The iPad 9 (2021) is officially here. Apple's latest entry-level iPad offers a bunch of improvements making it, you guessed it, the best entry-level iPad the company has ever made.
The 10.2-inch tablet packs in a faster A13 Bionic chipset, a new front-facing camera, and a True Tone display for the very first time. Sounds good, right? But how does the iPad 9 compare to its predecessor, how does it fit into Apple's current tablet line-up, and how might it fare against the best tablets on the market? Here's everything else you need to know about Apple's new entry-level tablet...
iPad 9 (2021): release date
Keen shoppers can pre-order the iPad 9 from today, and it'll officially hit shelves next week on 24th September — the same release date as the iPhone 13.
iPad 9 (2021): price
The standard iPad is Apple's entry-level tablet, and the iPad 9 (2021) carries an 'affordable' price tag, by Apple standards at least:
Wi-Fi models of the iPad 9 are available with a starting price of £319, $329 and AU$499 for the 64GB model, with Wi-Fi + Cellular models starting at £439, $459 and AU$699.
The iPad 9 is available in just two finishes - silver and space gray - and you do, for the first time, have the option of a 256GB model which costs from £459, $479 and AU$729 with Wi-Fi, or £579, $609 and AU$929 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model.
iPad 9 (2021): design
The iPad 9 looks practically identical to its predecessor with a solid-looking bezel, aluminium build, and a physical Touch ID home button. It's so similar in fact, that it even has the exact same weight and dimensions. There aren't any new colour options either, with Space Grey and silver still being the only two choices available. A bit dull? Perhaps, but at least your old accessories will work if you're doing a straight upgrade.
Surprisingly (and presumably for some people, rather annoyingly), Apple has still chosen to use its proprietary Lightning Port instead of shifting to USB-C which now features on the iPad Air, iPad Pro and new iPad Mini 6. On the plus side, stereo speakers are included as part of the design once again, which is good news, as the iPad's sound quality is traditionally a strong point.
iPad 9 (2021): screen
The iPad 9's screen is the usual 10.2-inch size we've come to expect, as is the 2160 x 1620 pixels with a pixel density of 264ppi and brightness of 500 nits. In other words, this is the same screen as the one found on its predecessor. That's no bad thing mind, as it's a solid screen, and keeping it probably keeps the price lower for consumers too.
Like the 8th-generation iPad it uses a Retina display, but the new addition here is True Tone — a feature found on higher-end iPads that uses an ambient light sensor to detect your environment and adjust the tone of the display accordingly, for a more comfortable eye-friendly viewing experience.
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iPad Pro (2021): specs
The 8th-gen iPad had an A12 processor but the new iPad 9 gets an upgrade to the A13 Bionic chip (the same one found in the 2019 iPhone SE) which should provide a decent speed hike. Apple claims this makes the iPad 9th generation 20% faster than the older model when it comes to both GPU and CPU performance. Ultimately, this means that things like Live Text performance should run faster, which is particularly good if you're planning on taking advantage of the new iPadOS feature that analyses text in photos.
As mentioned earlier, Apple's most affordable iPad now comes with 64GB of storage, up from the 32GB available on the iPad (8th Gen). There's also a 256GB option for those that want to store all their media on the tablet.
While most of us probably don't care about the cameras on a tablet, a year of Zoom calls for work and school have probably upped their importance. The new iPad 9 gets an upgrade on the imaging front, with a new 12MP Ultra Wide front camera and neural engine for better quality photos across the board.
In terms of battery, all iPad 9 models are equipped with a 32.4-watt-hour rechargeable battery which Apple claims can deliver up to ten hours of surfing the internet on Wi-Fi or watching video. This appears to be identical in spec to the previous iPad.
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