Apple remembers it makes iPads, updates fondleslabs

Goodbye Lightning, hello USB-C and the usual two-year-old processor

Apple today announced an updated iPad Pro and a redesigned entry-level iPad.

Cupertino talked up the new iPad and iPad Pro models alongside a third-generation Apple TV 4K that supports HDR10+ and sports an Apple-designed A15 Bionic processor, a step up from the previous gen's A12.

The revised iPad Pro, likewise, is an update to last year's model, opting for pretty much identical hardware with an updated M2 system-on-chip and a new Apple Pencil "hover" feature that previews marks on the screen before the stylus makes contact. 

The latest pared-down, non "pro" iPad, on the other hand, has been "completely redesigned" to bring it in line with the iPad Mini 6 and iPad Air, which adopted their iPad Pro look-alike styles as far back as 2020.

The iPad Mini 6 premiered a year ago with features more akin to a tiny iPad Pro, with a USB-C port, support for the Apple Pencil 2, and a full-front screen with Touch ID moved to the power button, while the iPad Air offers similar Pro-like features with a larger screen. Compared to both, the new iPad is trying to play catch up.

Introducing last year's the new iPad

While its redesign speaks to some of Apple's modernization efforts, such as replacing the Lightning port with USB-C and adopting the squared-off edge form factor of newer iPhone and iPads, the new iPad is shipping with dated internals, such as an A14 Bionic processor, which appeared in September 2020 and powers, among other things, the iPhone 12 series. 

When the iPad Mini 6 was released last year and the fifth-generation iPad Air in 2022, the devices got state-of-the-art chips for their period in Apple's release cycle – the A15 and M1, respectively. Both the iPad Mini 6 and Air have support for the second-generation Apple Pencil, too, which is great news for children everywhere and no one else.

The new 10th-generation iPad only supports the first-generation Apple Pencil. As anyone with a penchant for awkward tech will recall, the first Apple Pencil had to be charged via the Lightning port on older iPads, leaving it protruding from the device.

The revised iPad, with its USB-C port, will leave long-time Apple owners with another familiar feeling: a dongle necessary to charge the first-gen Lightning-equipped Pencil with the new iPad.

Additional features mentioned by Apple for this latest fondleslab were standard on its other models last year: the new iPad is getting Wi-Fi 6 and has optional 5G, two features practically required to be considered current-generation technology. 

On the plus side, the new iPad is getting a larger screen by virtue of finally losing the Home button, bringing it to 10.9" and matching the dimensions of the iPad Air. It's also available in four colors: blue, pink, yellow, and silver, and supports the Magic Keyboard Folio. 

All three new Apple products are available for ordering today with iPads shipping on October 26. The new iPad starting at $499, represents a markup from its last generation, which started at $329 and appears to still be on sale. The ninth-generation launched last year with a then-two-year-old A13 chip. So at least the Cupertino idiot-tax operation's being consistent here, keeping its basic iPad a couple of steps behind its latest silicon.

It's unclear how long both iPad models will remain available, but while the ninth generation remains, it's hard to justify a purchase of the 10th-generation model, whose primary selling point seems to be a refreshed design at a budget price. 

For $50 less and the sacrifice of a bit of screen space you can get the iPad Mini 6, with newer Pencil and a better chip, while an extra $150 will get you the iPad Air with an Apple Silicon processor, a less awkward Pencil, and an identically-sized 10.9" screen. ®

Speaking of Apple... The next version of macOS, dubbed Ventura, as well as iPadOS 16 are due to be released on October 24. They've been in the hands of developers and testers for a few months. Apple has also reportedly restored Russian social network VKontakte, Mail.ru, and other VK apps weeks after removing them over UK sanctions.

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