It’s Not a Complete Reinvention of the Wheel, but the 10th-Gen iPad is Good Gear

It’s Not a Complete Reinvention of the Wheel, but the 10th-Gen iPad is Good Gear

The 10th-generation iPad got a pretty major upgrade in 2022, so much so that it’s almost unrecognisable as Apple’s base model tablet. It has received a pretty decent makeover, but there is something severely un-Apple about it that I just can’t drop.

We’ll get to that last bit in a second, for now, let’s run through what’s new.

Apple iPad 10th-generation

Apple’s base model iPad is now up to its 10th iteration. It’s not usually the first of Apple’s products to get a facelift, but this year it was.

The iPad is now all grown up

The new cheap iPad has several new upgrades over last year’s cheap iPad.

The 2022 iPad now comes in four bright colours and had its selfie cam relocated.

The 10th-generation iPad now features the same “all-screen” design as the iPad Pro, the iPad Air and the iPad Mini. That means, yep, no SE-like Home Button. With the absence of a Home Button comes the Touch ID top button, but Face ID authentication is still not part of the deal.

The screen size is now 10.9-inches, up from a 10.2-inch display. The size of the whole tablet itself is also bigger at 179.5 mm x 248 mm x 7 mm (9th-gen is 174.1 mm x 250 mm x 7.5 mm). It’s 10 grams lighter, however. The storage size options are the same as it was in its predecessor (64GB and 256GB, upped last year from the measly 32GB option that for some reason still existed).

There’s no audio jack anymore and instead of the speakers shooting sound out the bottom, there’s a speaker either side of the iPad (when horizontal) for a more surround experience.

The guts of the iPad now features the A14 Bionic chip – the same that was in 2021 iPad Air. That chip made its debut in the iPhone 12. The latest iPhone 14 range boasts the A16. Either way, it’s an upgrade over the previous iPad’s A13 chip, Apple reckons the A14 delivers a 20 per cent increase in performance over the previous iPad.

For those of you who opt for a cellular model, you’ll also now get 5G.

Camera is fine

The 10th-generation iPad is officially the first from Apple to feature the front-facing 12MP ultrawide selfie camera relocated to the landscape edge of the tablet, improving the calling experience when using services like FaceTime — which work better in landscape mode.

The rear camera is also 12MP. It promises 5x zoom, a few standard camera things, but nothing to really bother mentioning. After all, the rear camera is not too important in an iPad.

10th generation ipad
2022 iPad selfie cam (left) and rear camera (right). Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Video calls were fine, good, actually. The true tone display delivers lovely visuals from FaceTime and the LED display is easy on the eyes. We’ve said goodbye to grainy vids on the iPad for good. It also boasts Centre Stage, which automatically pans and zooms to keep you in view as you move around.

The battery life of the 2022 iPad also tops its predecessor, but not by a lot, getting a little over 10 hours of hard use before having to reach for the charger.

The charger, by the way, is a European Union-inspired USB-C. Which is great….in practice.

The USB-C converter-sized elephant in the room

I say in practice because there’s one thing about the 10th-generation iPad that just doesn’t sit right. It charges via USB-C but the only compatible Apple Pencil is the first-generation one, which charges via Lightning port. In case you’re unfamiliar (or need a refresher), the first-generation Apple Pencil has a cap on the end that reveals a…I guess the term is male Lightning plug? Ledge? Thing the end of your Lightning cable has. The way you charge the pencil is to shove it into the Lightning charger port on the iPad.

But, as I’ve said twice now, the 10th-generation iPad charges via USB-C. Picking up what I’m putting down?

So, no, it doesn’t fit. But Apple’s solution? Something so incredibly unApple.

If you want to use a pencil with your new iPad, you can use the (included) USB-C to Apple Pencil Adapter.

10th generation ipad
Behold: the Apple Pencil and included Lightning to USB-C converter. Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

What the hell, Apple? Frankensteining your own product is bizarre.

10th generation ipad 2022
This truly seems like too much effort. Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

As someone who uses the 2022 iPad Air every second day or so solely for drawing, I couldn’t possibly imagine not having a pencil. But I appreciate there are many tablet users who won’t need an Apple Pencil and therefore this isn’t even remotely a big deal.

But it’s all I could find that’s negative with the 10th-generation iPad.

Final thoughts on the 10th-generation iPad

I wouldn’t use the 10th-generation iPad for working on, although with Stage Manager (one of the perks introduced with iPadOS 16), and the addition of the Magic Keyboard, I suppose you could try. The Magic Keyboard is super easy to attach and remove, and allows you to use the iPad like a super mini laptop, but it’s not what this thing is meant for (that’s the iPad Pro).

It’s fine for running games that aren’t overly power-heavy (Candy Crush) or drawing on with your pencil, and it’s more than sufficient, fantastic, in fact, for scrolling Pinterest, getting lost in a YouTube rabbit hole, streaming for hours or using it to control your decked out Apple smart home.

It’s Apple’s best entry-level iPad release yet, but unfortunately, it’s got a price tag to match.

Where to buy the 2022 iPad

The 10th-generation iPad will be available in Australia from Wednesday, October 26. Pricing via the Apple website is:

10th-generation iPad:

  • 64GB (Wi-Fi) $749
  • 64GB (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $999
  • 256GB (Wi-Fi) $999
  • 256GB (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $1,249
  • First-generation Apple Pencil $159

It comes in blue, pink, silver and yellow.

The ninth-generation iPad is still available, starting at $549 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model.

This article has been updated since it was first published.

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