Earlier this week, Apple quietly unwrapped its newish entry-level iPad and a slightly updated iPad Pro along with a new, cheaper Apple TV streaming set-top box. There was no big stage, pre-recorded video, live stream, or Tim Cook in this announcement. Just a few press releases on its website.
Entry-level bar raised with new iPad
Apple’s entry-level iPad received the most upgrades in this refresh. Those include a few notable internal upgrades, a modern redesign (the first in five years), and a price increase.
This brings the entry-level iPad up to its 10th generation, in line with the rest of the iPad stable. The new pad is shipping with Apple’s A14 Bionic chip (same as the iPhone 12), an upgrade over the A13 introduced in last year’s iPad refresh. There are only two storage options, 64GB or 256GB. Choose wisely, that space isn’t expandable with a memory card.
The upgraded chips also mean upgraded connectivity. 5G support is now available on all iPad models. Additionally, the new iPad comes with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) specs and continues to support physical SIM cards (something the latest US iPhones left out) and eSIMs.
As for the design, Apple might be a little overzealous in calling it an “all-screen” design. Sure, the home button is gone so the bezels are smaller but they’re certainly still apparent.
The Liquid Retina display is slightly bigger at 10.9in with a 1640 x 2360 resolution, 264ppi (pixels-per-inch), and a max brightness of 500 nits. If ‘all-screen’ to Apple is an 80.5% screen-to-body ratio, then we wonder what it would call something like the Xiaomi Mi Mix Alpha.
Other notable upgrades include a new 12MP f/1.8 camera sensor on the back with a 12MP selfie cam on the front. Magic Keyboard and Apple pencil support are still around, although that’s limited to the first-generation Apple Pencil. Meaning, you’ll need yet another adapter. Then the change everyone saw coming – a USB-C port for charging.
If it’s time for you to upgrade and you’ve been waiting for a new entry-level iPad, you (hopefully) won’t have to wait too much longer. Pre-orders are already available with devices starting to ship on 26 October. That’s if there aren’t any shipping delays.
Price and availability
As is usually the case, they’ll take longer to reach SA’s shelves. They’ll also have different prices. We’ll only know local prices when they get here but as a rough indication, the 64GB Wi-Fi-only model starts at $450 (R8,200), reaching $600 (R11,000) for the 256GB option. The WiFi + cellular options go for $600 (R11,000) for the 64GB model and $750 (R13,700) for 256GB option. You’ll have the choice of silver, blue, pink, or yellow colourways.
Here comes the Pro
The iPad Pro also received an update. But we’d challenge anyone to tell it apart from the last generation in a blind test. Other than Apple’s fancy M2 chip, there aren’t a whole lot of notable changes.
There’s better connectivity with more 5G bands and Wi-Fi 6E support. A new Apple Pencil 2 feature, called ‘Apple Pencil hover’, allows you to use the pencil without actually touching the display. And then there is the inclusion of ProRes video recording from the same camera array as the previous model. Any other differences here aren’t worth mentioning. Everything else is… pretty much the same.
Availability and price
As with the new entry-level iPad, the refreshed iPad Pro is available to pre-order now in the US with stock expected to ship on 26 October. Again, South Africans will need to wait slightly longer.
For stock in the US, Apple is keeping prices the same as last year’s. However, devices purchased in the UK and Australia will be subject to an increase of £150 and AU$200 respectively. It’s likely that devices sold in South Africa will incur a similar increase. The new iPad Pro 11in model starts at $800 (R14,600) but prices can get out of control real quick if you’re wanting the bigger option with more than 128GB of storage. The fully-specced 12.9in WiFi + Cellular M2 iPad Pro with 2TB of storage costs an eye-watering $2,400 (R43,800).
Apple TV 4K gets a (slight) refresh
As well as the iPad refreshes, Apple also launched an upgraded Apple TV 4K streaming set-top box. The Apple TV 4K (2022), which differs from the Apple TV app or Apple TV+ streaming service, is Apple’s answer to the Chromecast. It connects to your home network via an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi (model dependent) and allows you to stream content from various sources.
In the latest refresh, Apple has included its A15 Bionic chip – the same one found in iPhone 13s – which it said boosts CPU and GPU performance by 50% and 30% respectively.
HDR10+ support is now available for content that features it, along with the other usual High Dynamic Range formats like Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid log-gamma). You have Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus as the supported audio formats.
Lastly, the new remote features a mic so you can talk to Siri if you’re lonely and a USB-C port for charging. No surprises there.
Dates and prices
The Apple TV 4K (2022) comes in two flavours, one with 128GB of internal storage and Wi-Fi connectivity, and another with 256GB of storage and both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity options.
Apple seems to be catching on quick. It turns out people are more likely to buy your product if you don’t make it ludicrously expensive. Who would’ve thought? The 128GB option will cost $130 (R2,400) while the 256GB model will go for $150 (R2,800). Both options are currently available for pre-order and are expected to be available on shelves from 4 November in the US. You know the drill by now, South Africans will likely need to wait a little longer and pay a little more.