Apple just released its latest iPads. Three of them, in fact: the 10th generation iPad and two new iPad Pro, one with an 11-inch display and one with a 12.9-inch display.
Apple has, unusually, kept last year’s iPad (the ninth generation model) in the range as well. And, since there’s also an iPad air and an iPad mini, it means you now have six Apple tablets to choose from (not to mention having to decide between just wifi or wifi plus cellular connection). But does this create a real range of choice or just too much to make your head spin?
The range now includes 9th generation iPad (starting at £ 369), 10th generation iPad (starting at £ 499), iPad mini (starting at £ 569), iPad air (starting at £ 669), iPad pro 11in (from £ 899) and 12.9-inch iPad pro (from £ 1,249). Prices go up if you increase memory or add cellular connectivity.
The iPad pro is a capable upgrade, but it uses the same design as before. Hence, the new iPad is a more eye-catching departure, as it updates the look to match the other flat-edged iPads and adds 5G connectivity for the first time. It also removes the Touch ID button from the front, so the screen size goes up to 10.9 inches, without significantly increasing the size of the device compared to the previous model, which featured a 10.2-inch screen.
As we have tested
I’ve been testing the iPad and iPad pro since they were announced last week, putting them to the test in every way. How easy was the setup? Is the video playback smooth or unstable? How true are the colors on the screen? Does the tablet slow down when asked to run demanding programs? And how’s the battery? All the questions I set out to answer. Both tablets have accessories: a stylus and a keyboard case. Hence, these have been tested for efficiency and ease of use. The overall value of the iPad and iPad Pro was also taken into consideration, compared to other Apple tablets and those from competing manufacturers.
Apple iPad pro
The latest iPad Pro comes in two sizes: the sixth generation 12.9-inch tablet and the fourth-generation 11-inch tablet. Both have an identical design to last year’s models, down to the colors (silver and space gray).
While the exterior hasn’t changed, under the hood, there’s a lot different. First, the processor is the Apple M2 chip, the latest and most powerful chip from the company. He’s here to make sure that no matter what you ask the professional, he can deliver.
Last year’s iPad Pro was already a stunningly crafted device, with blazing speed and performance, but this time around, things got a little faster.
Read more: We have reviewed Apple’s iPad air 5 and it is packed with improvements
This means that the M2 is by far the most effective chip in any tablet and is also faster than many high-end laptops. Apple claims that graphics performance is 35% faster than the previous iPad Pro which means games have great graphics and even the most demanding apps like Adobe Photoshop and advanced video editing apps run fast and smoothly. , regardless of how much you ask them to do.
And that’s the point of the iPad Pro: having the space to do everything you need effortlessly, now and in the future.
More iPad pro elements that appeal to the crowd are being carried over to these new models. These include a special backlight for the 12.9-inch model, which adds brightness and makes everything much more lively. This isn’t available for the smaller 11-inch model, although the display is still great.
Apple has included the fastest wifi (called wifi 6E) on this year’s pro iPads. If you choose the cellular version, there are more 5G bands than other tablets, Apple says, which helps ensure a faster connection.
While some may find it disappointing that the new iPad Pro doesn’t have a newer and better camera, for example, it’s worth noting that Apple has never upgraded the hardware for the sake of it. The current dual rear cameras, with Lidar scanners, are best for augmented reality capabilities rather than taking pictures, and they work extremely well. An update to these wasn’t really necessary, it seems.
Read more: Apple iPad mini 2021 review
The magic keyboard accessory was also not updated on the pro (although it was on the 10th generation iPad). However, it has backlit keys, which are missing in the updated version. The Magic Keyboard is an expensive but truly excellent accessory, especially useful now that Apple has introduced new software for some iPads. Called a stage manager, this software allows you to have multiple windows active at the same time in a much more accessible way. Stage manager needs a fast processor to run, which this iPad pro handles easily.
There is a new feature available on the Apple Pencil (which is the second generation model which is compatible with the iPad pro). It’s called a ‘hover’ and it means that when the pencil gets close to the iPad display, it shows a preview of where it’s about to land. This increases the accuracy of how you write or draw. Some apps expand as the pencil approaches, which is particularly inviting and feels intimate. Add this to the mechanics of double-tapping the pencil, which allows you to easily switch between pencil and eraser in Notes, for example, and the already excellent pencil becomes an even better accessory.
