Apple Announces New iPads

Posted on September 15, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, iPadOS with 36 Comments

In addition to new Apple Watches and Apple One, Apple today also announced two new iPads, a new 10.2-inch iPad and a new iPad Air, the latter of which resembles iPad Pro and uses a USB-C connection instead of Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector.

“I love my iPad because it’s such a versatile device,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a virtual announcement event. “[And] this is a big year for iPad.”

First up is the “full-sized” iPad, or 10.2-inch iPad, which Apple described as its most popular iPad. The form factor isn’t changing—it still features huge bezels and uses a Lightning connector—but it’s being updated internally with an A12 Bionic chipset that is 40 percent faster than its predecessor with 2x graphics performance. The new 8th-generation iPad starts at $329 and will be available this Friday.

The new iPad Air has been completely redesigned as noted above and comes in several fun new colors. It’s powered by the A14 Bionic chipset, which utilizes a 5-nanometer manufacturing process, has improved front and rear cameras, and stereo speakers. It starts at $599 and is available next month.

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Comments (37)

37 responses to “Apple Announces New iPads”

  1. yoshi

    Paul, just a heads up that the 8th-gen iPad starts at $329 - I think the $399 you have is a typo.

  2. RobertJasiek

    The camera bump destroys the Air. A tablet must lie flat on the table! This leaves only the Mini with reduced reflectance and without camera bump.

    A14 is a significant improvement; USB-C, True Tone and 2nd gen stylus are minor ones. DIN display ratio is as fine as was 4:3. Rounded corners can be tolerated as a minor disadvantage of hiding small parts of the contents. More chassis colours won't hurt.

    I won't buy the Air for these reasons: 30% in-app tax, missing repairability, Apple's anti-repair politics, Apple's customer rip-off politics, terrible file management (even devaluing the A14's output), iTunes on Windows, camera bump.

    • michael_babiuk

      In reply to RobertJasiek: Well, the anti-repair policy you mention is simply an ideological and philosophical argument, IMO, and really not a good one at that. As it pertains to iPads, I have been using one model or another from the first day it became available to the public. And guess what? The only item that required a repair was for a cracked display. BTW, I have had no problems with either the 30 pin old power connector port or the lightning port or the new USB-C port on my iPads or any other internal component, And since replacing the screen is something that Best Buy Geek squad techs are authorized to do -as other 3rd party repair techs were authorized back in the day - your repair objections really only amount to a philosophical argument which, for an iPad purchase decision is somewhat a "strange hill to die on" - so to speak.
      When it comes to other repairs, like a battery replacement or motherboard, Apple usually just gives a refurbished unit as a "repair". (They do that for any Apple Watch repair - even for a cracked display screen - because I suspect that with the modern manufacturing trends that use glue - in copious amounts to secure internal components - unit replacement is a better option.) Back in the day, when an automobile engine water pump would break a seal or a bearing, the person would return the whole water pump and receive a refurbished water pump in its place. Apple tends to do that as well.
      Now, would you demand that Apple warehouse excess parts somewhere so you or anyone else could perform a "repair" that would satisfy warranty standards? (Those are legal ramifications to consider for any "right to repair" law that is forced upon ANY manufacturer.)
      Personally, there is precedent for any manufacture to supply spare parts to anyone but invariably, that manufacture also states that any repair not performed by an authorized source voids any warranty - even for purchased repair parts used.
      One final thing. Taking your iPad in to Apple or an Apple Watch for any "replacement repair" works for the environment as well since Apple recycles the returned defective unit in a responsible manner.

      • RobertJasiek

        In reply to Michael_Babiuk:

        Adjust to reality (instead of meta-discussion about philosophy) - watch some Louis Rossmann youtube videos.

        The "authorised by Apple" system is wrong in itself because it violates laws of fair markets.

        What right to repair means in practice: standard screws, simply removable backplate, batteries ISO standardised like A, AA, AAA, AAAA batteries, prohibited glue... Hence products last 15 instead of 3.5 years, battery replacements take seconds and cost a few euros instead of the current >€120, and devices remain the endusers' property (which they are according to the law) instead of letting Apple steal property, endanger files on it and replace by refurbished devices of (from the endconsumer's POV) unknown quality.

        Until ca. 1980, products had repair manuals, lasted long, replacement tiles were available and warranties did not prevent repairs. So do not pretend it would be impossible. Only two things are required: prevent manufacturers from hindering others to repair and force manufacturers to sell all individual components to anybody at fair market prices while it produces the devices. Hence enforce the existing(!) laws of fair trade.

        Right to repair is not an illusion of impossibility but merely a consequence of enforcing fair trade. For any manfacturer and its products.

        The by far greatest protection of environment and ressources is to avoid unnecessary production, ensure longivity and very easy repair. In comparison, Apple's environment efforts are tiny and mainly serve as pretence for continuing with ruthless business practices.

        • michael_babiuk

          In reply to RobertJasiek: I must respectfully disagree with your premise, “What right to repair means in practice: standard screws, simply removable backplate, batteries ISO standardised like A, AA, AAA, AAAA batteries, prohibited glue...”
          That is NOT what the right to repair laws state or demand manufactures adopt engineering design practices based upon ideas presented in your premise.
          BTW, have you seen any IFIXIT repair videos showing how to replace an iPad battery? If you haven’t, trust me - it is not a repair that only takes a few seconds to accomplish.
          I understand the proposed EU “right to repair” laws would force manufactures to adopt design practices outlined in your premise - but the flip side of that “bureaucratic utopian vision” is stifled design innovations and reduced initial manufacturing costs. So, to the EU - thanks but no thanks.

