WSJ reviews Apple’s new iPad: Not for iPad power users

Apple on Monday unveiled the new iPad with an all-screen design featuring a large 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display. The new iPad is powered by the A14 Bionic chip, which delivers even faster performance with incredible power efficiency for demanding tasks while still providing all-day battery life.

The powerful and versatile new iPad Air comes in a stunning array of colors, and features the Apple-designed M1 chip, a new Ultra Wide front camera, blazing-fast 5G, and more.
Apple’s M1-powered iPad Air

Updated cameras include an Ultra Wide 12MP front camera located along the landscape edge of iPad for an even better video calling experience, and an updated 12MP back camera to capture sharp, vivid photos and 4K video. A USB-C port supports a wide range of accessories, Wi-Fi 6 brings even faster connections, and cellular models feature superfast 5G so users can stay connected on the go. With iPadOS 16 and support for Apple Pencil (1st generation), iPad offers users more ways to be creative and productive.

Nicole Nguyen for The Wall Street Journal:

With the redesign and the $120 price increase—from $329 to $449 — this once-basic iPad is starting to look pro. But it doesn’t feel pro.

The new tablet, available Oct. 26, is a fine choice for people who mostly want a spacious screen for streaming, reading and web surfing, with some occasional email and social media. Power users looking for a complete laptop replacement should opt for the M1 Air or the newly upgraded M2 Pro models.

Compared with its predecessor—the ninth-generation iPad, which remains on sale for $329 — the 10th-generation iPad has a few upgrades. While both are roughly the same [physical] size, the new version has a bigger 10.9-inch screen. It also has a faster chip, speedier Wi-Fi 6 networking and a better rear camera. If you opt for a cellular version, you can now get 5G connectivity.

While connected to Wi-Fi and surfing the web, the iPad’s battery lasted beyond Apple’s 10-hour rating in my tests — about as well as the previous generation did. Video chatting with the newly placed front camera is a big improvement…

With the latest iPadOS software, iPads do have potential as Mac replacements. But Apple has clearly separated the lower-tier iPads from the higher-tier ones. Even with all its upgrades, this nice-looking new iPad is on the bottom.

If you are looking to do real work on an iPad, look for the M1 or M2 chip.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s iPad lineup is currently a bit confusing. Not anywhere near as bad a “Get the Performa 6116, not the 6115!” bad, but it’s not easily apparent to the first-time iPad customer what’s what.

The 10th gen. iPad puts a stake in the ground for next year when the 9th generation iPad goes away, along with its Home button anachronism, and the 10th gen. price drops down to take its place as “last year’s model.” With the 10th gen. now in production, production costs will come down over time. At the lower 9th gen. price point, this new iPad will make sense as the entry-level iPad.

Apple kept the 9th gen. around for a reason.

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  1. You can think of it as a $120 price increase from 9th gen entry iPad (with significant improvements). OR you can think of it as a $150 discount from the previous A14 iPad Air, which is very similar. AND if you go to the iPad section of online Apple Store, the 9th gen A13 entry iPad is still in current lineup, from $329.

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