This week, Apple unveiled a pair of latest iPads. Whereas the much-anticipated M2-powered iPad Professional is the spotlight of the season, it’s really Apple’s entry-level Tenth-gen iPad that’s a a lot larger — and weirder — improve for the corporate’s pill lineup.
In any case, the M2 iPad Professional isn’t a lot of a shock; it’s principally the identical iPad Professional we’ve identified and cherished for the previous 4 years, supercharged with a sooner CPU and expanded Wi-Fi 6E assist.
Then again, the iPad (2022) is a complete new ballgame. This new iPad leaves the previous decade of conventional iPad designs fully behind, adopting the extra trendy design launched to the iPad Professional in 2018 and the iPad Air in 2020. Whereas its measurements are barely completely different, it seems shut sufficient to its extra premium siblings to suit correctly into the lineup for the primary time.
It additionally unifies Apple’s iPad household in different methods, however sadly, the modifications it brings aren’t fairly as common as you’d anticipate. In reality, it’s arguably close to the highest of the listing of the oddest merchandise that Apple has ever launched.
Hi there, USB-C
Maybe a very powerful constructive notice for the brand new Tenth-generation iPad is the addition of USB-C, marking the primary time in 4 years that Apple’s total iPad household has used a standard connector.
Apple first introduced USB-C to the 2018 iPad Professional. Nevertheless, whereas Apple put a constructive spin on it, the underlying implication is that it was transferring away from its beloved Lightning connector as a obligatory compromise. It was to make sure that the brand new iPad Professional would work with the type of equipment an expert viewers wants, akin to higher-end shows and cameras.
In the meantime, the remainder of the world continued its trek towards USB-C, and Apple started to embrace the brand new connector in its mid-tier iPad lineup critically; first, the 2020 iPad Air, adopted by the sixth-generation iPad mini in 2021.
This left the entry-level iPad as the one Apple pill nonetheless to make use of the Lightning connector. That didn’t look like such a significant issue; for the reason that ninth-generation iPad, launched in 2021, nonetheless had the standard design, with massive bezels and a front-and-center house button, the Lightning port match proper in.
In what’s maybe the most important signal of issues to come back, the usual iPad has gained the great redesign of its siblings and adopted the USB-C port within the course of. This makes the iPhone the one mainstream Apple machine that also makes use of the Lightning port, however there’s likelihood that may also finish with this 12 months’s iPhone 14 lineup.
Lightning lives on in infamy
Sadly, a decade of Apple gadgets with Lightning ports has created an issue. A plethora of equipment — together with a lot of Apple’s personal — nonetheless use the proprietary port.
That features many iPhone and iPad equipment, from the AirPods to the AirPods Max. Apple made some even stranger selections for its Lightning port through the years, including it as the usual charging assist for many Mac peripherals, together with wi-fi keyboards, mice, and trackpads.
In reality, it could be the peak of irony that Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad contains a USB-C connector, whereas Apple’s newest Magic Keyboard for the iMac nonetheless prices with a Lightning connector.
So, with that in thoughts, it in all probability shouldn’t come as a giant shock that Apple has performed a equally foolish factor with its newest Tenth-generation iPad.
Enter the Apple Pencil
When Apple unveiled the brand new flat-edged iPad Professional 4 years in the past, it used the chance to debut a much-improved second-generation Apple Pencil. Though the first-generation Apple Pencil launched alongside the unique 2015 iPad Professional charged through Lightning, the brand new model attaches to a magnetic connector on the lengthy fringe of the iPad Professional to cost wirelessly.
It was a powerful new design because it lets iPad Professional house owners maintain their stylus useful once they aren’t utilizing it whereas guaranteeing that it’s all the time charged up and able to go. That was a stark distinction to the unique Apple Pencil, which needed to both be plugged right into a separate charger — utilizing a small and easily-lost charging adapter — or very awkwardly caught into the Lightning port on the underside of the iPad.
When the 2020 iPad Air and 2021 iPad mini adopted the trendy iPad Professional design, in addition they gained compatibility with the brand new second-generation Apple Pencil — wi-fi charging and all. So, now that the 2022 iPad has been equally redesigned, you’d anticipate it to comply with swimsuit, proper?
Sadly, that’s not what’s occurred. As a substitute, for no matter incomprehensible cause, Apple has chosen to restrict the brand new entry-level iPad to solely the unique, first-generation Apple Pencil. Within the course of, it’s additionally made a nasty design even worse.
Having an Apple Pencil protruding from the underside of an iPad has all the time been an odd design alternative. Granted, Apple supposed this for use mainly for fast top-ups, however many of us have discovered it simpler to cost their Apple Pencil this fashion usually, particularly contemplating how straightforward it’s to lose the small dongle wanted to plug it into a normal Lightning cable.
Now, with the change to USB-C, Apple is giving us one other dongle to take care of. For the reason that first-generation Apple Pencil nonetheless makes use of a Lightning connector, the one method to plug it into the underside of the brand new iPad is to make use of a brand new “USB-C to Apple Pencil Adapter.”
That is successfully a USB-C to Lightning adapter, however Apple is branding it particularly for the Apple Pencil as a result of it’s designed for that comparatively slim goal. Very similar to the female-to-female Apple Pencil Lightning charging dongle, this new USB-C to Apple Pencil Adapter contains a feminine Lightning port on one finish to connect to the Apple Pencil and one other feminine USB-C port on the opposite finish for connecting the USB-C cable that comes together with your iPad.
In that regard, one may argue it’s a slight enchancment over the unique Apple Pencil design, as you received’t want to go away the stylus protruding the underside of your iPad. As a substitute, you’ll connect it utilizing a normal USB-C-to-USB-C cable. However because you’ll must maintain each the dongle and the USB-C cable useful, it received’t be almost as handy as plugging it in straight. Not solely is there no method to retailer the Apple Pencil on the 2022 iPad, however you now must maintain a tiny dongle with you too.
And there’s one other catch right here. Whereas Apple has simply begun together with the USB-C to Apple Pencil Adapter within the field with the first-generation Apple Pencil, it’s not doing so with the Tenth-generation iPad. That’s comprehensible since not each new iPad purchaser will go for an Apple Pencil, nevertheless it’s one thing Apple Pencil house owners might want to contemplate when upgrading to the brand new iPad.
What we’re finally left doing is scratching our heads and questioning, “why?” The 2022 iPad is such a significant overhaul in so many regards in comparison with its predecessor. Apple may have gone all the way in which with 2nd gen Apple Pencil assist to convey straightforward storage and handy charging. As a substitute, what now we have is a messy, complicated, and clunky charging system that can (rightfully) be dunked on for some time to come back.