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.
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.
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.
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 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.