In October, Apple showed as many as three new models in the iPad line — a couple of «programs» on the M2 chip and an updated basic iPad in a modern design without a Home button. Yes, it sounds cool, but in reality we have a completely strange device.
Despite the new screen, it has an air gap between the glass and the display, Type-C transfers files using the USB 2.0 standard, and there is still no support for the 2nd generation Apple Pencil with a magnetic mount. At the same time, the price has increased — from 329 to 449 dollars, and the minimum amount of memory has remained the same — all the same 64 gigabytes!
Details on why the iPad 10 is the most unfortunate iPad ever told here. And in the summer, I planned to update my handy gadget, stared at the minimal Pro 11, Air M1 and waited for a new basic iPad. The time has come and I bought last year’s base 256 GB iPad 9. What eventually came out of it, now I will tell.
Why not Pro or Air?
Because my previous iPad 8 left the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. And if you take a new Pro or Air, you will definitely need to buy a keyboard for them (this is another 30 thousand on top) and in total the overpayment for the “typewriter” will be 60 thousand, and I bought the iPad 9 for 36 thousand! Given that I’ll be solely writing texts, taking notes by hand, sketching websites, and watching YouTube on the iPad, the thousand dollars on top is not worth it.
So it turns out an ideal option for those who need an iPad «here and now.» Now let’s talk about why this tablet is still worth attention.
He is still powerful
Inside the iPad 9 is an A13 Bionic chip like the iPhone 11, and while it’s not as cool as the M1 in the iPad Pro, why more? Of course, if you edit videos on a tablet, which most people probably don’t, and process heavy RAW photos in batches, then the iPad 9 is not for you. But for ordinary users, like me, who use the tablet not as the main, but as an auxiliary working tool, its performance is more than enough.
Three applications can be opened on it at once, all games are launched (at maximum graphics), the system does not slow down, applications do not unload from memory for a long time, and what else is needed? And nothing! The iPad 10, by the way, is not much better than the iPad 9 in terms of performance, because it has the A14 chip from the iPhone 12, which is only slightly more powerful.
The screen is great too.
It’s no better than the iPad 10 and doesn’t stand out from other tablets. It’s already old a good Retina-matrix without 120 Hz, without a fashionable mini-LED backlight, and there is also an air gap that will not be visible if you do not look at the screen under direct light. The brightness is 500 nits, there is no HDR support, but it costs between $20 and $400. And there is one moment.
Of course, you can buy some Xiaomi Pad 5 that has a better screen, stereo sound with Dolby Atmos, but it does not have iPadOS, which is exactly what makes people buy an iPad. But more about the system later.
Frames … You should not be afraid of them. They are here and by modern standards they are straight healthy, but they are black in all color options, so you will not notice them while working on the device. I assure you, you will be ready to forgive them when you notice the work of True Tone technology, which adjusts the shade of the screen to the lighting around you.
For example, if you have a warm lamp at home, the screen will also become warm, if you are outside under a blue sky, the screen will become neutral with a slight blue tint. In general, you get the point. The main thing is that True Tone relieves significant stress while working with the device, and even after several hours of continuous writing, the eyes will not feel tired. Reading with True Tone is also much more comfortable, and there is no such thing in Android tablets and in the iPad 8 either.
iPadOS has all the main features here (except for one)
The main reason why everyone buys an iPad is the system and it has all the main features here. You can open as many as three applications at the same time — two in Split View and one in the Slide Over window. So you can write text and google information at the same time, or, as I do now, work chill while watching YouTube.
And if you want to write to someone or make a note, the third application can be called up with a swipe from the right edge.
iPadOS 16 has a feature with creating a quick note by swiping from the lower right corner. You can also copy text from images and copy objects onto them. I appreciated handwriting with Apple Pencil, and yes, it works in Russian.
There is also support for Bluetooth mice and trackpads. By the way, Logitech has a Combo Touch keyboard with a trackpad, backlit keys, and even a scissor mechanism. With it, the iPad 9 turns into an analogue of the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard. Moreover, the cursor in iPadOS is unusual, but convenient — it is a circle that, when hovering over objects, takes their shape and this is really some new level of interaction with the interface.
But this is all nonsense.
The ultimate feature of iPadOS is Universal Control, an option that allows one mouse and one keyboard to control your Mac and iPad at the same time when they are standing side by side. You can keep the plan on the tablet, and do the main task on the computer. iPad can be used as an external screen for Mac over wired or Wi-Fi.
Android is far from that. Apple has brought the operating system of its tablets almost to the ideal. The main thing is that all the main features work the same on all iPad lines, so there will be no fundamental difference for a wide range of users with iPad Air or Pro.
