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Apple just unveiled the brand new 9th-gen iPad

Updated Sep 14th, 2021 3:03PM EDT
Apple iPad 9
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple kickstarted its iPhone 13 event with an unexpected announcement: the 9th-gen iPad. Some reports said that Apple might update its cheapest iPad during the iPhone event so that it can start selling the entry-level model just as students are getting back to school. The new iPad 9 will be available for purchase on Tuesday as soon as Apple’s online returns online.

Apple’s iPad 9 is official just in time for school

Just as expected, the new iPad base model comes with improved hardware. It all starts with the speedier A13 Bionic chip, an improved selfie camera, and support for the first-gen Apple Pencil.

Apple iPad 9
Apple iPad 9 with Apple Pencil support. Image source: Apple Inc.

The iPad 9 has the same design as the previous generation. We’re looking at a 10.2-inch True Tone display, a Touch ID home button on the front, and significant top and bottom bezels. But it’s really the hardware that counts here. The True Tone support is a first for Apple’s cheapest iPad.

The A13 Bionic will bring improved performance, with Apple quoting 20% speed gains for the CPU, GPU, and the Neural Engine. Apple says in its press release the new iPad 9th-gen tablet is up to three times faster than the best-selling Chromebook and up to six times faster than the best-selling Android tablet.

As expected, the iPad 9 will run Apple’s iPadOS 15 right out of the box.

Apple iPad 9
Apple iPad 9: iPadOS 15 features. Image source: Apple Inc.

The new iPad works with the Smart Keyboard and the first-gen Apple Pencil. It supports 20W USB-C fast charging and offers all-day battery life. Unlike the iPad mini, Air, and Pro, the new iPad only features Lightning connectivity.

There’s an 8-megapixel camera on the back, but the FaceTime camera now features a 12-megapixel Ultra Wide sensor that supports Center Stage functionality, just like the iPad Pro.

Apple iPad 9
Apple iPad 9 price official. Image source: Apple Inc.

The iPad 9 Wi-Fi starts at $329, just like before. But you get 64GB of storage, which is twice the memory available on iPad 8. Buy it for school, and the price is even better, starting at $299. As before, the iPad also comes in cellular versions (gigabit LTE), but they’ll cost extra, starting at $459. A 256GB option is also available.

On top of that, Apple explains in its press release that customers who activate the cellular version with T-Mobile/Sprint or Verizon can get $200 back.

Apple iPad 9
Apple iPad 9: Main specs features. Image source: Apple Inc.

Apple will make the iPad 9th-gen available for preorder on Tuesday, likely after the iPhone 13 press event. Deliveries will start next week, on September 24th, as the tablet will launch in stores. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro phones will also launch in stores on September 24th, as will the iPad mini.

The Smart Keyboard for iPad retails for $159, while the first-gen Apple Pencil will cost $99. Also, the Smart Cover for iPad costs $49.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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