Home Gadgets Apple sells 4 different types of iPads — here are the newest models you can buy. iPad air pro mini

Apple sells 4 different types of iPads — here are the newest models you can buy. iPad air pro mini

iPad Air (2022) vs. iPad Mini (2021)

The iPad Air (2022) is arguably Apple’s best mid-range tablet. Lacking the premium asking price of the iPad Pro (2021), it nonetheless boasts some decidedly premium USPs. These include the powerful M1 chip, a gorgeous Liquid Retina display, and the new Center Stage feature, which keeps you in the middle of the frame when using the front-facing selfie camera. It’s an excellent all-around tablet and great value for money, yet it isn’t the only affordable-yet-powerful tablet Apple offers, with the iPad Mini (2021) being another strong contender.

Of course, the whole point of looking for an affordable tablet is that you don’t buy two at the same time, so the question is: which iPad is better? We answer this question in this iPad Air (2022) vs. iPad Mini (2021) head-to-head comparison. We look at each device’s specs, display, design, performance, camera, and software, helping you to decide which device is best for you overall.


iPad Mini (2021) iPad Air (2022)
Size 195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3mm (7.69 x 5.31 x 0.25 inches) 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm (9.75 x 7.03 x 0.24 inches)
Weight Wi-Fi: 293 grams (10.47 ounces)

LTE: 297 grams (10.47 ounces)

LTE: 462 grams (16.29 ounces)

Design, display, and durability

The iPad Mini (2021) comes with the latest Apple smartphone chip, the A15 Bionic. This is the same processor you’ll find in the iPhone 13 series, and when combined with the Mini’s 4GB of RAM, it will do a great job of handling everyday tasks and the latest apps. However, as good as it is, it can’t compare with the M1 chip you’ll find tucked away in the iPad Air (2022). This is the powerful Apple-built chip that came out with last year’s new Mac computers, meaning that they’re more than well-suited to handling computationally intensive tasks. When you combine that with a generous 8GB of RAM, you’ll find that the iPad Air excels as a work device, something which can’t quite be said for the Mini.

Both devices pack 64GB of internal memory as standard, which can be boosted to 256GB for an extra 150. 64GB is pretty parsimonious in this day and age, so you could argue that both tablets are more expensive than they seem, assuming you intend to do lots of different things with them.

Apple has made a habit of not divulging battery capacity in terms of mAh, so a quantitative comparison isn’t really possible. That said, our review of the iPad Mini showed that its battery life was surprisingly decent, giving about a day and a half if you’re a lighter user. By contrast, our review of the iPad Air showed that, if you’re a heavier user, it may only just last a whole day. These aren’t quite the same frame of reference, of course, so we suspect that battery life is roughly similar for both tablets.

However, with a much speedier chip, the iPad Air takes this round.

Winner: iPad Air (2022)


The rear cameras of the iPad Air (2022) and iPad Mini (2021) both feature a single 12MP wide lens. However, in the case of the Air, its wide lens boasts dual-pixel PDAF (phase detection autofocus), whereas the iPad Mini has standard autofocus. This makes the iPad Air a little bit more usable in terms of just picking it up to quickly take photos, without worrying about having to perfectly frame everything. It takes well-balanced photos full of just the right amount of color, with pleasing dynamics. As for the iPad Mini, it’s relatively usable as far as tablets generally go, but its performance doesn’t quite match the consistency of the Air.

Interestingly, both the iPad Air and the iPad Mini come with a 12MP ultrawide selfie lens, much like the most recent iPad Pro. This provides much better quality than the 7MP front-facing lens you found on the immediate predecessors of both tablets. Both 12MP ultrawide lenses are also compatible with Apple’s new Center Stage feature, keeping you in the middle of the shot when streaming with the front lens, even if you get up and move around.

This round is a close call, but with a slightly enhanced main camera lens, this round goes to the iPad Air.

