Apple’s Modest iPad Pro Upgrade, Comes Amid iPad Revamp

Modest upgrades to iPad Pro with some notable omissions, plus revamp of entry-level iPad and launch of new Apple TV box

There was no glitzy launch event by Apple on Tuesday evening when it upgraded certain iPad models and revealed a new Apple TV box.

Instead the iPhone maker opted for a simple press release and YouTube video when it refreshed its entry-level iPad with some design changes.

Apple also revealed an extremely limited upgrade to its iPad Pro models, with a number of widely expected upgrades not being delivered.

Apple iPad

The Good

The majority of changes on Tuesday were delivered in the revamped Apple iPad.

Apple announced that 10th generation of its entry-level iPad device comes with the same 10.9 Liquid Retina display (2360×1640-pixel resolution, nearly 4 million pixels, 500 nits of brightness, and True Tone technology) housed in a more modern looking body – similar to the current iPad Air.

Besides the more modern look, there were some other notable changes. Gone is the home button.

Instead, to make unlocking the device even more easier, Touch ID is embedded in the power button.

The front-camera has been moved from the top of the screen, to become landscape edge mounted – a much requested feature as it makes Zoom and video meetings (which often take place with the tablet in the horizontal position) much more natural.

Under the hood the new iPad is powered by the A14 Bionic chip. There are also updated cameras including an ultra wide 12MP camera (with centre stage) along the landscape edge at the front, and an updated 12MP back camera to capture photos and 4K video.

There is now a USB-C port, and the upgraded tablet offers Wi-Fi 6 and 5G (for cellular models only) connectivity.

Apple continues to offer only support for the first generation Apple pencil (which retails for £109), but this will need the purchase of a separate dongle ($9.99) which is not included with the tablet, in order to connect with the iPad and charge.

Apple is also offering a new keyboard called the Magic Keyboard Folio which retails for an eye-watering £279.

The basic iPad comes four colors; White, Blue, Red and Yellow.

Wi-Fi models of the new iPad are available with a hefty starting price of £499 in the UK ($449 in the US), and Wi-Fi + Cellular models start at £679 (with only 64GB of storage).

The Bad

Online reviews has listed a few disappointments with the new entry-level iPads:

  • Apple stuck with the non laminated screen with the basic iPad, meaning there is a visible air gap between the outer screen and the display, allowing for light interference and a noticable delay when using the Apple Pencil.
  • Apple was also criticised by some for the necessity of a dongle for the Apple Pen (1st gen), which is not even included free with the iPad itself.
  • There was criticism that Apple has chosen to stick with the first generation Apple Pencil, and not the second generation Apple pencil.
  • There was also criticism that Apple has again only offered a partly 64GB of storage, and there is a huge price jump to the next level (256GB).
  • The cost. The price for the 9th generation iPad started at £369. The new basic iPad costs a much more expensive £499 (Wi-Fi only).

Apple iPad Pro

The Good

There is a lot less to discuss with the iPad Pro, as there was relatively few upgrades in a device that has boasted the same design for the past four years.

Under the hood, Apple announced the new iPad Pro comes with the new M2 processor that is an 8- core CPU, delivering 15 percent faster CPU performance than the already fast enough M1. The M2 also features a 10-core GPU – enough for 35 percent faster graphics performance.

Other new features includes a Apple Pencil hover experience, allowing the Pencil to hover above the screen rather than pressing down on it.

The new iPad Pro also supports Wi-Fi 6E…and that seems to be all the upgrades with the new model.

The new iPad Pro is available to order beginning 18 October, with availability Wednesday 26 October.

The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at £899 for the Wi-Fi model and £1079 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model; the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at £1,249 for the Wi-Fi model, and £1,429 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

In the US the 11-inch iPad Pro has a price tag of $799 whereas the 12.9-inch model (128GB storage) goes for $1,099.

The Bad

Once again, online reviewers expressed frustration at the small number of actual upgrades with the new model, and the number of omissions:

  • LCD screen. Perhaps the biggest disappointment came when Apple again failed to deliver an OLED screen for the 11 inch iPad Pro, which still hosts a fairly decent LCD display. Only the 12.9 inch iPad Pro has an OLED screen. The LCD display still looks stunning with accurate colours and good brightness. But no matter how great the colours are, a black or dark scene will always expose the flaws of an LCD screen.
  • While the iPad Pro models does include FaceID, there is again no fingerprint scanner included like there is in the basic iPad 10th Gen.
  • No mag safe charging.
  • Faster processor still relies on iPad OS, so most users will not notice the performance bump.
  • Camera positioning. Apple infuriated many online by leaving the front camera in a vertical location, and not along the landscape edge as found on the basic iPad.

Apple TV box

The new smaller Apple TV box features the A15 Bionic chip and will cost $129 in the US, and £149 in the UK.