Apple has taken the wraps off a new set of iPads. And while it was the new iPad Pro that got most of the cutting-edge tech (as expected), it was the latest version of the basic iPad (the one Apple simply calls ‘iPad’ without any suffixes) that grabbed the most attention. That was because it seemed nothing like the basic iPad of the past. After years of having it remain in a relatively undisturbed state, Apple has this time decided to thoroughly revamp the iPad.
Unlike in the past, the Cupertino giant has not restricted itself to a few tweaks under the hood, but has tweaked the hood itself. As a result, the iPad (10th generation), as it is officially called, looks and feels nothing like its predecessors.
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Here are the 10 most noteworthy changes in the latest edition of the iPad:
Splash of colours
The iPad has been many things, but it has never been colourful in terms of design. Right from the launch of the first iPad in 2010, Apple seems to have followed a variation of Henry Ford’s maxim that consumers could get the tablet in any colour as long as it was mainly in metallic shades of grey and silver, with the odd exception here and there.
Well, that changes with the iPad (10th generation). The newest iPad does have a silver variant for those who do not wish to break from tradition, but new on the tablet block are very striking shades of Blue, Yellow, and Pink.
Is this the new iPad Air?
The colours are not the only thing that’s new about the iPad (10th generation). The tablet has got a total design makeover and has lost the curved sides and back that it always had. It now comes with the straight sides and narrow-bezelled display that are seen in not just the iPad Air and the iPad Pros, but also in the iPhones.
Interestingly, while it has a larger display than the previous iPad, the iPad (10th generation) is actually shorter than its predecessor — 248.6mm as compared to 250.6mm. However, it is also significantly wider — 179.5mm against 174.1mm.
In terms of appearance, it is very hard to tell it apart from the iPad Air, although the latter is a little more compact and light (461 grammes against 477 grammes).
The biggest display seen on an iPad
The iPad started out with a 9.7-inch display in 2010 and then moved up to a 10.2-inch one in 2020. The iPad (10th generation) moves further up the display size ladder, with the largest display ever seen on an iPad — 10.9 inches, bringing it to the same size as that on the iPad Air.
It is a Liquid Retina True Tone display and has a resolution of 2,360×1,640 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 264ppi, which is again the same as the iPad Air.
However, it does not come with the lamination or an anti-reflection coating, which is seen on the iPad Air.
The Home button goes home
After accompanying the iPad for more than a decade, the circular Home button under the display has finally headed off into the tablet sunset. The narrow bezels around the iPad (10th generation) have no space for this golden oldie.
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You unlock the display by the power button on top of the tablet, which also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner, just as in the iPad Air.
Lightning leaves the port
The iPad (10th generation) finally ditches the lightning port and joins the USB Type-C port party.
That means you can simply charge your iPad with a regular Android or other iPad charger and no longer need to carry a separate cable for it.
It also means you can attach accessories with USB Type-C connectivity.
Check the landscape side for the selfie camera
One of the most distinct features of the new iPad is the fact that it is the first Apple tablet to have its selfie camera on what Apple calls the ‘landscape edge.’ In simple terms, the selfie camera is on the centre on the right side of the iPad rather than near the centre of the top as in other iPads.
Apple says this will ensure that users are looking right at the camera during video calls or while recording video. The selfie camera remains a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor with a 122-degree field-of-vision with subject tracking.
Whether this ‘selfie on landscape edge’ becomes a trend remains to be seen, but it is definitely an interesting move and reflects how Apple is looking at the front-facing camera as a content creation tool, rather than a just selfie snapper and video call enabler.
An older but more powerful processor
The iPad generally gets slightly older processors as compared to its Air and Pro siblings, and unfortunately, that does not change with the iPad (10th generation).
Yes, the A14 Bionic processor on the new iPad is a generation ahead of the iPad 13 seen on the iPad (9th generation) and has a 16-core neural engine as compared to the 8-core one on the A13, but it is still almost two years old and is similar to the chip seen on the iPhone 12.
So that iPad Air-like appearance is unlikely to be accompanied by an iPad Air-like performance (the iPad Air has the M1 chip).
You will now need a USB Type-C-to-3.5mm dongle…
Alas, with the straight sides and that USB Type-C port comes the need for a whole new dongle.
The iPad (10th generation) is the first iPad to come without a 3.5mm audio jack. And that means that if you wish to use earphones with it, you will either have to opt for Bluetooth ones or invest in a USB Type-C-to-3.5mm adapter or dongle, as USB Type-C headphones are still relatively few and far between.
Considering how many content creators use the iPad for podcasts and video editing, we do feel that it should come with a 3.5mm audio jack, but then Cupertino seems to ‘Think Different’.
…and you will ALSO need a USB Type-C-to-Apple Pencil adapter
Apple can be credited with bringing a number of dongles into our lives. We have had lightning-to-card readers, lightning-to-USB adapters and a few others.
The iPad (10th generation) adds a new dongle to the list — the USB Type-C-to-Apple-Pencil adapter. That’s because the new iPad still supports the older Apple Pencil and not the second-generation one.
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The only way to charge the first Apple Pencil was to stick its back into the lightning port of the iPad. But as we pointed out earlier, the iPad (10th generation) has no lightning port, so if you wish to use an Apple Pencil with it, you will have to get a USB Type-C-to-Apple-Pencil adapter, which is priced at Rs 900, to be able to charge it.
Incidentally, the iPad Air supports the Apple Pencil (2nd generation), which charges magnetically off its side — a far more elegant solution than the dangle from a dongle one that accompanies the iPad (10th generation).
Considerably more expensive
All that change unfortunately comes with a very hefty price hike. The heftiest in the history of the iPad in India.
For a decade, Apple has kept the starting price of the iPad in the vicinity of Rs 30,000, and took it marginally past Rs 30,000 with the iPad (9th generation) last year. The latest iPad, however, not only goes well past Rs 30,000, but past Rs 40,000 as well.
The iPad (10th generation) starts at Rs 44,900 for the 64GB Wi-Fi variant, with the 256GB variant available for Rs 59,900.
The 64GB Wi-Fi + Cellular variant is priced at Rs 59,900, while the 256GB edition of the same comes at Rs 74,900.
That puts the new iPad in a whole new price segment, and up against some of its own siblings, not least the iPad mini and the iPad Air, both of which boast better processors.
Only time will tell whether consumers will consider the changes worth the extra bucks. It is interesting to note, however, that unlike in the past, Apple has not discontinued the previous generation of the iPad after releasing a new one.
The iPad (9th generation) is still around, at a starting price of Rs 30,000.