Apple’s cheapest iPad is getting a big upgrade

Better processors, bigger screens and the end of the headphone jack, too

Apple iPad 2020
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s tenth-generation iPad, the best iPad for budget buyers, is due to be launched at the Apple Event in September 2022, and that means the production lines are already churning out thousands of Apple’s most affordable iPad.

And, according to DigiTimes (opens in new tab), some pretty big changes are coming to the entry-level iPad.

The first and obvious difference is that the display is bigger, moving to 10.5 inches with significantly narrower bezels, and round the back the camera enclosure has a similar bump to the one you’ll find on the iPhone 13. Unlike the iPad Air there’s still a TouchID button, but the 3.5mm headphone jack appears to be gone: Apple clearly reckons you’ll be using AirPods or rivals’ best wireless earbuds with this iPad.

iPad in 2022: better processor, better cellular models too

DigiTimes also reports that the inside of the iPad is getting some important improvements too over the Apple iPad 10.2-inch (2020). There’s a faster A14 Bionic processor – not the M1 from the iPad Air; M-series silicon is currently reserved for the more expensive iPads and iPad Pros – and 5G in the cellular versions.

It’s interesting to see Apple sticking with the A-series processor, because it means the late 2022 iPad won’t support one of iPadOS 16’s key features: Stage Manager. That’s designed to make multitasking easier, although the jury’s out on whether it actually does, and it only works on M-series silicon. So it seems that Apple is drawing a line in the sand here: if you want an iPad to multitask, this may not be the iPad for you.

The rest of the changes are welcome, though: Apple's slow transition to USB-C instead of Lightning is helpful, and a slightly bigger display and faster processor will keep the cheapest iPad current. It's not the best iPad Apple makes, but it's still a brilliant everyday tablet.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).