What’s missing is Stage Manager, an option that adds a windowed interface to iPadOS and organizes them into stacks so you have multiple workspaces. I use the MacBook all the time, but on 10/11-inch screens this feature looks ridiculous, but on 12.9 it’s a completely different matter. Therefore, the lack of Stage Manager on the iPad 9 does not upset me at all.
Although, it seems to me that this device could cope with the windowed mode. Who knows, maybe the chip will appear in the future.
The first Apple Pencil is still OK
iPad 9, like iPad 10, supports the first generation Apple Pencil. It recognizes 2048 degrees of pressure, tilt, and drawing with it is as convenient as the second generation. The only thing is that there are no taps to switch to the eraser, and charging is done through Lightning.
Yes, the design is ridiculous with the iPad 9, but it’s still not as bad as charging the Apple Pencil with the iPad 10. With it, you need to buy a Lightning to Type-C adapter that Apple released recently and connect the stylus to the tablet through it by cable.
It looks like this:
By the way, yes, through the standard Lightning to Lightning adapter that comes with the Apple Pencil, and the Lightning to USB-C cable, you won’t be able to sync and charge the stylus from the iPad 10.
iPad 9 has more accessories than iPad 10
For those who don’t know, Apple has changed the standard for connecting keyboards with the iPad 10. This is the same Smart Connector, but unlike the iPad Pro / Air, it is located on the left side, so the Magic Keyboard cannot be connected to it. Keyboards from previous generations cannot be connected either, because the edges have become straight.
There is currently only one keyboard available for the iPad 10, the Magic Keyboard Folio with trackpad and scissor keys. It costs $249, in Russia about $200. For a second, for the iPad 9, you can buy a branded Smart Keyboard for $100 or Logitech Combo Touch with a trackpad, which will be even cooler than the Smart Keyboard Folio for $100.
And these are not the only keyboards with Smart Connector for iPad 9.
Lightning here, Type-C would be better, but also ok
I really look forward to the moment when all devices switch to Type-C. I have a Google Pixel, iPad mini, MacBook Air, Galaxy Buds 2 and I can charge every device with the same cable. Conveniently? Not that word! For iPad 9, you will have to carry an additional Lightning with you, but there’s nothing to be done — we have what we have, we can’t put another connector here. But I can’t call it a disadvantage of the device — it’s just a nuance.
You can connect flash drives here; for this, the well-known Chinese marketplace has a lot of adapters from Lightning to USB. Here you need to take into account that the connector works at USB 2.0 speed, so heavy files will be transferred for a long time. Only something tells me that most of these files will not be downloaded to this tablet, and presentations and spreadsheets can feel great in the cloud.
Also note that the iPad 10, despite the Type-C connector, has exactly the same slow USB 2.0 standard. Therefore, it is not worth deceiving yourself.
Playing with a gamepad on a 10.2-inch screen is a pleasure
I can’t call myself a fan of mobile games, but if you have an Xbox or PlayStation controller, you can connect it and play almost any game from the App Store. For example, in PUBG, Call of Duty Mobile, GTA, Asphalt or Oceanhorn 2, I strongly recommend the latter. And the iPad in this case will turn into an analogue of the Nintendo Switch, although there are not so many large-scale titles on iOS, but you can successfully pass the time on a train or plane.
For myself, I found such a scenario — I download the Xbox application and remotely play all the games from my console, which is in my house. Top feature if you don’t want to take the console on trips, but you don’t want to break away from playing your favorite games. The main thing is that the tablet and set-top box should have equally fast and stable Internet.
I tried the iPad mini for this task and the 8.2-inch screen was not enough, but the 10.2-inch iPad 9 is just right.
Design is the last thing you should think about in iPad 9
Yes, putting an iPad Air next to it with a bezel-less design will make the iPad 9 look outdated. But just because there are iPads with new cases doesn’t make the old iPad 9 case any worse. It is comfortable, recognizable and still pleasant. There is no feeling that the device is some kind of old, although the design, it’s scary to imagine, is 10 years old (it appeared in the first iPad mini).
Nevertheless, for the opportunities that iPadOS gives and the cost, such a trifle can be forgiven. Seriously, I’ve been writing this text all evening and the frames below and above do not cause discomfort. It turns out such a most utilitarian device. Such an iPad 9 is, it does not want to seem like an «adult» iPad, it is ordinary — classic. Such as it is.
For those who overpay for design, they don’t want the M1 and a 120 Hz screen, but they need a reliable workhorse, it is the iPad 9 that even at the end of 2022 is an excellent device.