Apple’s Next Entry-level iPad May Switch to USB-C

Posted on June 15, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Apple, Mobile with 10 Comments

Apple is reportedly planning to refresh its entry-level iPad with a USB-C port, an optional 5G modem, and a slightly bigger display. The information comes from 9to5Mac, which accurately predicted the release of the redesigned M1 iPad Air earlier this year.

Apple’s entry-level iPad, which currently starts at $329, remains the only model that still uses Apple’s proprietary Lightning port, as well as the slimmer design with chamfered edges introduced on the original iPad Air almost 10 years ago. All iPad Pro models now use USB-C ports, and the iPad Air and the iPad mini also adopted these standard ports in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

By adopting a USB-C port, the next entry-level iPad should support faster transfer speeds as well as a much larger ecosystem of external peripherals. According to previous reports, Apple is also planning to use USB-C ports in its future iPhones, though the switch may not happen until next year.

According to 9to5Mac, the next entry-level iPad may also bump the screen size from 10.2 inches to 10.5 inches or even 10.9 inches. Under the hood, this upcoming iPad is expected to use the same A14 Bionic that Apple used in the 4th gen iPad Air from 2020.

“Unfortunately, we have no details on whether the new 10th-generation iPad will stick with the same old design or whether Apple will move to a more modern design matching iPad Air, iPad mini, and iPad Pro. But based on what we know about the new display and connector, the design change seems likely,” the report reads.

In addition to this upcoming entry-level iPad Air, Apple is also expected to launch new iPad Pro models powered by the same M2 chips coming in the redesigned MacBook Air and new 13.3” MacBook Pro. These new iPad models may all be announced later this fall, which is also when Apple will launch its latest iPhones.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Apple’s Next Entry-level iPad May Switch to USB-C”

  1. dftf

    I look-forward to the many commenters who will go in one of two directions:

    The "Apple are only doing this due to the EU, how-dare they stifle innovation", but then when I ask "what-more innovation would you like to see in a cable, given wired-charging is already something like 95% efficient", there is no-answer. (Or they simply argue "Apple will call their bluff and just move to wireless-charging", which is stupid where efficiency is concerned as even the best wireless-chargers can only get up-to around 70-80% efficiency, and that is assuming that (1) the charging-plate and device are perfectly-aligned; (2) no case has been added, that might reduce conductivity; (3) only the official charger for the device is used. Once you factor-in misalignment, cases, third-party and poor-quality chargers and so-on, average-efficiency is more around 40-60%)!

    Or the "Apple shouldn't be forced to change to USB-C, as it means lots of current accessories that use Lightening will have to be replaced", but seem to again have no-answer to the point "so, why when Apple themselves moved-away from the old 30-pin connector was that not a problem then?".

    • Stabitha.Christie

      I remember a bit of wailing and gnashing to teeth when Apple dropped the 30 pin connector in favor of lightening. There was a bit of "Won't someone think of the accessories!".

      My thoughts are option 3. Apple is kinda doing what it always does. Introduce features on high end products and trickle them down to the cheaper models over time. There are exceptions to that rule but I feel like there is a clear pattern there. So the iPd pro got USB-C first, then iPad Air, then iPad mini now the low end iPad.

    • qaelith2112

      Having to replace accessories is a total non-issue. Apple needs only to make its own white USB C chargers and cables with its logo on them and then charge $40 for the same one everybody else gets $12 for. Its user base will buy lots of those without a second thought.

    • MoopMeep

      I find it annoying that every apple devices is lighting except the ipad mini, which is usb-c.

      I guess eventually this will all correct itself but the questions from family members asking why charging doesn't work when they force the lighting cable into the ipad mini are annoying.

  2. Chris_Kez

    Laurent, in the last paragraph you wrote "In addition to this upcoming entry-level iPad Air", but I don't think you meant to include "Air"; you're still talking about the base iPad, right?

  3. sekim

    I have an iPad right now and it still requires a Lightning connector. All our phones, my headphones, even my laptop charge with USB-C. I would definitely consider upgrading my iPad to get rid of the single proprietary cable.

  4. RobertJasiek

    USB-C is nice but a comparatively secondary aspect. The major aspects are as follows. Will Apple continue to punish users declining the iCloud terms by requiring a third device to update the iPad and frequently recurring yield pop-ups? Will Apple also spoil its last iPad model by a camera bump? Will there be reduced reflectance of a laminated display? Will the aspect ratio still be 4:3?

  5. 02nz

    "slimmer design with chamfered edges" - the chamfered edges may make it look slimmer, but it's actually thicker at 0.29 inches than the current Air (0.24) and 11-inch Pro (0.23).

  6. Donte

    Lightning just needs to go. Everything I own now is USB-C expect my iPhone.

  7. spiderman2

    "Apple is obliged by EU law to switch Next Entry-level iPad to USB-C" fixed

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