Apple's tablet debuted in 2010. Since the original version, it's expanded into multiple screen sizes and Pro and non-Pro options.
The iPad is Apple’s base tablet model. In its ninth generation, the iPad focuses on being the perfect tool for education and people who seek a bigger screen to read and surface the web compared to the iPhone. With Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support, the iPad has never been better.
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The iPad is a line of tablets designed and developed by Apple. It was originally announced in 2010, three years after the first iPhone was introduced. With a 9.7-inch screen and with iPhone OS 3.2 the iPad was a success, hitting 1 million tablets sold in over three months, half the time the first iPhone took to reach this mark.
Steve Jobs then unveiled the iPad 2 in March of 2011. About 33% thinner than its predecessor and 15% lighter, the second generation used the A5 chip, twice as faster as its predecessor. The iPad 2 also introduced front and back cameras that supported FaceTime video calls.
The successor of the iPad 2 wasn’t a success at all. The third generation was introduced in March of 2012 with a Retina display and the A5X processor. The problem with this tablet it was too heavy and the battery didn’t last long enough. In October of the same year, Apple announced the fourth generation with the A6X processor, HD FaceTime camera, improved LTE capabilities, and the Lightning connector.
At this October event, Apple also introduced the first iPad mini. In 2013, Apple went with the first iPad Air and the iPad mini 2. In 2015, the company introduced the first Pro model, with two different sizes.
In March of 2017, Apple announced the fifth-generation iPad with the A9 processor. It was a budget option compared to the other tablets. It was in 2018 that the company brought expressive news to the base iPad line. The sixth-generation had the A10 Fusion processor and fully supports the first-generation Apple Pencil.
A year later, the seventh generation was announced with a larger 10.2-inch display and support for the Smart Keyboard as well. It retained most of the specs of the previous model.
In September of 2020, the eighth generation was introduced alongside the fourth-generation iPad Air model. The eighth generation received an upgraded processor, now with the A12 Bionic, while keeping the same storage options: 32GB and 128GB.
In September of 2021, the ninth generation was introduced alongside a redesigned iPad mini. This iPad now features the A13 Bionic processor, True Tone support, and new storage options: 64GB and 256GB while keeping the same price.
iPad 9 Specs
The ninth-generation iPad launched in September of 2021. Available in two colors, Silver and Space Gray, this tablet is made of 100% recyclable aluminum, and supports the first-generation Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.
With thinner bezels, the product comes with a 10.2-inch Retina display with a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, and True Tone support for the first time, which adjusts screen content to the color temperature of a room.
This tablet uses the A13 Bionic chip, the same available on the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. It has an “all-day” battery with up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi or watching videos.
The iPad also comes in 64GB and 256GB storage options and Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular versions.
For the first time, this iPad shares the same FaceTime camera as the M1 iPad Pro with the Center Stage experience. With a new 12MP Ultra Wide front camera and Neural Engine, 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.
Its main camera is the same: 8MP, f/2.4 aperture, and digital zoom up to 5x.
The ninth-generation iPad comes with the iPadOS 15. Previewed during the WWDC21 keynote, the new operating system brings a redesigned Home Screen with widgets and App Library support.
On iPadOS 15, FaceTime group calls can finally appear in a grid, so it’s easier to see everyone. It’s also possible to share your screen, listen to Apple Music songs together, or watch Apple TV+, HBO Max, Disney+, and others while in a call.
In the productivity section, Apple, unfortunately, didn’t bring all the features pro users wanted to take full advantage of their new M1 iPad Pro, even though Apple made it easier to rely on multitasking features.
There’s a new multitasking menu on the top of the screen. When you click there, it’s possible to see what configurations you can use on Split View or just go to Slide Over with just a tap.
The experience with an external keyboard allows users to get more done with all-new keyboard shortcuts and a redesign of the menu bar.
With the Quick Note feature, users can use the Apple Pencil to add a quick note. They just need to slide the pencil through the bottom right corner to the center of the screen and start writing.
iPadOS 15 launched on September 20. Learn more about it here.
