The new iPad (2022) brings a modern design, USB-C and improved cameras, but also comes with a hefty price increase for an entry-level model. If you’re not too bothered by bells and whistles, the iPad (2021) still has plenty to offer and at a price that’s more affordable for casual users.
Price at review
10.9-inch iPad (2022): from £499
iPad (2021, 9th generation): £319 (base model)
Best Prices Today: 10.9-inch iPad (2022)
iPad (10th generation) vs iPad (9th generation)
Apple has updated its entry-level iPad for 2022, but has taken the unusual step of keeping the older model in its current catalog. There’s a good reason for that, because this time around, the two iPads are different in many ways. So, should you go for the cheaper 9th gen device or embrace the modern aesthetic that comes with the 10th gen revamp? We compare the two so that you can make the right choice.
New iPad vs. Old iPad: Design and Build Quality
For the 10th generation of its most affordable iPad, Apple has given the device a complete makeover. Gone are the Home button and prominent top-and-tail bezels of its predecessor, replaced instead by essentially the design of the iPad mini and iPad Air.
The display has been increased from 10.2-inch to 10.9-inch, made possible by moving the Touch ID sensor to the power button on the top edge and banning the Home button altogether.
In keeping with the rest of the current iPad crop, the Lightning port in the new model has been upgraded to USB-C, allowing various peripherals to be connected to the device, such as external storage or even a monitor. This means that the 9th-generation iPad is now the only iPad in the lineup to offer both a Home button and Lightning port. So, if you are attached to any of those technologies, your choice is now very clear indeed.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Perhaps most surprising of all, Apple has managed to make all these adjustments and barely change the size of the frame. Here’s how the two compare:
iPad (9th generation): 9.8 inches x 6.8 inches x 0.29 inches; 1.07 pounds (250.6mm x 174.1mm x 7.5mm; 487g.)
iPad (10th generation): 9.79 inches x 7.07 inches x 0.28 inches; 1.05lb (248.6mm x 179.5mm x 7mm; 477g.)
While both have a smart connector, they are only compatible with specific Apple keyboard cases. For the 9th generation iPad, there’s the Smart Keyboard, but the newer model has Apple’s latest offering called Magic Keyboard Folio. This is a two piece case, one of which attaches magnetically to the back of the device and has a kickstand, with the keyboard and trackpad section snapping in place via the smart connector. It looks very nice, but comes with a crazy $249 / £279 price tag, so you’d probably be better off with a basic Bluetooth keyboard and separate case. After all, these are the more affordable iPads.
You can use the Apple Pencil (1st generation) on both iPads, but due to the switch from Lightning to USB-C, it’s not possible to charge the stylus directly through the port on the newer iPad. So if you already own a first-generation Apple Pencil, you’ll need to buy a $9/£9 adapter to make it compatible. Otherwise, all the new Apple Pencil (1st generation) products you buy now have the adapter already in the box.
Apple is also bringing color to this iPad tier for the first time, with the new model featuring silver, pink, blue, and yellow colors, rather than the more sedate black or silver hues of the 9th-generation device.
Basically, if you’ve been using a standard iPad for the past few years, you’ll be immediately familiar with the 9th-generation model, while the new iteration will feel much closer to the iPad Air or iPad mini.
New iPad vs. Old iPad: Features and Specifications
They may look different, but both devices still come from the same family and as such share many features. Here’s a more detailed look at how they compare in terms of specs.
As mentioned above, the updated model comes with a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display than the 10.2-inch Retina panel on the 9th-generation model. The addition of Liquid to the name means you also get rounded corners on the 10th gen display, which is nice.
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Other than the switch in resolution from 2,160 x 1,620 to 2,360 x 1,640 offered by the larger panel, all other specs are the same for both devices. Both have True Tone, SDR brightness (500 nits), sRGB and come with a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating. Of course, you use swipes to control everything on the 10th-gen iPad, while that familiar Home button always takes you back to the home page on the older device. Unfortunately, the newer iPad still has the laminated screen which gives this category a cheaper feel to use as it bends slightly during use.
Since there is no real difference in screen quality, the main choice is between the two design approaches – you have to choose between your perfect size and navigation controls.
New iPad vs. Old iPad: Processor and Storage
The A13 Bionic chip in the 9th-gen iPad is the one that originally came in the iPhone 11 lineup of devices (including the Pros), so it has plenty of performance on tap, albeit as of 2019. As you’d expect, it’s newer. model gets a newer selection of silicon, and that takes the form of the A14 Bionic that previously traded in the iPhone 12 lineup (this time from 2020). So the newer iPad is a bit faster, but both are more than capable of handling most everyday iPad tasks. Newer, more powerful chips are reserved for the more expensive iPad categories.
