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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’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.
Check out the full review of the 2022 iPad Pro
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.
Check out the full review for the 10th-generation iPad
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 WiFi + 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.
Check out the full review for the fifth-generation iPad Air
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.
Check out the full review for the 9th-generation iPad
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 WiFi + Cellular models also support 5G networks.
Check out the full review for the sixth-generation iPad Mini
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.
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