The new Apple iPad probably isn’t the affordable music-making tablet you were hoping for

Apple iPad 10th-generation
(Image credit: Apple)

With surprisingly little fanfare, Apple has unveiled the biggest update to its standard iPad - by which we mean the one without the word mini, Air or Pro in its name - in years.

This new 10th-generation model ditches the bezels in favour of all-screen design and a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, and gets a speed boost courtesy of the A14 Bionic chip. This is the same as the one used in the fourth-generation iPad Air and the iPhone 12 range.

The new chip promises a 20 percent increase in CPU power and a 10 percent graphics boost in comparison to the previous ninth-gen model, which has a 10.2-inch display and contains the A13 Bionic chip.

There are new cameras, too, with the front-facing lens being the first on any iPad model to sit along the landscape edge. This supports centre stage, the Apple technology that’s designed to automatically keep you in shot.

New dual microphones reinforce the impression that Apple wants to make this iPad a better option for video calling, as do the new landscape stereo speakers.

In terms of connectivity, this iPad gets a USB-C rather than a Lightning port, and supports Wi-FI 6 for faster connectivity. The cellular models are 5G, and the new iPad is compatible with a fresh Magic Keyboard Folio.

Apple iPad 10th-generation

(Image credit: Apple)

All of which sounds great, but there is a catch. If you were expecting the price of this new iPad to be in line with its predecessor, which costs $329/£369, you’re going to be disappointed. The entry-level 64GB WiFI model will sell for $449/£499 which, we’re sure we don’t need to point out, is considerably more.

Add to this the fact that the ninth-gen iPad will remain on sale and this doesn’t really feel like a new entry-level Apple tablet at all. In fact, it appears to have more in common with the iPad Air, which starts at $599/£669, the biggest difference being that it doesn’t have that machine’s M1 processor.

As such, for music producers, there’s a risk that this new iPad falls between two stools - neither cheap enough to feel like an affordable way of accessing the many excellent DAW, synth and other apps that are on offer, or powerful enough to give you the very best Apple tablet experience currently available.

So, the ninth-gen model still looks a decent bet if you want to keep costs down, and if you want raw power - perhaps even a tablet that will be your primary music-making device - the AIr and Pro models are more attractive.

Speaking of the iPad Pro, Apple has also given this a refresh, replacing its M1 chip with an M2 processor. Prices start at $799/£899 for the 11-inch WiFi model and $1,099/£1,249 for the 12.9-inch WiFi model.

The new iPad (10th-generation) is available in a choice of four colours (blue, pink, silver and yellow) and, like the new iPad Pro, will be available from 26 October. Pre-orders are open now.

Find out more on the Apple website. 

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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