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iPad 9 and iPad 10 Buying Guide: Is the $120 Difference Worth It?

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The 10th-gen iPad is now available with a starting price of $449, but the ninth-generation ‌iPad‌ before it continues to be available from Apple for the same $329 starting price.


The 64GB and 256GB ninth generation ‌iPad‌ models continue to be priced at $329 and $479, respectively. They’re still available in the same Silver and Space Gray color options, meaning there’s no change in pricing or current configurations of the device.

The entry-level ‌iPad‌ is an important device in Apple’s lineup, especially for the education market, as it provides an accessible ramp for basic computing on the ‌iPad‌ at a low price point. Although there are successive generations of the same device, there are significant differences between the ninth and 10th generation ‌iPad‌ that justify the $120 price difference, which can make it difficult to choose which device is best for you.

So, should you consider buying the ‌‌iPad‌‌ to save money, or the ‌10th generation instead. Need a next-generation ‌iPad‌? This breakdown serves as a clear way to see all the similarities and differences between the two devices.

similarities

  • Touch ID
  • Retina display (264 ppi) with True Tone and 500 nits maximum brightness (typical)
  • Apple silicon chip with 6-core CPU (2 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores) and 4-core GPU
  • Up to 5x digital zoom, 3x video zoom, 720p slow motion video support at 120fps and time-lapse video with stabilization
  • 12MP Ultra Wide front camera (ƒ/2.4 aperture) with 2x zoom, Center Stage, Retina Flash, extended dynamic range for up to 30fps video, Cinematic video stabilization and 1080p HD video recording up to 60fps
  • Two speaker audio
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life
  • 64GB and 256GB storage options
  • First-generation Apple Pencil support

Differences


9th Gen iPad (2021)

  • “Old” ‌iPad‌ design (like first-generation iPad Air, 2013)
  • 7.5mm thickness
  • 487/498 grams weight
  • Space Gray and Silver color options
  • ‌Touch ID‌ home button
  • 10.5 inch Retina display (2160 x 1620)
  • A13 Bionic chip (2019)
  • 8-core Neural Engine
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 8MP Wide rear camera (ƒ/2.4 aperture)
  • HDR for photos
  • 1080p HD video recording up to 30fps
  • 12MP portrait Ultra Wide front camera
  • Two speaker audio
  • Lightning port
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Wi‑Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac); 2.4GHz and 5GHz; Speeds up to 866 Mbps
  • 4G LTE connectivity (cellular models)
  • Smart Keyboard support
  • starts at $329

10th Gen iPad (2022)

  • “New” ‌iPad‌ design with straight edges (like iPad Pro, 2018)
  • 7mm thickness
  • Weight 477/481 grams
  • Silver, Pink, Blue and Yellow color options
  • ‌Touch ID‌ top button
  • 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display (2360 x 1640)
  • A14 Bionic chip (2020)
  • 16 core Neural Engine
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 12MP Wide rear camera (ƒ/1.8 aperture)
  • Smart HDR 3 for photos
  • 4K video recording up to 60fps
  • Extended dynamic range for video up to 30fps
  • 12MP horizontal Ultra Wide front camera
  • Horizontal two-speaker audio
  • USB-C port
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax); 2.4GHz and 5GHz; Speeds up to 1.2 Gbps
  • 5G connectivity (cellular models)
  • Magic Keyboard Folio support
  • Starting at $449

Overall, the 10th generation ‌iPad‌ will be the more affordable device to buy for most people. With a faster chip and more memory, the 10th generation ‌iPad‌ will be a better long-term purchase, through annual software updates alongside 5G connectivity on cellular models. Apple seems to be gradually switching to USB-C on all of its devices, so buying a device with this port instead of Lightning could help in the years to come. The design of the 10th-gen ‌iPad‌ is also significantly future-proof, and is compatible with any of Apple’s modern ‌iPad‌ or full-screen designs.

The bigger screen, better performance, USB-C port and Magic Keyboard Folio support could make the 10th generation a more useful productivity-focused device. The landscape front camera will be better for video calls, while the rear camera offers more advanced photography and videography capabilities. It is also worth noting that some users may prefer the modern design and vibrant color options of the 10th generation ‌iPad‌.

By comparison, the ninth generation ‌iPad‌ offers a good balance of the most important basic ‌iPad‌ features, but in an older design with slightly less advanced technologies. Potential customers who need a new “iPad” at the lowest possible price are unlikely to care about most of these differences, so in some cases the extra $120 may not be worth it. Overall, it will be worth upgrading to the newer model whenever possible – especially if you plan to use the ‌iPad‌ heavily in the years to come.

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