Apple has announced a new entry-level iPad with thinner bezels and a faster A13 Bionic processor to replace the A12 chip in the previous model – but you’ll still need to fork out the extra cash for the higher-end iPad Air or iPad Pro if you want a sleeker model without the chin and Home button.

Apple says the A13 chip makes it 20% faster than the previous model, and up to three times faster than the fastest Chromebook …

The rear camera has improved low-light and auto-focus performance. The front camera is now a 12MP ultrawide one, bringing Centre Stage to the budget model. This is one of the key features of the more expensive models.

The Center Stage experience on iPad Pro is now available on iPad, enabled by the new 12MP Ultra Wide front camera and Neural Engine, so users can enjoy even more engaging video calls. As users move around, Center Stage automatically pans the camera to keep them in view. When others join in, the camera detects them too, and smoothly zooms out to include them in the conversation. Center Stage makes video calls more natural in FaceTime as well as third-party video-calling apps. Whether catching up with loved ones virtually or using iPad in a remote learning environment, Center Stage makes the experience of connecting more engaging than ever.

The 10.2-inch screen also gets True Tone for the first time in the entry-level model.

For the first time, True Tone comes to the beautiful 10.2-inch Retina display on iPad. A new, upgraded ambient light sensor enables True Tone, which adjusts screen content to the color temperature of a room. True Tone on the new iPad makes images appear more natural and provides users with a more comfortable viewing experience in all lighting environments.

It’s compatible with the Apple Pencil (1st-gen) and Smart Keyboard for iPad.

The 9th-gen iPad offers two storage tiers, of 64GB (twice the 32GB of the previous model) and 256GB. It comes in Silver and Space Gray, dropping the Gold.

Pricing for the new entry-level iPad is unchanged, with a starting price of $329. It will be available for pre-order from today, for shipping from Friday, September 24.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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