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HomeGadgetsApple iPad (10th gen) vs iPad (9th gen): Which to buy?

Apple iPad (10th gen) vs iPad (9th gen): Which to buy?



(Pocket-lint) – Apple announced the iPad (10th generation) in the middle of October, alongside the new models of the iPad Pro with the M2 chip

The iPad (10th generation) sees an upgrade in design, an upgrade in processor and it makes a logical change to the front camera position too. With that comes a cost though, making it quite a bit more expensive than its predecessor, the iPad (9th generation). 

With the iPad (9th generation) remaining in the portfolio as the entry-level model and the iPad (10th generation) sliding in between the 9th gen model and the iPad Air (2022), which iPad should you buy? 

We’ve compared the iPad (10th generation) and iPad Air (2022) in a separate feature, but here we are focused on how the iPad (10th generation) compares to the cheaper, but older, iPad (9th generation).

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Price

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Let’s first talk about price. The iPad (10th generation) starts at $449 in the US and £499 in the UK. That’s for the 64GB, Wi-Fi only model. 

The iPad (9th generation) meanwhile, starts at $329 in the US and £369 in the UK. Again, that’s for the 64GB, Wi-Fi only model. It’s therefore quite a bit cheaper than the iPad (10th generation).

Design

  • iPad (10th gen): 248.6 x 179.5 x 7mm, 477g
  • iPad (9th gen): 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm, 487g

The Apple iPad (10th gen) steals its design from the iPad Air, so it looks quite different to the iPad (9th generation). The iPad (10th gen) has flat edges and uniformed bezels around the display. It also moves the Touch ID home button from below the display to the power button positioned on the top edge. 

On the rear of the iPad (10th generation), there is a single camera lens, though it is quite a bit larger than the iPad (9th generation). The iPad (9th generation) features a very small camera lens in the top left corner of its rear and its edges are rounded. It has also larger bezels around the screen and the Touch ID home button sits at the bottom of the display, as we mentioned. Both models have a Smart Connector positioned on the left edge though.

In terms of colour options, the iPad (9th generation) comes in Space Grey and Silver only, while the iPad (10th generation) is brighter with four options comprising Yellow, Blue, Pink and Silver.

The iPad (10th generation) is also slimmer, shorter and lighter than the iPad (9th generation), though it is slightly wider.

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Display

  • iPad (10th gen): 10.9-inch Liquid Retina, 2360 x 1640 pixels, 264ppi, True Tone
  • iPad (9th gen): 10.2-inch Retina, 2160 x 1620 pixels, 264ppi, True Tone

The Apple iPad (10th generation) has a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display that offers a 2360 x 1640 resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 264ppi. It’s a lovely display in use and while it isn’t as good as the iPad Air (2022), it offers a great viewing experience overall with punchy colours and good angles.

The iPad (9th generation) has a smaller 10.2-inch Retina display, with a pixel resolution of 2160 x 1620 resolution. This too results in a pixel density of 264ppi and again, there’s a good viewing experience. As you might notice though, the 10th generation model has a 0.7-inch larger display than the 9th generation model within a very similar footprint so you get more screen without having a larger body.

Both the iPad (10th generation) and the iPad (9th generation) feature Apple’s True Tone technology, a 500nits max brightness and a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating. Neither have a fully-laminated display though or an anti-reflective coating, which the iPad Air offers and both make a difference.

Hardware and specs

  • iPad (10th gen): A14 Bionic, 64/256GB storage, up to 10 hours, USB-C
  • iPad (9th gen): A13 Bionic, 64/256GB storage, up to 10 hours, Lightning

The Apple iPad (10th generation) runs on the A14 Bionic chip, while the iPad (9th generation) runs on the A13 Bionic chip so you get a performance upgrade with the newer model. It may not be as noticeable as the M1 chip on the iPad Air – or the M2 chip on the latest iPad Pros, but the iPad (10th generation) will be a little speedier than its predecessor.

Both the iPad (10th generation) and the iPad (9th generation) are offered in 64GB and 256GB storage options though and they both promise up to 10 hours of battery life for web browsing or watching video.

The iPad (10th generation) switches to USB-C for charging though, while the iPad (9th generation) has Lightning. Both are compatible with the first generation of Apple Pencil, though you will need an adapter to charge the Apple Pencil with the iPad (10th generation) as the Pencil uses Lightning to charge. 

Along with the upgrade in processor and switch to USB-C, the iPad (10th generation) also upgrades the rear camera from an 8-megapixel snapper found on the 9th gen model to a 12-megapixel sensor, capable of 4K video recording. 

There are also differences in the front camera. Both the 10th gen model and the 9th gen model have a 12-megapixel sensor with f/2.4 aperture and the company’s Centre Stage feature, though the 10th gen model moves the front camera to a landscape position on the right edge, while the 9th gen model has it at the top of the display like the other models in the range.

Elsewhere, the 10th gen iPad offers Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), while the iPad (9th gen) has Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi‑Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac). The iPad (10th gen) is also 5G compatible for the Wi-Fi & Cellular model, while the iPad (9th gen) is 4G.

Software 

  • iPad (10th gen): iPadOS 16
  • iPad (9th gen): iPadOS 16

The Apple iPad (10th generation) is compatible with iPadOS 16, like the iPad (9th generation) so the two models will offer a very similar user experience overall. 

Neither have Stage Manager, though there are plenty of features that come with iPadOS 16 that make both these tablets great. You can read all about iPadOS 16 in our separate feature to find out all the new features available, or head to our tips and tricks feature to discover everything iPad can do. 

In a nutshell though, while there are differences in performance and design between these two models, the general user experience will be very similar whichever model you choose.

Conclusion

The Apple iPad (10th generation) makes some great upgrades compared to the iPad (9th generation) – the design being the key improvement. Moving to the iPad Air’s design sees the 10th generation model offer a larger display within a very similar footprint to the 9th gen model, in a refresh that has been long overdue.

There’s also an upgrade in processor, the switch to USB-C, a more logically-positioned front camera and a wider colour choice. You pay for those upgrades though and while we thought the iPad (10th generation) was excellent during our review period, with the same user interface, it may be that the 9th gen model is more appealing thanks to its lower price. 

There’s an argument to consider the iPad Air (2022) over the iPad (10th gen) if you have some extra budget and need more power, and there’s also a solid argument to opt for the 9th gen model if you want to save money. That said, the iPad (10th gen) is an excellent middle option that will meet many needs in a lovely design that matches its more expensive siblings and solid upgrades over the 9th gen model.

Writing by Britta O’Boyle.



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