Apple just introduced a new 10th-generation iPad last month, which is currently on sale for $50 off. However, it’s still not as inexpensive as the 9th-generation model, which Apple has now dropped to a new all-time low: $270.
The 2021 iPad, also known as the 9th-generation iPad or 10.2-inch iPad, is Apple’s entry-level tablet. It has 64 GB of internal storage, a 10.2-inch screen, Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), an 8 MP rear camera, a 12 MP front-facing camera, and stereo speakers. Just like the iPhone SE, it has a physical home button, which contains the Touch ID sensor for biometric authentication. The iPad is powered by an A13 Bionic chip, which was also used in the iPhone 11 and second-gen iPhone SE.
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Since this is the cheapest iPad that Apple currently sells, there are some downsides. Perhaps the most annoying is the port — this model uses a Lightning connector for charging and data transfer, instead of the USB Type-C connector found on newer iPads, Macs, and many other devices. That might not be a big deal if you’re firmly in the iPhone ecosystem, since iPhones have the same port, but it makes interoperability with other devices more annoying. This model also only supports the first-gen Apple Pencil.
If you can deal with the Lightning port and other limitations, the 10.2-inch iPad is still an excellent tablet for web browsing, streaming media, gaming, and productivity work. There’s still a rich ecosystem of cases, keyboards, and other accessories, including Apple’s own Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. The tablet will also likely recieve iPadOS updates for several more years — this is the 9th generation, and this year’s iPadOS 16 update still supports the 5th gen model.