Winner: iPad Air (2022)

Software and updates

Yes, the iPad Air (2022) and iPad Mini (2021) run iPadOS 15. This is the latest version of the iPad operating system, providing such useful new features as refined multitasking, floating Windows, and a neat Quick Notes function. It’s not a massive breakthrough compared to iPadOS 14, but it does bring in some tangible refinements, ensuring that iPadOS remains the best tablet operating system around.

It’s highly likely that the Air and the Mini will receive pretty much the same number of updates and for just as long as each other. Given that iPadOS 15 is compatible with the iPad Air 2 (released back in 2014), they’re both likely to avoid obsolescence for quite some time.

Special features

The iPad Air and iPad Mini each support 5G, although you will have to pay 150 extra for the LTE versions of each device. Still, if you use your tablet for work and while traveling, it can be a very useful option to have.

Each device also supports the second-generation Apple Pencil. This offers a marked evolution over the first-generation Pencil, including an expanded range of gestures. It also charges more conveniently and comes with a flat side that prevents it from rolling off the table, all of which means it’s very practical. One difference, however, is the iPad Air is compatible with Apple’s Magic Keyboard, so it’s even more capable as a work tablet. This gives it another win over the Mini.

Winner: iPad Air (2022)


The fifth-generation iPad Air (2022) starts from 599 and goes all the way to 899 if you want the 256GB model with cellular and 5G. It can be ordered directly from Apple, is supported by all major carriers, and can be bought up and down the land.

The sixth-generation iPad Mini (2021) begins at 499 and rises to 799 if you get the model with cellular support and 256GB of storage. Again, it’s available to buy from Apple, and you can find it at any good outlet that deals with tablets and tech.

Overall winner: Apple iPad Air (2022)

iPad Mini (2021) certainly isn’t a bad tablet, but the iPad Air (2022) beats it in almost every department. The bigger screen is more impressive, it benefits from a dizzyingly fast processor, has a slightly better camera, and is compatible with the Magic Keyboard. This doesn’t make it massively superior to the Mini, but it is enough to give it an uncontroversial win.

Nevertheless, if you don’t plan to use your tablet for professional purposes and prefer something more compact, the iPad Mini is certainly a great choice. It combines the fantastically smooth software Apple is known for with a nice bright screen, a capable processor, a generally decent camera, and some nice special touches. So if you want to save some money, it’s more than worth a look or two.

Editors’ Recommendations

Simon Chandler is a journalist based in London, UK. He covers technology and finance, contributing to such titles as Digital…

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It’s tough to compete with the iPad, especially when a lot of Android tablets still just, well, aren’t that great in comparison. But OnePlus finally released the OnePlus Pad, which looks like its own take on the 11-inch iPad Pro — but with a price tag similar to the entry-level 10th-generation iPad.

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Upgrade your lifestyleDigital Trends helps readers keep tabs on the fast-paced world of tech with all the latest news, fun product reviews, insightful editorials, and one-of-a-kind sneak peeks.

Apple sells 4 different types of iPads — here are the newest models you can buy

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  • Apple‘s current iPad lineup includes four main models: the basic iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro.
  • The newest iPads include the iPad and iPad Pro models, released in October 2022.
  • The oldest tablets in Apple’s lineup are the ninth-generation iPad and sixth-generation iPad Mini, released in September 2021.

When new iPad models are announced, they’re not given a consecutive number like the iPhone, which makes things a lot more confusing when talking about new and old iPads.

Since iPads look more or less the same these days, it’s important to understand what’s new and what’s not, so you know you’re getting exactly what you want. Plus, being able to distinguish between iPads will ensure the accessories you have your eye on are compatible with your model.

Currently, Apple officially sells six different iPads, listed here from newest to oldest:

If you’re considering buying a new iPad, picking the right one for your needs without overspending, or underspending, is crucial. Below, we cover each iPad and their main differences.

Quick tip: For an even more detailed look at models old and new, check out our guide on the best iPads.

