I'll be honest, I was a little confused by Apple's news of the new 10th-generation iPad 2022 last week. Usually, we see the latest model supersede its predecessor, with previous iterations no longer darkening Apple's door (or website). Instead, what we got is a seemingly souped-up version of Apple's entry-level iPad, and the 9th generation iPad, I'm pleased to say, is still very much around.
I've spent the last few days finding my way around this new addition to Apple's tablet line-up, and, as well as it being a real joy to use, its arrival is now making much more sense. From both a price and performance perspective, the iPad 2022 sits between the 9th gen iPad and the current (5th gen) iPad Air. It has the same screen as the Air (10.9-inches, Liquid Retina) and is available in four colours – silver, blue, pink and yellow. There's support for the first-generation Apple Pencil, and it has its very own shiny new Magic Keyboard Folio – doubling as a protective case and keyboard.
The iPad 2022 is powered by Apple's A14 Bionic chip, that's a step up from the 9th-gen iPad's A13 chip, and a step down from the M1 chip in the current iPad Air (still with me?). For use in the real-world context, the power under the hood of the new iPad 2022 means it can tackle complex creative tasks, including 4K video editing and graphics-heavy gaming, with ease.
Below I'll take you through some key iPad 2022 points in more detail. But if you're still not sure if it's the device for you after reading, head over to our iPad generations guide, which has details of every tablet in the Apple range. Want to buy this new model? Head over to our guide on how to pre-order iPad 2022 today.
iPad 2022 review: Price
The lowest spec 10th gen iPad 2022 (with 64GB storage and WiFi) will set you back $449 / £499. That's $120 / £130 more than the 9th gen iPad, and $150 / £170 less than the 5th gen iPad Air.
At first glance, it might not seem like you get much more/less for the difference in price between these, but when you delve into the details, it would seem there are significant enough upgrades between each model to warrant a price jump.
Ultimately, the iPad you choose will depend on your budget and what you need it to do. And while I was, at first, confused by this new addition, it actually seems to successfully fill a now very obvious hole between Apple's basic iPad and the almighty M1-powered iPad Air.
If you want to really make the most of the iPad 2022, you'll want a stylus and keyboard. For an Apple Pencil, you're looking at $99 / £109 on top. If you already own one, you'll need to grab an Apple Pencil to USB-C charger (more on this later) for an additional $9 / £9.
The all-new Magic Keyboard Folio is $249 / £279, and right now is only available in white. Personally, I'm a bit baffled by the colour choice. A case's job, by its very nature, is to protect a device from dirt and dust etc, and there's nowhere to hide with white (especially when you have little fingers about the house). Here's hoping Apple adds some new darker colours to the Magic Keyboard Folio line-up.
Add all of that up and you're looking at about $800 / £900 for the iPad 2022 and all its accessories (knock $100 / £100 off if you already own a Pencil). There's no denying that's a lot of money, especially when you compare it to the 9th gen iPad and its accessories. However, if this is the iPad for you, spread the initial outlay over the number of years you'll get from the device and it feels a whole lot more affordable.
iPad 2022 review: Design
The iPad 2022 feels like a luxurious version of Apple's entry-level iPad, which is good because that is arguably what it is. It's bigger and brighter than the 9th gen iPad, with a Liquid Retina screen that is a whole 0.7 inches bigger. It might not seem like much, but those extra millimetres make all the difference, especially when using it in split-view mode.
It's super durable too, the screen withstanding the not-so-delicate touch of my five-year-old son 'enthusiastically' colouring in on it with the Apple Pencil. But despite how robust it appears, the tablet is seriously light. Ok, so not quite as light as the Air, but it's not far off. At just 7mm thick and about a pound in weight, it's noticeably (or not, in this case) light when using and travelling with it.
The bigger screen also means the new iPad 2022 Touch ID has a new home, now built into the top on/off button. I was particularly pleased to have the iPad ask to register my fingerprint from both my left and right hand, so I can unlock it from either side. A small but very welcome detail.