The storage options are the same no matter which iPad you choose, with either 64GB or 256GB configurations. The former feels stingy in 2022, but Apple is sticking with it, presumably so you’ll be upgrading to the 256GB versions. While we recommend this, the price hike that comes with it feels undesirable in these difficult times, especially with Apple racking up such huge profits. There’s good reason to prefer a 9th-generation 256GB iPad over a 10th-generation 64GB model.
One of the main differences between these iPads is cameras, both in quality and placement. It’s true that the new and older iPads have 12Mp front cameras, but while the 9th generation has one on the shorter, top bezel, which creates a portrait orientation, the new 10th generation sees Apple finally move it to the longer edge, making the landscape. You will no longer be making FaceTime calls where the camera angle feels awkward to the side!
In almost all other areas the cameras are identical. Both support Apple’s Center Stage feature that uses software to keep you in the center of the screen even when you move during a FaceTime call. They have an f/2.4 aperture, 2x zoom, video stabilization and can record up to 1080p at 60 fps. The only difference is that the newer version has Smart HDR 3 for photos, rather than the HDR 3 on the older model, presumably because of the A14 Bionic processor.
The rear camera on the 10th generation iPad is clearly superior. It has a taller sensor, faster aperture and supports 4K/60fps video, while the older one tops out at 1080p/30fps. If video recording is important to you, then the new model is definitely the choice.
To see all the main features and technical specs for both devices, here’s a breakdown of how they compare:
12MP wide-angle camera, f/1.8 aperture, 5x digital zoom, Smart HDR 3 for photos, 4K video at 60 fps, extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps, 3x video zoom, Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps, Time-lapse video with stabilization
8MP wide-angle camera, f/2.4, 5x digital zoom, HDR for photos, video recording up to 1080p at 30fps, Slo-mo 720p at 120fps, Time Lapse with stabilization
12 MP Landscape Ultra Wide, f/2.4, 2x zoom, Center Stage, Retina Flash, Smart HDR 3 for photos, Extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps, Cinematic video stabilization, 1080p video at 60 fps
12 MP Ultra Wide, F/2.4, 2x zoom out, Center Stage, Retina flash, HDR for photos, Cinematic video stabilization, 1080p video up to 60 fps, Extended dynamic range up to 30 fps,
Lightning 3.5mm headphone jack
Support for Apple Pencil
248.6mm x 179.5mm x 7mm
250.6mm x 174.1mm x 7.5mm
Silver, Pink, Blue, Yellow
Silver, Space Grey
$449 / £499 (64GB), $599 / £679 (256GB)
$329 / £369 (64GB), $479 / £549 (256GB)
New iPad vs. Old iPad: Price
The new design has brought a significant price increase, so these two iPads actually seem like different types of devices. This has been mitigated somewhat (though not to the consumer’s advantage) with Apple recently bumping up prices for the 9th generation as well. (Read more about this here: Is Apple reaping the rest of the world with high prices?) Here’s how they compare:
iPad (9th generation):
64GB: $329 / £369 (was $329 / £319)
256GB: $479 / £549 (was $479 / £459)
64GB (mobile): $459 / £519 (was $459 / £439)
256GB (mobile): $609 / £699 (was $609 / £579)
iPad (10th generation):
64GB: $449 / £499
256GB: $599 / £679
64GB (Mobile): $599 / £679
256GB (mobile): $749 / £859
If you want to save money on new 9th or 10th generation iPad prices, read our best iPad deals upstairs.
Of course, if you want the latest design and better specs, the 10th Gen iPad has that covered. The new rear camera is better for video and the front camera is finally positioned in the spot that makes it ideal for FaceTime. While the A14 Bionic chip is faster than its predecessor, there isn’t much in it, so you get great performance from both devices.
In the end, it may just come down to the price. The 9th gen probably still offers the best value (despite the price increase outside the US) We’d be tempted to recommend the 256GB 9th gen iPad (best prices below) over the 64GB 10th gen model unless you really like the new design , in which case you might love the iPad Air even more. (Read how the 10th generation iPad compares to the iPad Air).
Best Prices for 9th Gen iPad, 256GB Wi-Fi, MSRP $479 / £549 (WAS £459)