Apple iPad Pro: 11 and 12.9 inches (2022)

Apple’s most premium tablet got a minor update in October 2022 with the sixth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro and fourth-generation 11-inch iPad Pro. The 12.9-inch Pro is the largest tablet in Apple’s lineup, and the only iPad to use Apple’s mini-LED display that boasts improved brightness and contrast.

Among the updates in 2022 is Apple’s computer-grade M2 processor that is also in the 2022 MacBook Air, and support for the new Hover feature with the second-generation Apple Pencil that offers better accuracy and new interactions.

Both tablets include optional 5G connectivity with support for mmWave 5G networks, Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, Face ID, high-refresh-rate 120Hz ProMotion displays, dual-lens cameras, and Center Stage that keeps the selfie camera centered on the subject despite movement.

Taken together, these changes make Apple’s iPad Pro tablets more powerful and tailored for productivity than ever before. But they’re still best-suited for professional creatives and multimedia editors since multitasking for most other work is still easier on a desktop operating system like macOS or Windows.

Apple iPad: 10th generation (2022)

Apple’s 10th-generation iPad was released in October 2022 and starts at 449, a significantly higher price than the ninth-generation iPad that’s still available for 329.

The 10th-gen iPad adopts Apple’s modern design language with slim bezels around a larger 10.9-inch screen — can be easily mistaken for the fifth-gen iPad Air at a glance. It has a USB-C port instead of Lightning. The Touch ID sensor is now integrated into the power button, and the rear camera sees an upgrade from 8 megapixels to 12 megapixels. But the best upgrade is that the ultra-wide FaceTime camera has been repositioned in the landscape position for a better angle of yourself during video calls.

In terms of power, the 10th-gen iPad uses Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, which is the same processor in the iPhone 12. It’s worth noting that this new version of Apple’s basic iPad only supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, which requires an adapter to charge. The 10th-gen iPad also supports mouse input, as well as a Magic Keyboard Folio designed exclusively for it.

Despite its positives and the fact that it’s an exceptional tablet, the 10th-gen iPad’s 450 price tag makes it a hard tablet to recommend when the 330 ninth-gen iPad is still in the lineup.

Apple iPad Air: 5th generation (2022)

While the 2022 basic iPad is powerful, the 2022 iPad Air, which was released in March 2022, steps it up a notch with Apple’s computer-grade M1 processor that also powers the 2020 13-inch MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and 24-inch iMac. That’s a significant bump in power compared to the A14 Bionic processor in the fourth-gen iPad Air.

In terms of design, the fifth-gen iPad Air shares a lot of similarities with its predecessor, with the same 10.9-inch screen, USB-C port, and Touch ID integrated into the power button. The front camera was upgraded to 12 megapixels, with support for Center Stage, which automatically focuses the camera on you while you move around during a video call.

Other upgrades include 5G connectivity in the Wi-Fi Cellular models, as well as an enhanced USB-C port for faster transfer of big files between the iPad Air and storage devices. Starting at 599, Apple’s iPad Air sits in the current lineup as a step-up from the basic iPad and iPad Mini and a worthy alternative to the iPad Pro.

Apple iPad: 9th generation (2021)

While there’s a new entry-level iPad available, we think the 2021 ninth-generation iPad is still a great tablet for most people. At Apple’s 329 price (we’ve also seen it go as low as 270), it’s currently the most affordable iPad you can buy.

With a 10.2-inch touchscreen and A13 Bionic chip, the ninth-gen iPad offers enough power to get you through your basic needs, though you may want to upgrade to the 256GB model for a bit more storage space if you’re planning on using the iPad to download a lot of videos, store many pictures, or play a lot of games.

Like the 10th-gen iPad, the ninth-gen iPad supports the first-gen Apple Pencil, but it doesn’t require an adapter as it can plug right into the iPad’s Lightning port to recharge. The ultra-wide FaceTime camera supports the Center Stage feature that follows you as you move around on video calls or when recording a video, but it’s located in portrait position. The display also has Apple’s True Tone feature that automatically adjusts the screen to the color temperature of the room you’re in.

