I'm looking into buying an iPad, primarily for its handwriting ability using the Apple Pencil, but also for general content consumption, productivity, etc. I am aware of the Microsoft Surfaces and the Samsung tablets that fit what I'm looking for, but I'm under the impression that the iPad is really the best option that exists when it comes to tablets, especially when considering the handwriting experience (let me know if I'm wrong in this assumption).
Since an iPad is a pretty steep investment for what is to me, essentially, a replacement for paper, with a few other perks sprinkled on top, I'd like to get it on a good deal, if possible. I'm looking at the 11" iPad pro, with probably 128GB storage (or 256 if it's not too much more). I was wondering what is the lowest I could expect to pay for this? I just wanted to check because this is my first time buying an Apple product, so I don't really have any experience of the pricing or the overall market.
There is also the concern of the M1 iPads being released soon. Is the expected increase in performance (and all the other goodness I've heard about the M1 such as energy efficiency) worth the price, particularly for my use case?
Edit: Had a bit of a deeper dive into the Samsung tablet range seeing the votes on the poll. Aside from being much cheaper than comparable iPad Pro models, it also seems quite competitive, even beating the iPad is areas such as the display. This purchase decision just got even harder haha.
Edit 2: Just wanted to explain the seemingly abrupt shift in direction of the first edit. For example, the Tab S7 is just over $800. For this amount, you get a vastly superior screen to the iPad Pro (OLED vs LCD is really no contest) and a superior desktop experience (Samsung Dex). There are advantages to the iPad of course, for example, the better optimised apps on iOS, etc, but I am now having trouble finding reason whether these advantages of the iPad justify the at least $400 extra I will have to pay for it (~$1000 for 2020 iPad Pro + $200 for Apple Pencil, M1 iPad would be even more expensive). Surprisingly, the handwriting experience on both platforms seems quite competitive (here is a comparison between them: https://essentialpicks.com/apple-pencil-vs-samsung-s-pen). The iPad has other wins like the better rear camera system, but this is something that I do not see myself using at all.