New iPads announced, iPadOS 16.1 due on Monday

As rumored, Apple announced new iPad models on Tuesday. There was no event, just a website update, and new videos, of course. Looking at what got announced, it’s easy to see why: Apart from the new default iPad, it’s an underwhelming incremental upgrade, at best.

These are the models Apple announced, shipping on October 26th, but ready to pre-order now.

Image from Apple
Image from Apple

The new default iPad, still called just iPad, is in its tenth generation. It comes in four colors, which look excellent, and has adapted the modern form factor initially introduced in the iPad Pro line, but now present in iPad Air 5 and iPad mini 6 as well. The screen has grown to 10.9”, and is now billed Liquid Retina, with True Tone, obviously. The A14 Bionic powers it all, which is a step up from the previous generation, but a generation below the iPad mini 6. It’s still plenty for most, which is what the entry-level iPad should be. Well, it’s not quite entry-level, this model comes with a price-hike, to $449 (or $599 with cellular), so Apple is keeping the ninth generation around for now, the last iPad with a Lightning port.

Because yeah, this new default iPad now comes with USB-C, bringing the form factor full circle. Almost. Three things really stand out with this new default iPad.

  1. The front-facing camera is now on the landscape side. Great call, and an inkling of what we’ll see in other iPad models in the future. This is 12 megapixels, just like the back camera.
  2. Despite sharing the form-factor with iPad Pros, Air, and mini – which all use the second generation Apple Pencil – the new default iPad uses the first generation Pencil. This means that you’ll need an adapter to charge it, something you can buy for $9, or will get included with new first generation Pencils, since there’s no Lightning port on the iPad anymore. Clearly the landscape camera is the culprit here, which is where you’d connect and charge the second generation Pencil. This is all nuts, though, because you’ve got an iPad that looks like other devices, but acts differently.
  3. The new Magic Keyboard Folio, a kickstand keyboard accessory with function keys (but no backlighting), is appealing to many, priced at $249. However, Apple is only releasing it for this new iPad model, at this time.
Image from Apple
Image from Apple

It’s all over the place, this, isn’t it? At least the colors are nice, and honestly, this sounds like a pretty great entry-level model. I assume I’ll recommend it to most in the future.

New iPad Pros

If the new default iPad is lots of new things, the new iPad Pro models is all but. We’ve got the same form-factor, the same screens where only the 12.9” model gets the XDR display model, the same, well, most of the things.

Image from Apple
Image from Apple

Both iPad Pro models get the M2 chip, which we know is a solid, albeit not earth-shattering, improvement to the M1 model. Wireless connectivity in terms of Wi-Fi and 5G is improved, and the cameras can now shoot ProRes video, shown in Apple’s promo piece with a ridiculously large grip.

There’s an improvement to Apple Pencil too, although it won’t make you pick up a new one. The new “hover” feature detects the Pencil just above the screen, letting apps indicate where you’ll press down, and even let you alter whatever it is you want to be doing before pressing down. It’s an interesting feature that I’m looking forward to play with.

iPadOS 16.1

The iPadOS 16 release saga is coming to an end. The new version rolls out on Monday, alongside macOS Ventura, with Stage Manager but without external monitor support. If you’re on the beta, you probably got the Release Candidate release installed already, or waiting for you to approve, at the very least.

Oh, and there are new Apple TVs too, with more memory and processing power, if you’re into that sort of thing.