Apple iPad Mini: 6th generation (2021)

The most recent iPad Mini is the sixth-generation model that was released in September 2021. Starting at 499, the 2021 iPad Mini sits among more premium models like the iPad Air. If you’re looking for the perfect balance between portability and performance, the iPad Air could be calling your name.

The 2021 iPad Mini marks a total redesign over previous generations, making for a look that’s closer to the iPad Air with narrower borders. The 2021 iPad Mini features a larger 8.3-inch Liquid Retina touch display with True Tone color technology versus the 7.9-inch screens of previous generations. Apple‘s A15 Bionic processor that’s running the iPhone 13 series is also present, and storage is available in 64GB or 256GB.

The latest iPad Mini supports the second-generation Apple Pencil, a USB-C port for charging and connecting accessories, an ultra-wide FaceTime camera with Apple’s Center Stage, an improved 12-megapixel rear camera, and a Touch ID sensor built into the power button on the top edge. The Wi-Fi Cellular models also support 5G networks.

How to figure out which iPad you own

All the latest iPads look similar now that Apple updated its basic iPad with its modern iPad design language. If you’re not sure what iPad model you own, you can either find your iPad’s model in the Settings app, or find the model number etched on the back of the iPad.

Antonio is a senior tech reporter for Insider’s Reviews team, where he helps lead coverage, reviews, and guides of smartphones, tablets, accessories, wearables, Smart home products, as well as audio devices from Apple, Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and other major tech companies. Before joining Business Insider, Antonio was a consumer-electronics analyst at PCMag. He graduated from Colgate University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in history. You can contact Antonio with tips and cool tech via email at: avillasboas@businessinsider.com Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we test tech and electronics.

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iPad Air vs iPad Mini: Two mid-range iPads, but which is right for you?

Until fairly recently, the iPad Mini was a bit of an underdog in Apple’s lineup. It had an older design, less powerful specs, and a much smaller display. That’s not the case with the iPad Mini (2021). You get all the style and substance of the iPad family, and it even manages to outshine the classic iPad in several ways. But what about the iPad Air vs iPad Mini? Let’s jump right in and see how they compare.

iPad Air vs iPad Mini: At a glance

Curious about how the iPad Air and iPad Mini compare? Here‘s a quick summary of the key differences:

  • iPad has a larger display than the iPad Mini, though the latter’s smaller footprint means it’s lighter and thinner
  • iPad Air has a more powerful processor than the iPad Mini
  • iPad Air is compatible with Apple’s Magic Keyboard family, the Mini is not
  • iPad Mini is better for photography than the iPad Air, though still imperfect

iPad Air vs iPad Mini: Specs

10.9-inch Liquid Retina LCD2,360 x 1,640 pixels264ppi500nits

8.3-inch Liquid Retina LCD1,488 x 2,266 pixels327ppi

Main:12MP cameraƒ/1.8 aperture

Main:12MP camera (wide)ƒ/1.8 aperture

Front:12MP (ultrawide)ƒ/2.4 aperture

Okay, it’s pretty easy to see the biggest difference between the iPad Air and Mini without looking at the spec list. We’re talking about the smaller display. It’s smaller, but is it worse? Thankfully, despite the smaller stature at just 8.3 inches, the display tech used is actually almost identical. They both use LCD Liquid Retina displays and laminated displays that are better at handling bright light. You also get a max of around 500 nits regardless of which iPad you pick. The iPad Mini’s smaller size gives it a higher pixel count, but you won’t notice the difference in day-to-day use. And honestly, we’d rather have a bit more screen real estate than the higher pixel count anyhow.

The two tablets have more similarities than differences, but the iPad Air is a major step up from the Mini in one area: the SoC.

