Really, they both seem like very obvious, iterative updates.

Maybe that’s what Apple actually needs, and if so, more power to it. On the other hand, we like to think outside the box from time to time, so let’s play a little game of what-if:

About a month ago, following Apple’s announcements of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, we really got to wondering about the iPhone 5C’s construction – and specifically, what this new embrace of plastics might spell for Apple’s tablet lineup. Clearly, that’s not the direction Apple went with the new iPad mini and iPad Air, but the thought lingers on our mind: could a plastic iPad ever really work?

A bunch of you are probably asking yourselves, “good lord, why? One of the best things about any iPad is its design; why would you want to cripple it like that?”

Fair question. It’s hard to say if moving to plastic would help Apple make its existing iPads much lighter, or even thinner – its done such a fantastic job with metal, that there’s precious little space to improve – but there are other benefits to consider. Money’s a big one. What about doing for the iPad Apple what did for the iPhone with the 5C, and concentrating on making it the slightly-more-affordable alternative?

Instead of being stuck with the iPad 2 as Apple’s cheap iPad option YET AGAIN, throw the guts of the iPad 4 into a plastic body and position that at the $400 point. Same goes for the iPad mini, but as last year’s model is already going to be available for just $300, maybe a plastic iPad mini could push things down even further, competing in the mid-$200 range with Android tablets – that could be a huge coup for Apple, possibly even helping to convert some of those Android hold-outs.

So, let’s hear from you. I want to know if there’s any way under the sun you might be interested in a plastic iPad, or if this venture would be diametrically opposed to the level of quality you’ve come to expect from Apple’s tablet lineup.

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