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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Apple revamps iPad with new design, revs iPad Pro to M2

Tenth-generation iPad

Changes are afoot in Apple’s lineup of tablets, as the vanilla iPad gets a brand new design on par with the rest of the company’s iPad models, and the high-end iPad Pro adds the new M2 processor and a new Apple Pencil “hover” experience.

The redesign of the iPad—I hesitate to call it the “base-level iPad” for reasons that will be shortly apparent—makes it very similar to the iPad Air, including a USB-C port, Touch ID on the power button, and the same 12MP wide camera. It’s also very slightly larger than the iPad Air in every dimension by about a millimeter, and weighs in at 16 grams heavier. So I guess the “Air” is still earning its moniker there. Sort of.

Where the tenth-generation mainly differs are in a lot of little niceties: it lacks the fully-laminated display, wider P3 color gamut, and antireflective coating of the iPad Air; can’t work with accessories like second-generation Apple Pencil or the Magic Keyboard; and of course has a slower A14 Bionic chip, rather than the current generation iPad Air’s M1. (Interestingly, even though Apple recently expanded its new Stage Manager feature to work with older iPads powered by A12-generation chips, it seems like the A14-powered iPad won’t support it—perhaps because it has less RAM?)

For drawing support, Apple’s sticking with the clunky first-generation Apple Pencil, which will now include a Lightning-to-USB-C adapter (available separately for $9). And instead of the Magic Keyboard, there’s a new Magic Keyboard Folio, which appears to be a two-part design that has a magnetic back which can fold out to a kickstand as well as a keyboard that attaches to the Smart Connector, which is still on the edge with this model, and boasts for the first time a multitouch trackpad. It runs $249 and comes in any color you want, as long as it’s white.

That said, the tenth-generation iPad also comes in at $449 for 64GB of storage, which is still $100 less than an iPad Air with the same amount of storage. But that also means it’s $120 more than the ninth-generation iPad…which explains why Apple is keeping it in the line-up for now. The tenth-generation iPad is clearly not the budget tablet for most people, though it may eventually take up that spot?

It’s worth nothing there are actually a couple of other positives new developments on this model: For one thing, the new iPad features the first landscape-oriented front-facing camera on any of Apple’s tablets, finally seeming to concede that most people use their iPads in landscape, at least when video-chatting. And the iPad actually comes in eye-catching colors, including blue, pink, yellow, and silver1.

The iPad Pro also got a revision Tuesday, as both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch models were bumped to the new M2 processor, which includes hardware-acclerated ProRes encoding and decoding. Additionally, they add support for the faster Wi-Fi 6E protocol and Bluetooth 5.3, as well as a new “Apple Pencil hover” mode that can detect the Pencil’s height at up to 12mm above the display, and allow the iPad to react accordingly. Otherwise, they remain unchanged from the previous versions—weirdly, they even keep the portrait-orientation front-facing camera—and continue to start at $799 for 128GB for the 11-inch and $1099 for 128GB for the 12.9-inch.


  1. Not a color. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]

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