The iPad Air uses the Apple M1 chip, the first-gen version of Apple’s PC-class ARM processor. Backing the SoC, you’ll find 8GB of RAM and 64 or 256GB of storage. The iPad Mini is also no slouch, packing the A15 Bionic with 4GB of RAM and the same storage options as the Air. That’s the same SoC found in the iPhone 13 series, so it’s more than capable of everything a typical flagship smartphone could handle. The Air still has a bit of an advantage regarding productivity, thanks to that bigger display and more powerful chipset.

apple, sells, different, types, ipads, here

Speaking of productivity, the iPad Air supports the lovely Apple Magic Keyboard. This accessory transforms your iPad Air into a pseudo-MacBook. There’s USB-C passthrough and a design that basically lets your tablet float, allowing you to adjust it better for the best possible viewing angle. I have used several Bluetooth keyboards over the years, including ones that have stands built in to make things feel more like a real laptop. I can tell you the Apple Magic Keyboard is superior to all these. The keys feel the most Mac-like, as does the trackpad. It’s not a perfect laptop experience, but it’s as close as you’ll get with a tablet. The iPad Mini doesn’t have an official keyboard accessory, but plenty of third-party iPad keyboards will play nicely with it. Just don’t expect the same level of polish here.

iPad Air vs iPad Mini: Size comparison

apple, sells, different, types, ipads, here

apple, sells, different, types, ipads, here

The iPad Air and iPad Mini look very similar; just one of them happens to be, well, Mini. The overall footprint is much smaller, and the device weighs almost half as much as the Air. The iPad Mini’s smaller stature makes it easier to toss into a bag and take just about anywhere. Its lighter weight also makes it more comfortable to hold for longer periods. This is especially true when it comes to using the iPad with an Apple Pencil. While both support the 2nd gen stylus, I certainly prefer iPad Mini’s smaller display and lighter profile when using it for things like taking notes.

Of course, the iPad Air isn’t without its design advantages. We already mentioned the bigger display. It’s also slightly thinner than the iPad Mini. This isn’t a big deal, but it helps make the Air feel like the more premium choice.

Aside from the size, there are a few other tiny differences. The iPad Mini has a flash sensor for its rear camera, the Air doesn’t. The two tablets come in almost all the same colors, but the Air also has a blue colorway.

iPad Air vs iPad Mini: Camera

apple, sells, different, types, ipads, here

iPads are not meant to be used as a main device for photography, but it’s perfect for families with younger kids that don’t have access to a smartphone. It’s also good for those moments when you happen upon something photo-worthy and already have the iPad in hand. The iPad Air and iPad Mini are both capable of decent photos. We found this to be especially true in the right lighting. The cameras on both are pretty comparable to an older iPhone — meaning they do the job but won’t compete with flagship smartphone cameras by any stretch of the imagination.

If you had to pick one to use as a backup camera, the iPad Mini certainly makes more sense. It’s lighter and easier to hold when taking pictures. It’s also not as huge, so you won’t look like a complete idiot using it this way in public (but you’ll still look at least a little like an oddball, sorry!)

The front camera is obviously much more important. In the past, the iPad Mini had a pretty weak front camera, but the iPad Mini (6th gen) brought the same lens used on the iPad Pro and iPad Air. You’ll get good color accuracy and decent enough detail with both cameras, though they’ll struggle in poor light conditions. You’ll also find Center Stage on either tablet. I love this software trick, as it basically follows faces around a room, keeping them in the shot.

One small sore point that applies to both devices is the location of the front camera. While the latest ‘classic’ iPad switched to a horizontal alignment, these two use a vertical position. If you prefer using your tablet in landscape mode, you’ll look like you’re staring off into space in conference calls. This matters more for professional users than those having a casual video chat, so if you’re not going to use the iPad for conference calls it probably won’t matter much.

iPad Pro (2022) vs. iPad Air (2022): Which Apple tablet is right for you?

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  • The iPad Air and iPad Pro are ideal options for users with intensive workloads.
  • Despite the iPad Pro’s newer and more powerful processor, the iPad Air’s performance isn’t too far behind.
  • Buying the iPad Pro makes sense if you need more storage or are a frequent second- generation Apple Pencil user, thanks to Apple’s Hover feature.