Buy now £ 899.00, Apple.com
Apple iPad 10th generation
This is strikingly different from the ninth generation, with the flat edges preferred by the rest of the iPad range and the latest iPhones. Moving on from the curved back of previous iPads, Apple also removed the front-mounted Touch ID fingerprint sensor, instead mounting it in the power button, the same as the iPad air and iPad mini. It works brilliantly, unlocking quickly and reliably, and if you let your finger rest for a split second after unlocking, opening the previous home screen or app. Personally, I prefer it to the Face ID option found on the iPad pro.
The repositioning of the sensor has made it possible to update the front of the iPad so that it is now almost the entire screen, positioned with perfect symmetry within bezels wide enough to accommodate the front camera.
Read more: The best Apple iPad deals to buy this month
This, for the first time on an iPad, is on the long side, rather than the short side, which means video conferencing is better, as your eyes look much closer to the camera than to the side. Curiously, Apple didn’t introduce it on the iPad pro.
This is also the first time that the iPad has a display with curved corners instead of right-angled ones (corresponding to air, mini and pro). The display is very similar to the identical-sized iPad air, with the same resolution. But the iPad air has a wider color gamut, laminated finish and anti-reflective coating.
The new iPad uses USB-C for charging, which means that only the 9th generation iPad now has a Lightning socket.
There are also new colors. Previously, the regular iPad was only available in space gray and silver options. Space gray has moved on from this new tablet, replaced by pink, blue, and an exuberant yellow.
The pencil is Apple’s smart stylus. Pro, air, and mini all work with the more advanced second-generation Apple Pencil, which clips to a magnetic panel on the side of those tablets to pair and charge. But the iPad (ninth and new tenth generation) uses the first generation Apple Pencil, which charges from the lightning connector hidden under a lid at the top. Since the new iPad uses USB-C, you can no longer connect the pencil directly.
However, if you buy a first generation Apple Pencil now, it comes with an adapter for a USB-C cable, so plug the pencil into the adapter and the adapter into the supplied USB-C cable. If you already have an Apple Pencil, it will work with the new iPad if you buy the adapter, which costs £ 9.
Read more: Apple MacBook pro M2 13in review
Why hasn’t Apple changed the Apple Pencil to USB-C? I think there are two reasons. First, he didn’t want to exclude users who already had an Apple Pencil, so he had to create the adapter. Once that was done, changing the pencil design to USB-C was less pressing. Second, it could be that plugging the USB-C connector onto the pencil would have meant the cap no longer fit.
It’s not really that smart, but it has a big advantage: you can connect the pencil via cable and then throw them both in the bag, so it recharges on your travels, for example. You couldn’t do this with the previous solution of attaching the pencil directly to the base of the iPad, as if it were a lollipop.
The folio is a new keyboard and case, exclusively for the new iPad, and works differently from the previous magic keyboards for other iPads, which takes some getting used to. Instead of pulling the tablet forward (as I’ve done about 100 times now – it leaves you alone with the iPad separately in your hand), lean the display back and push out the kickstand attached to it. If you haven’t used a magic keyboard, this won’t be a problem for you. Likewise, those familiar with the Microsoft Surface will recognize the kickstand setup.
Performance and battery life
Apple has never underpowered its tablets, I’d say, and that continues the tradition with a processor that offers fast, responsive interaction. In fact, it’s so fast you might wonder if anyone needs the more expensive iPad air, which this iPad looks like. The iPad air is more powerful, also thanks to the M1 processor, which is extremely good. However, for most people, more often than not, the A14 bionic chip, first seen on the Apple iPhone 12, is easily fast and quite capable. Games run smoothly, even if they are rich in graphics, while productivity apps never leave you waiting, open instantly and run at speed.
Battery life remains constant at 10 hours. Since the use of the iPad differs from that of the iPhone, this is almost always more than enough.
Buy now £ 499.00, Apple.com
The verdict: Apple iPad pro and 10th generation iPad
The new iPads are great. The larger iPad Pro is particularly bright (literally, thanks to the mini LED backlight that lights everything up) and has a super-fast processor that handles everything you throw at it with ease. Not everyone needs all this power, although fast performance benefits everything the tablet does. If you really want the best tablet out there, it’s the iPad pro.
The regular iPad (£ 499) isn’t quite entry-level, as the 9th generation model is still available. But the new design, faster processor, better and bigger display are easily worth the price, and the new iPad is a real rival to the iPad air, which costs £ 170 more. The only real downside is the inelegant way the Apple Pencil connects to the iPad, via a cable. Aside from that, this is the best under £ 500 tablet from any manufacturer in my opinion.
Not convinced that the new models are for you? Read our best tablets edit for Apple, Android, Windows and more