Alan Martin

Was deputy editor on Alphr, now a tech and politics freelancer.

Sep 14, 2021
Published on: Expert Reviews
1 min read

Apple kicked off its September event with an update to its entry-level iPad, with a feature set clearly influenced by the global pandemic, social distancing and the continued necessity of remote working.

While the iPad maintains the same chassis and, therefore compatibility, with current cases and accessories like the thin and light keyboard, the insides have been reworked, led by the A13 Bionic chipset.

That’s not the latest SoC. Instead, it's the chip that debuted in the iPhone 11 and powers the current budget iPhone SE. It’s still super powerful for a tablet. Indeed, Melody Kuna, a senior designer at Apple charged with introducing the new tablet, claimed that it was 20% faster in CPU, GPU and Neural Engine performance compared with the previous generation, making it — according to Apple — three times faster than a Chromebook and six times faster than the “leading Android tablets”.

Otherwise, the new iPad is designed to be more useful for extended work use in these socially distanced times, not only with Apple’s TrueTone display for a more comfortable screen tone for your surroundings but with improved cameras for those Zoom calls that we’ve come to rely on.

As such, the new 12MP front-facing camera offers a “huge leap in image quality” according to Kuna and it inherits the Centre Stage feature from iPad Pro, where the camera automatically follows the subject in both portrait and landscape mode.

Otherwise, it’s more of the same. It still supports the first-generation Apple Pencil for note-taking and doodling, and it maintains the same “all-day battery life”. It’s available to order today and will be arriving Friday September 24, with prices starting at £319 for the 64GB Wi-Fi version, or £439 if you want cellular data.