In early 2022, Apple unveiled the fifth-generation iPad Air, a value Champion for power users. A few months later, the company introduced the sixth-generation iPad Pro, which stands as the most powerful and responsive tablet in Apple’s current lineup.

Despite costing significantly less than the 799 11-inch iPad Pro and 1,099 12.9-inch model, the 599 iPad Air is still very much a high-end tablet, and demanding users will be satisfied with its balance of price, performance, and feature-set. The latest iPad Pro models run on Apple’s M2 processor, which offers a performance bump over the iPad Air’s M1 processor that will be mostly felt in long-term ownership.

What really sets the iPad Pro apart is Apple’s new Hover feature for the second-generation Apple Pencil, which brings next-level accuracy in using the stylus. On top of that, the iPad Pro includes Apple‘s ProMotion high-refresh-rate display for a silky smooth experience when navigating and working on the tablet.

When deciding between the iPad Air or iPad Pro, there are additional details to consider, like Face ID versus Touch ID, storage options, cameras, and USB-C data transfer speed. Whatever you choose, it’s worth noting that both come recommended as the best iPads you can buy. Let’s dive in.

iPad Air (2022) vs. iPad Pro (2022): Specs compared

11-inch Liquid Retina with ProMotion (2,388 x 1,668)


Apple’s M-series processors are serious hardware — they’re the same chips you’ll find in a range of Apple computers. That kind of power makes iPads ideal portable companions to desktop workstations, or even as primary creation devices.

While both iPads were released in 2022, the iPad Air’s M1 processor debuted toward the end of 2020, so it’s older than the iPad Pro’s M2 processor, which Apple released in June 2022. That age gap is reflected in benchmark results, but the M1 chip is still a workhorse that should please anyone who needs a mobile powerhouse.

In fact, the iPad Air renders a short 10-minute 4K video with light editing in Premiere Rush in the same amount of time as the iPad Pro.

However, if peak performance for more complex editing is necessary and your budget allows for it, the iPad Pro is the iPad of choice. Plus, the iPad Pro will keep up with power-hungry workloads for a year longer than the iPad Air, if not longer.


Apple reserved its excellent 120Hz ProMotion display technology for the iPad Pro models, which delivers an ultra-premium smooth visual experience while navigating around iPadOS. Meanwhile, the iPad Air’s display is a more moderate and standard 60Hz, which should be familiar if you’ve used standard iPads and non-Pro iPhones in the past.

As far as display quality, the iPad Air and 11-inch iPad Pros share the same Liquid Retina Display and just about the same screen size. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a Liquid Retina XDR display based on Mini-LED backlighting, which provides a brighter, accurate, and crisp visual experience.


While the base iPad Air offers tempting value, one its biggest drawbacks is its paltry 64GB of storage, which can be a disadvantage for those working with big content files, like high-resolution video.

If you need more storage, you’ll have to upgrade to the 749 256GB iPad Air — a price that’s mighty close to the base 128GB iPad Pro. If you know that 128GB is all you need, spending the extra 50 on the base iPad Pro can be easily justified.

External storage devices are another option to add space to an iPad Air or iPad Pro, but they’re not ideal for casual, everyday usage. Rather, they’re best used for projects. Both models differ in transfer speeds via their USB-C ports, with the iPad Air peaking at 10Gb/s (USB Gen 3.1 Gen 2), and the iPad Pros can muster up to 40Gb/s (Thunderbolt 3/USB 4).

The iPad Air’s 10Gb/s USB-C transfer rates should suffice for most projects — theoretically, it should transfer a huge 10 gigabyte file to and from an external drive in one second. If you’re working with even larger, nay, humongous files, you’ll feel the benefits of the iPad Pro’s 40Gb/s second transfer rate.

Touch ID, Face ID, and cameras

You unlock the iPad Air with a Touch ID sensor on the power button located on the edge of the tablet. Apple makes it easy to find with an on-screen prompt to show you where to lay your finger, but I’ve found it somewhat temperamental with finger placement and unresponsive to damp or excessively dry fingers. I have to tap my PIN code more often than I’d like because the Touch ID sensor doesn’t properly register my fingerprint.