  3. JH_Radio

    There's one reason why somebody would want a pro over the iPad air. bigger screen for the 12 inch version.

    • red.radar

      In reply to JH_Radio:

      You go Pro because you want high refresh rate, and you want more than 64gb of storage. I also bet it has more ram.

      In reality the Ipad air is a farce.. its really a low spec'd Ipad Pro. It shares the same design language. I don't know why they even bothered with the "256gb" sku.

      It makes the Ipad refresh feel incomplete because now you have to make the awkward choice of sacrificing the touch id sensor if you go with the Air. In reality they should have had the PRO ready to go as well or held off releasing the air till spring...

  4. red.radar

    Looks like the display is not high refresh. That is a bummer. I guess have to get "the pro" model for that feature.

    And the paltry 64gb of storage means you are bumping quickly into pro territory if you go with the 256gb option. I think its priced wrong or it needs to come with 128gb of storage as default. Looks like the sku is made to justify the upsell to the Pro model.

    meh.... i will wait for the holiday sales and try and snag it then.

  5. angusmatheson

    Ok, is it just me but isn’t 5nm pretty awesome. It was just a throw away line. But Qualcomm snapdragon is still 7nm. AMD is baking 7nm. Intel is struggling to get to 10 and say 7nm is delayed. As a guy who had a late PowerPC mac, I still think of Apple having slower hardware you put up with to use the Mac. But these days their chip innovation has been surprising. Fist 64 bit ARM, and now first mainstream 5nm ARM seems impressive. They work great in phones and iPads, but I do wonder how they will work in Macs. We’ll soon see.

  6. wright_is

    A12 and Lightning, A14 and USB-C... Make up your mind!

    If the new iPad had a modern processor and USB-C, I might be interested.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to wright_is:

      Meh, the A12 will be supported for another 4+ years and is plenty fast for the iPad. As a non-iPhone user who probably has multiple Type C chargers that is probably a bigger annoyance for you; isn’t there a Type C <> Lightning power adapter?

  7. ghostrider

    Apple have no choice now but to make announcements that sound like new products, but they're not. They tweak things here and there, but Apple haven't really had a new product for years now. The ever faithful will buy them as usual, but if you've bought any Apple product in the last few years, there's actually no requirement to upgrade really. I'll be honest and say that most of the innovation is coming from the Android side - at least manufacturers there are trying new things. Apple seem to have given up and see subscription services as their way forward, and certainly don't have the next big thing coming anytime soon.

  8. olditpro2000

    Seems like there is little reason to go with an iPad Pro versus the new iPad Air, unless you absolutely want or need Face ID, 120 Hz. refresh, and LIDAR.

  9. crunchyfrog

    The new iPad Air. It's like the Pro but without the "Pro". Maybe best called, The Un-Pro iPad.

  10. buzzmodo

    The new iPad air looks great! Amusing that they only have two configs, 64 and 256 Gigs, and $150 price delta. Am curious as to what the actual cost of adding the additional storage really is? And while probably not an app comparison, a 64 Gig SD card on Amazon is $20, 256, $70. But there's a reason why Apple has all that cash too.

  11. krusador

    Fun new colors? Those new colors are hideous! Blech! Just going to wrap it in a cover anyway.

  12. brothernod

    I wonder if the power button fingerprint reader was a covid pivot for less friction masked usage.

    Think it's a sign the iphone 12 will not have an under-glass fingerprint reader?

  13. bassoprofundo

    Yikes... I just got my daughter a new Air for school a couple of weeks ago but that isn't supposed to be here until 9/25-10/2. Hate to pay the same price for an old model. Wonder if they'll let me change it?

  14. tonchek

    Mini? I want a new one. 4 is sloooooowwwww.....

  15. solomonrex

    This was a seriously low key, predictable keynote. Really the only surprises were disappointments - the SE is better than the 3 but also costs more. The ipad Air is just a pro now ($150 for the bump up in storage? yeesh). And there's more subscription options than ever.

    You know that Indiana Jones quote? "...seems we've reached an age when life stops giving you things and started taking them away."

    That's how tech feels right now. Oh, the Apple Watch gen 1 was genuinely new and we can say that the 02 sensor, while not terribly clever, is a step forward. But it's not really new in a significant way. Even the watch turned out disappointing - as a tech object, it's just fine for a handful of not necessary things.

    And now we're at the point where amazing internet functionality for free ( free news on google reader, gmail at 1gb storage, oneDrive, amazon scanner, skype, mp3 music lockers, etc) is turning into subscriptions for everything. Maybe it's inevitable, but it's going to suck.

  16. curtisspendlove

    Yeah. This keynote, although well-produced, was pretty lackluster. The new iPad upgrades are great but I upgraded my Air late last year so there’s no major reason to upgrade it again so soon.

    The Apple Watch SE was the most interesting thing they announced today to me.

    but I do now expect the new iPhone will have the Power Button TouchID. And I’m guessing FaceID as well.

    “best of both worlds...” I can already hear the presentation.

  17. mikefarinha

    Microsoft needs a competing Surface tablet running Android at the same price point. Microsoft should consider themselves the Rolex to Apples Gucci.

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