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Apple's New iPad Doesn't Change Much, But the Changes are Welcome!

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

Earlier today Apple held its annual September event, this year named “California Streaming.” And during this event, they took the wraps off of the latest generation iPad. This line of iPads has become the most popular since 2017 when they revived the vanilla iPad line. And today, they announced some changes to the iPad that will make it better than ever before.

At the heart of this ninth generation iPad is the A13 Bionic Chip. This is the same SoC that originally debuted with the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max in September 2019, and can currently be found in the iPhone SE second generation and iPhone 11. The A13 Bionic Chip is built on a 7nm process, and can sport a max clock speed of 2.65GHz. It features two high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, and a four-core GPU. Apple claims that this new iPad equipped with the A13 Bionic Chip is 20% faster than the eight generation iPad, up to three times faster than the “best selling Chromebook,” and up to 6x faster than the “best selling Android phone.” The exact devices that they are referring to are unknown.

The face of the iPad is where most of the new changes can be found, but aren’t exactly immediately noticeable. The screen size remains unchanged at 10.2 inches diagonally. But this display now supports TrueTone, which will shift the white balance of the screen to slightly warmer or cooler colors based on your surroundings. The front-facing FaceTime Camera also sees an upgrade. The camera is now 12MP, and has a field of view of 122°, giving you an ultra wide angle you all of your FaceTime and Zoom calls. This wider field of view also makes room for CenterStage to make its way down from the 2021 iPad Pros. This allows the camera to crop in to show a normal field of view, but will follow you around the frame, and will dynamically adjust to include other people you may want in the frame.

The rest of the iPad remains largely unchanged. It retains the same design and footprint, meaning that all of the cases that fit the eighth generation iPad will fit the ninth generation right out of the box. This also means that it still supports the first generation Apple Pencil, making this new iPad the only one in the lineup that uses this Apple Pencil. One thing that saddens me greatly is Apple chose to omit the Gold color on this iPad, leaving you with Silver and Space Grey as your only options. Wireless connectivity remains unchanged across the board, retaining LTE, WiFi 5, and Bluetooth 4.2.

The ninth generation iPad will ship with iPadOS 15 to boot, which will be available for other iPads beginning September 20th, and is currently available to preorder, with deliveries and in store pickups beginning next Friday, September 24th. It will be available in 64GB and 256 GB configurations, up from 32GB and 128GB of the previous generation, and will start at the same $329 we've seen since 2017. The 128GB model will start at $479, and all configs will ship with a Lightning to USB-C cable and a 20W power brick.

I have no doubt that this refreshed iPad will continue to bear the crown for most popular model. With its faster processor and twice the storage, it makes for a better, more enjoyable experience.

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