Apple's new 2022 iPad could have looked very different

The announcement of Apple's brand new 10th generation iPad was met with some bafflement last week. With an almost identical feature set to the iPad Air (and that includes the price), its place in the line up is a little confusing. But things could have been very different.

Seasoned Apple leaker Mark Gurman has claimed in his Power On newsletter that Apple was initially considering launching a plastic-backed iPad as its most budget entry – and what's more, in an uncharacteristically generous move for Apple, the keyboard could have been included in the box. (Looking for the best iPad experience around? Check out the best iPad Pro deals (opens in new tab).)

iPad 2022

The new iPad isn't plastic – and isn't cheap (Image credit: Apple)

According to Gurman (as spotted by MacRumors (opens in new tab)), Apple was at one stage planning a version of the iPad featuring "a plastic back and plastic keyboard", and the whole thing would ship for under $500. Right now, the 10th generation iPad plus the Magic Keyboard Folio will set you back nearly $800.

Clearly, the plan was scrapped – the new iPad features an aluminium back like every other model, although it certainly features the most vibrant colour scheme yet (that hot pink is what iPhone fans have been crying out for). But a plastic version could have harked back to the iPhone 5C, which Apple famously described as "unapologetically plastic".

iPhone 5C

2013's iPhone 5C was "unapologetically plastic" (Image credit: Apple)

And the best thing would have been the price. A sub-$500 iPad with a keyboard sounds like an absolute steal, especially considering the surprisingly high price of the  10th generation iPad. At the same time, a plastic version would probably sacrifice durability for value.

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Overall, the idea sounds cheap but imperfect – whereas the iPad 10th generation is expensive and imperfect. While we're big fans of the bigger screen and new keyboard, the lack of Apple Pencil 2 support is pretty much unforgivable in 2022. And did we mention that it costs nearly $500? For the full lowdown, check out our iPad 2022 review (opens in new tab).

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).