The iPad Pros use Face ID for unlocking, which works significantly better. Plus, the iPad Pros don’t have a notch like the iPhones do. It’s not a good enough reason on its own to spend more on the iPad Pro, but it’s still something to consider when looking at the overall picture.

The iPad Pros also include a dual camera that actually produces decent photos and videos compared to the iPad Air’s single, serviceable camera. Still, the iPad Pro’s superior cameras aren’t clinchers — most people use their phones for photos and videos, and transferring from an iPhone to an iPad is incredibly easy with AirDrop. And professionals may opt for professional gear depending on the project. I suppose it can be handy to have an all-in-one camera and workstation.

The iPad Pro cameras include a LiDAR scanner, which captures photos of objects or spaces (like a room) in 3D so you can navigate around the object or space. It’s pretty neat, and it could be useful to have on hand if you work in some kind of designing role. These 3D images could even be used in augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR).

Both the iPad Air and iPad Pro’s front-facing cameras are on the short side of the tablet, which is a shame for video calls. It means your video feed will always show your face at a slight angle instead of directly in front. Still, at least both tablets support Center Stage, which keeps the FOCUS on you, even when you’re moving around.

Apple Pencil support

Both the iPad Air and iPad Pros support Apple’s second-generation Apple Pencil, but only the iPad Pro supports Apple‘s new Hover feature thanks to the M2 processor. Whether you use a second-generation Apple Pencil for intricate drawings or taking simple notes, the Hover feature can be the hook to go for the iPad Pro.

Hover gives you a preview of exactly where the second generation Apple Pencil’s tip will land on the iPad Pro’s screen when you hover it from 12mm above. If you’ve ever wished you the Apple Pencil had more precision, Hover is the fix.

Beyond added precision, Hover also enables shortcuts when you hover and linger the second generation Apple Pencil’s tip above certain on-screen items. It can even preview how a color will blend with another color on your artwork.

The bottom line

Your budget should easily decide which iPad to go for, whether it’s the iPad Air or the iPad Pro. If 600 is your limit, the iPad Air won’t disappoint. From a sheer value standpoint, the iPad Air should satisfy most people.

But if your budget allows, is it worth spending at least 200 more for the iPad Pro? It’s a similar conundrum when deciding between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro — both are great, but you have to consider whether the Pro’s extra features are worth it.

The M2 processor’s performance gains aren’t massive, but the iPad Pro should maintain usable performance for longer than the iPad Air. You’ll also appreciate the smooth ProMotion display and Face ID. And if you frequently use a second-generation Apple Pencil, the iPad Pro’s Hover feature could be enough reason to opt for the iPad Pro.

Storage requirement also dictates which model you should go for. If you need up to 128GB of storage, you’re better off spending the extra 50 on the base 11-inch iPad Pro. That way, you’ll get the newer processor, ProMotion display, and other iPad Pro goodies like Face ID and Hover for Apple Pencil.

If you need more storage, you could save 150 by going for the 749 256GB iPad Air rather than the 899 256GB iPad Pro, but you won’t be disappointed by upgrading to the Pro. Storage options for the iPad Air halt at 256GB, so the iPad Pro is your only option if you need even more space.

iPad rumours: latest new iPad, Mini, Air and Pro news

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So you fancy buying an iPad. But what about the next iPad? What if when you plonk down your cash, Apple releases an updated version if its venerable tablet, packed full of new features, and also gives you a free magic hat? That’s the dilemma. Apart from the bit about the magic hat – we’re pretty sure Apple won’t do that.

This article can help. For each iPad model we’ve dug into the current state of play, explored the rumours emanating from the industry’s guessing trousers, and provided a handy ‘Stuff says’ buying recommendation.