iPadOS 15.1 features
One month after releasing iPadOS 15, Apple released iPadOS 15.1 More notable, the company finally brought SharePlay support for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Unfortunately, Universal Control wasn’t one of the features added with this new version. Here’s what else is new:
- Mandarin Chinese (Taiwan) support in the Translate app and for system-wide translation
- New automation triggers based on the current reading of a HomeKit-enabled humidity, air quality, or light level sensor
- New pre-built actions let you overlay text on images or gifs, plus a new collection of games lets you pass the time with Siri
iPadOS 15.2 features
Five weeks after releasing iPadOS 15.1, Apple is releasing iPadOS 15.2. It brings more features that were expected to launch alongside iPadOS 15 but, unfortunately, Universal Control is still nowhere to be seen. Here are the top features of this version:
- Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri
- App Privacy Report in Settings lets you see how often apps have accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts, and more during the last seven days, as well as their network activity
- Communication safety setting gives parents the ability to enable warnings for children when they receive or send photos that contain nudity
- Digital Legacy allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your iCloud account and personal information in the event of your death
- Apple TV app: Store tab lets you browse, buy, and rent movies and TV Shows all in one place
iPadOS 15.3 features
Six weeks after releasing iPadOS 15.2, Apple is releasing iPadOS 15.3. This update foregoes new features in favor of under-the-hood bug fixes and improvements. One of the most notable changes here is a fix for a Safari vulnerability that may have been leaking your browsing history and Google ID data to the websites you visited.
iPadOS 15.4 features
iPadOS 15.4 finally brings one of the most important features expected from iPadOS 15 and that got delayed: Universal Control. Here’s everything new with iPadOS 15.4:
- Universal Control: This feature allows you to control your Mac and iPad using the same keyboard and mouse/trackpad. Universal Control needs iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3;
- New Siri voice: Siri has a fifth American voice. Apple says a member of the LGBTQ+ community recorded the voice and it’s non-binary;
- More emoji: iPadOS 15.4 also brings new emojis. You can discover all of the new characters here;
- Shortcuts automation: Adds support for running Personal Automations in the background without requiring a pesky banner notification.
You can learn everything new with this update here.
iPadOS 15.5 features
Different from other software updates, iPadOS 15.5 only improves the Podcast app experience, as Apple focused on Wallet changes for the iPhone this time:
- Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPhone and automatically delete older ones
iPadOS 15.6 features
iPadOS 15.6 is yet another small update for iPad users. Here’s what’s news:
- TV app adds the option to restart a live sports game already in progress and pause, rewind, or fast-forward.
- Fixes an issue where Settings may continue to display that device storage is full even if it is available.
- Fixes an issue that may cause Braille devices to slow down or stop responding when navigating text in Mail.
- Fixes an issue in Safari where a tab may revert to a previous page.
iPadOS 15.7 features
iPadOS 15.7 only brings bug fixes and some security improvements as the company readies the iPadOS 16 release.
Apple describes this iPad as the go-to tablet for education. For several years the company discounts this tablet up to 10%.
Apple is always promoting ways students can use the iPad to learn new things: using Augmented Reality, the Apple Pencil, and how to code with Playgrounds.
The company says the “App Store is the best place to discover apps” for education purposes:
“Let your curiosity run wild with iPad. The App Store is the best place to discover apps that let you get a leg up in geometry, learn a new language, and attend virtual classes. You can even use augmented reality to learn something exciting, like watching the history of spaceflight unfold in your living room or making characters from your favorite book literally leap off the page.“
Release date: When Apple will launch the ninth-generation iPad?
Apple launched the iPad 9 on September 24, 2021.
iPad (2021) pricing starts at $329 for the 32GB storage option with Wi-Fi only. The prices can go up to $559 with the 128GB storage option and WI-Fi + Cellular. Here are the full prices of the ninth-generation tablet:
- 32GB with Wi-Fi: $329
- 32GB with Wi-Fi + Cellular: $459
- 128GB with Wi-Fi: $429
- 128GB with Wi-Fi + Cellular: $559
- Apple Pencil (1st generation): $99
- Smart Keyboard: $159
Lower prices may be available from Apple’s official Amazon store.
iPad (2021) Review
Soon, we’ll review the ninth-generation iPad. As for now, you can watch our video review of the eighth-generation iPad, as we described it as the “best value tablet you can buy:”
“The iPad 8 was never meant to be a huge update. But even still, I think this is easily the best value tablet you can buy. For $329, this tablet has so much to offer: The performance, the great battery life, and the Apple pencil functionality. I’d highly recommend you pick up this tablet if you simply need an inexpensive tablet today that’s going to last you for three to four years with no trouble.”
Over at 9to5Toys, you can find the best deals on the iPad and other Apple products. Download the 9to5Toys iPhone app to receive push notifications for new deals as well.
As of now, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman said in his Power On newsletter by the end of 2021 that Apple plans a new entry-level iPad for 2022. In June 2022, 9to5Mac exclusively reported the details of the tenth-generation iPad model.
According to Filipe Espósito, this new entry-level tablet will pack the A14 Bionic chip, 5G compatibility, and, for the first time, USB-C connectivity, unlocking new experiences with the second-generation Apple Pencil. Its display will also increase, although it’s unclear whether it will have the same design as the M1 iPad Air.
This iPad could be released in October of 2022.