To charge, it's USB-C, which makes connections to other devices a much simpler affair. And there's also a Smart Connector on the edge of the iPad to connect to the all-new Magic Keyboard Folio.
iPad 2022 review: Apple Pencil
The iPad 2022 has first-generation Apple Pencil support. It would seem this decision was made in order to cater for existing stylus owners – a logical and fair decision, I think, for this particular device. However, the recent European announcement that all devices must be USB-C compatible means you can no longer plug the Pencil directly into the iPad to charge. Instead, you have to buy an Apple Pencil to USB-C adapter for an additional $9 / £9 – still a whole lot better than forking out for a brand new Apple Pencil though, right?
The Apple Pencil experience with the 10th-gen iPad is, overall, a pleasure. Using it in Procreate, it glides nicely across the new 10.9-inch screen and responds to pressure and sensitivity well. It doesn't make the performance of the 1st-gen Apple Pencil better (there's a reason a second-generation device exists), but the larger, Liquid Retina screen makes it all the more enjoyable to use.
One bugbear, and I'm sure it will be the same for others, is where to store it. If like me, you have kids who like to draw on your iPad, you'll know exactly what I mean when I speak of the endless frustration of misplacing the Apple Pencil. I wish Apple had somehow managed to incorporate some kind of easy Pencil storage design into the new Magic Keyboard Folio or other stylish accessories. Despite only having used the iPad 2022 for a matter of days, I've lost count of the number of times using it has been delayed by first searching for the Pencil's whereabouts.
iPad 2022 review: iPadOS 16
The new iPad 2022 comes complete with iPadOS 16, and we could spend all day explaining how some of the amazing features in this update translate to this device. But for now, I just want to highlight the most exciting feature for me – the ability to lift a subject from an image.
I really wanted to put this feature to the test in the iPad 2022, so took a photo of my very hairy Jack Russell, Freddie. Cutting him out of the picture above would usually take hours of work in Photoshop, refining each area so the mask accurately cut around all his fur. With iPadOS, I simply tapped Freddie in the image, and it removed him from the background, with incredible accuracy, in just seconds, and I was then able to simply transfer him over into my Procreate file. On close inspection, there are still some areas that need refining, but not much. When I think about the hours this will save creatives across the globe – it's an incredibly exciting, useful feature that will be a hugely welcome addition for many.
iPad 2022 review: Magic Keyboard Folio
The new size of Apple's iPad 2022 means it comes with an all-new Magic Keyboard Folio. Unlike last year's Smart keyboard this new accessory has a very handy built-in touchpad. It has been designed so you can attach each part separately or together. So you can use it as just a smart folio case (without the keyboard) or attach the keyboard too.
The magnetic attachment between the iPad and keyboard is super-strong, and I didn't worry at all about it coming apart if and when I picked the device up. If you want to stop using the keyboard while out and about, you can lift it off and turn it around, so when you fold it over, the keys sit flush against the back of the device.
The keyboard offers a really lovely typing experience, and the trackpad is a welcome addition, especially if you want to use it like a more traditional laptop. My only issue is the colour. It's a brilliant white, for now. However it won't be long, I'm sure, until it very clearly shows signs of everyday use.
iPad 2022 review: Should you buy it?
As I mentioned above, the iPad you choose will depend entirely on what you need it to do and how much money you have to spend. As an every day iPad user, think web, streaming, taking photos etc and someone who likes to indulge in my creativity (video editing, illustrating in Procreate etc) I have to say this is now the option I would go for.
Having seen the over $100 / £100 price difference between the 9th and 10th gen iPad, I initially wondered why Apple had bothered. Everyone would go for the cheaper option, right? But having used and experienced the iPad 2022, I can honestly say it feels like it's a world away from Apple's entry-level model in terms of features, luxury and design, so much so I'm now surprised the price gap isn't bigger.
I don't need the power of the M1-charged iPad Air, but would like a tablet to be able to handle more than that of the standard model, so this suits me and my family perfectly. And I would happily invest the extra money into a tablet that I know can completely fulfil and withstand my household's needs for many years to come, than go with a cheaper device that I would ultimately end up replacing in the not-so-distant future.