Apple’s entry-level iPad has been given a big design refresh this year, bringing it in line with the rest of the company’s tablets.
Unfortunately, it also exists in a kind of no man’s land between the still-available iPad 9th generation from last year and the iPad Air.
And that’s down to the price increase 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 chunky bezels removed, the Home button banished and a USB-C port taking the place of the Lightning connector.
However, unlike any other iPad, this new model moves the front-facing camera ot the landscape edge. Which is a blessing if you’re routinely using it for video calls on Zoom or FaceTime.
It’s a 12-megapixel, full 1080p camera that also comes with Apple’s Centre Stage feature that follows you around the room to keep you in frame.
Even though the iPad is slightly thicker and larger than the iPad Air, the display is exactly the same size at 10.9-inches and you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. There are a few different colours to choose from, though. The iPad comes in blue, pink, yellow and silver and they’re a bit more vibrant than the space grey, blue, pink, purple and starlight of the iPad Air.
Beefing up the screen is one of the most appealing aspects of this iPad. It’s now got a Liquid Retina display with a 2,360×1,640 pixel resolution (264ppi) and 500 nits of brightness.
The extra space gives more room for content and multitasking if you’re wanting to use the 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 Stage Manager multitasking feature Apple introduced with iPadOS 16.
But if, like me, you only need an iPad for a few basic tasks, you’re going to be fine with the A14 Bionic. My general use case involves writing, emails, web browsing, perhaps a bit of light photo editing and some content consumption.
All of this meant I didn’t empty the iPad’s 10-hour battery tank any sooner than Apple promised.
The iPad is an accomplished gadget all by itself but, of course, it gets better when you start adding accessories to the list.
But that’s also where the complications start to arise. Apple has released a new kind of keyboard cover to accompany this iPad called the Magic Keyboard Folio.
It’s a two-parter comprising of a backplate with a kickstand (very Microsoft Surface-esque) and a detachable keyboard with a full row of function keys – a first for an iPad keyboard accessory. There’s a lot you can do with this accessory. The keyboard folds either in front or around the back and it’s comfortable to type on with a large trackpad at the bottom.
There are a few caveats to mention, not least the fact that it’ll cost you an extra £279. But, in addition, it doesn’t include a backlight and there’s no additional USB-C slot like there is on the Magic Keyboard attachment for the Pro or the Air.
It’s not as stable as that accessory when you want to balance the iPad on your lap but it is more versatile. Unfortunately, although it isn’t cheap, it really should be bought alongside the iPad to get the best out of the tablet.
The most confusing thing, however, is that this iPad isn’t compatible with Apple’s second generation Pencil. It will only work with the first generation version of the accessory so you’ll need to adopt a USB-to-Lightning dongle (sold separately for £9) to pair and charge it.
Accessories aside, perhaps the biggest stumbling block to the new iPad is – as mentioned at the start – the pricing.
Apple has increased the base price with this iPad up to £499 and for that, you’ll only get 64GB of storage. If you want to jump to 256GB, you’ll be paying £679.
The problem here is that you can still buy the 9th generation iPad for £369 or the iPad Air for £669. If you only want the basics, the 9th gen will suffice and if you’re happy to pay £499 (or £679), you’d do better to add the extra £170 for the added power and future-proofing of the Air.
So where does that leave this 10th gen iPad? Somewhere in the middle, in my opinion. It’s a fantastic device – any tablet from Apple is – but I’m not really sure who benefits from buying it. All it seems to do is make the iPad line-up a bit more confusing.
The 10th generation iPad is a fantastic update in all the right ways, it’s just not the one you should buy right at the moment.
Apple iPad (2022): The details
Name: Apple iPad (10th generation)
- Premium design
- Strong performance
- Magic keyboard folio accessory
- Ambitious pricing
- No Apple Pencil 2 support
- 64GB base storage is too low
Where can I buy one? You can buy the iPad 10th generation direct from the Apple Store here.