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The state of play: In October 2022, Apple released the 10th-gen iPad. It resembled a less powerful iPad Air with a reflective screen (boo) but had Apple’s first sensible selfie camera placement (yay). The ninth iteration of the iPad lurked quietly in the line-up, with its old-school charms of a Home button, a chunky screen bezel and a headphone port.

What’s next: Current rumours speculate there will be no new iPads at all this year. If that’s the case, 2023 will be the first year since 2017 during which the standard iPad doesn’t get an update. If we do get an 11th-gen, expect a minor spec bump with new colours and an A15 chip. Ideally, we’d prefer 2nd-gen Apple Pencil support and finally being rid of the reflective screen too, but suspect that’s unlikely. What is likely is the 9th-gen sticking around as a low-cost iPad, even when the 11th-gen shows up.

Stuff says: The 9th-gen iPad is charitably best described as ‘classic’ and ‘familiar’. Buy if the other models are out of your budget. The 10th-gen is a bit pricey and infuriatingly uses the old Apple Pencil. But it’s powerful and worth the outlay if you want an iPad that’ll last.

iPad Mini

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The state of play: The iPad Mini’s long been an enigma regarding release frequency and positioning. But Apple vastly improved its tiniest iPad with September 2021’s 6th-gen, more or less transforming it into an iPad Air Mini. There’s an A15 inside that tiny frame – but scrolling can be jiggly in portrait. Tsk.

What’s next: The main rumour that’s been swirling around forever now is the 7th-gen iPad Mini getting a 120Hz ProMotion display, which will handily boot ‘jelly scrolling’ concerns into the sun. No-one’s prediction parrot has parped precisely when this’ll rock up, mind. Probably 2024. If there’s an earlier update, it’ll likely just be a processor bump. Hurroo.

Stuff says: Removing the most overt flaw from the iPad Mini would be good. But who knows when it’ll happen? So if you want one, buy it now. Just be aware even in the Mini’s inconsistent release schedule, the 6th-gen is mid cycle.

iPad Air

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The state of play: In March 2022, the iPad Air played catch-up with the Mini (better camera; 5G) – and then blazed past by way of the surprise addition of an M1 chip. 64GB entry-level storage was the only major snag. Since then, the Air-ish 10th-gen iPad’s rocked up, though, complicating matters.

What’s next: Few rumours knocking around here. ProMotion and M2 chips are the most obvious drip-down tech. And if the iPad Pro 11in disappears, the Air getting four speakers would be a blast. Logic dictates the sensible camera placement from the 10th-gen iPad will make an appearance too. And that Thunderbolt probably won’t, because Apple still needs something to make you open your wallet and GoPro.

Stuff says: We doubt this unit will get updated any very soon, and so if you want an iPad Air, ask that nice Mr Cook to send one your way today. Although, again, pay heed to the mid-cycle klaxon blaring away at an indeterminate distance.

iPad Pro

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The state of play: The ultimate iPad was last revamped in October 2022, gaining an M2 chip, a hover state for Apple Pencil, extra ProRes video capture grunt and super fast Wi-Fi 6E. Inexplicably, there was no change to the selfie camera placement, meaning the entry level iPad got a great feature missing from the flagship. Sigh. Still, it’s a brilliant tablet.

What’s next: An M3 chip upgrade to match whatever Macs are coming down the pipe seems likely. There are also ongoing rumours about MagSafe charging (possibly through a glass Apple logo) and reverse wireless charging for other Apple devices.

Venturing further into the weeds, the rumour mill churns up OLED iPad Pro panels, a unit even bigger than the 12.9 model (which begs the question: why?), and the 11in still not getting a mini-LED update. Bah. Elsewhere, we also wonder whether Apple might be looking at that spiffy Pixel Tablet dock and wishing it had thought of that first.

Stuff says: The iPad Pro is a big investment. The hardware quality is such you can’t go wrong if you buy now. But if you don’t need one today, whatever comes next is always better. In the meantime, use your innate psychic powers to convince Apple to put the selfie cam on the long edge, so you don’t look all distracted as you appear to gaze off to the side during video calls.



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