Apple’s entry-level iPad has received a major design refresh this year, bringing it in line with the rest of the company’s tablets.
Unfortunately, it’s also in a sort of no-man’s land between the still-available iPad 9th generation from last year and the iPad Air.
And that’s because of the price hike that comes along with this shiny new gadget. We’ll get into that later. Let’s start with the good stuff first. This is, as you would expect, a very well-built and capable machine.
The design looks almost identical to the iPad Air with the thick bezels removed, the home button banished and a USB-C port replacing the Lightning connector.
But unlike every other iPad, this new model moves the front camera from the landscape edge. Which is a boon if you routinely use it for video calls on Zoom or FaceTime.
It’s a 12-megapixel, full 1080p camera that also comes with Apple’s Center Stage feature that follows you around the room to keep you in focus.
Although the iPad is slightly thicker and larger than the iPad Air, the screen is exactly the same size at 10.9 inches and you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. However, there are a few different colors to choose from. The iPad comes in blue, pink, yellow, and silver, and they’re a little more vibrant than the space gray, blue, pink, purple, and starlight colors of the iPad Air.
Enhancing the screen is one of the most appealing aspects of this iPad. It now has a Liquid Retina display with a resolution of 2,360 × 1,640 pixels (264ppi) and 500 nits of brightness.
The extra space gives more room for content and multitasking if you want to use iPad as a creative tool.
The sting in the tail on that front is that because the iPad runs on a less powerful A14 Bionic chip (the Air has an Apple M1), it can’t handle the multitasking feature of Stage Manager that Apple introduced with iPadOS 16.
But if, like me, you only need an iPad for a few basic tasks, you’ll be fine with the A14 Bionic. My general use case is writing, email, web surfing, maybe some light photo editing and some content consumption.
All of this meant that I didn’t drain the iPad’s 10-hour battery tank sooner than Apple promised.
The iPad is a complete gadget on its own, but of course it gets better when you start adding accessories to the list.
But this is also where the complications begin to arise. Apple has released a new type of keyboard case to accompany this iPad called the Magic Keyboard Folio.
It’s a two-part tablet consisting of a backplate with a stand (very Microsoft Surface-like) and a detachable keyboard with a full array of function keys – a first for an iPad keyboard accessory. There is a lot you can do with this accessory. The keyboard folds either forward or around the back and it is comfortable to type with a large trackpad at the bottom.
There are a few caveats to mention, not the least of which is the fact that it will cost you an extra £279. But also, it doesn’t include a backlight and there’s no extra USB-C card slot like there is on the Magic Keyboard mount for the Pro or Air.
It’s not as stable as that accessory when you want to balance the iPad on your lap, but it’s more versatile. Unfortunately, while it’s not cheap, it really should be purchased along with the iPad to get the most out of the tablet.
Most confusingly, however, this iPad is not compatible with Apple’s second-generation Pencil. It will only work with the first generation version of the accessory so you’ll need to use a USB to Lightning dongle (sold separately for £9) to pair and charge it.
Accessories aside, perhaps the biggest stumbling block for the new iPad is – as mentioned at the beginning – the pricing.
Apple has raised the base price of this iPad up to £499 and for that you only get 64GB of storage. If you want to jump to 256GB, you’ll pay £679.
The problem here is that you can still buy the 9th generation iPad for £369 or the iPad Air for £669. If you just want the basics, the 9th gen will do and if you’re happy to pay £499 (or £679), you’d be better off adding the extra £170 for the added power and future-proofing of the Air .
So where does that leave this 10th generation iPad? Somewhere in the middle, in my opinion. It’s a great device – any Apple tablet – but I’m not really sure who benefits from buying it. All it seems to do is make the iPad lineup a little more confusing.
The 10th generation iPad is a great update in all the right ways, it’s just not the one to buy right now.
Apple iPad (2022): The details
Name: Apple iPad (10th generation)
What is good:
- Premium design
- Strong performance
- Magic Keyboard Folio Accessory
What is bad:
- Ambitious pricing
- No support for Apple Pencil 2
- 64 GB base storage is too low
Where can I buy one? You can buy the iPad 10th generation directly from the Apple Store here.
MORE: iPad Pro (2022) review: Incremental update delivers a power lift
MORE: Apple updates iPads with more power and a splash of color
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