Mini-Evaluate: The $ 329 iPad from 2021 remains to be what most individuals can purchase


  • The new 9th generation iPad looks exactly like the last one (and the one before it too).

    Andrew Cunningham

  • The 10.2-inch screen is smaller than the 10.9-inch screen on the iPad Air 4, although the Air is slightly smaller overall.

    Andrew Cunningham

  • The $ 159 Smart Keyboard and $ 99 Apple Pencil add quite a bit to the tablet’s starting price of $ 329.

    Andrew Cunningham

  • This is the first generation Apple Pencil with all of its weaknesses.

    Andrew Cunningham

  • The Smart Keyboard still lacks a trackpad and uses Apple’s stiff butterfly keys; Instead, consider Logitech’s combo touch keyboard, which is more comfortable to the touch, and adds a trackpad.

    Andrew Cunningham

  • The home button on the front and the TouchID sensor are unchanged as usual.

    Andrew Cunningham

Apple does not usually rely on budget-friendly gadgets. And that strategy has proven itself over the past two decades – the company’s penchant for premium products at premium prices (not always inappropriate or uncompetitive prices, but premium prices) has paid off in the form of consistently exceptional sales and profit margins.

(Ars Technica may receive compensation for sales from links in this post through affiliate programs.)

But the handful of explicitly budget-conscious devices Apple sells, including the 10.2-inch iPad for $ 329 and the iPhone SE for $ 399, are some of the quietest devices it makes. They’re using processors that were in Apple’s flagship phones just a few years ago, rather than mediocre cheap chips designed specifically for cheap devices. You get years of software and security updates, as opposed to the puny two years that Google forces phone manufacturers to participate in the Android One program (to take an example). And while Apple is cutting costs by recycling years of designs and parts, it typically doesn’t skimp on construction and materials, so your hardware still looks and feels great despite the obsolescence.

That’s all you need to know about Apple’s 9th generation iPad, which you can still pick up for $ 329 starting September 24th. I’m sure more people will read our 6th generation iPad mini review because it has a brand-new design and a state-of-the-art processor in it. There is certainly more to say about this device. But a lot more people are going to buy and use that hideous, everyday, plain old iPad.

What’s new

Technical data at a glance: 2021 Apple iPad (9th generation)
screen 2160 × 1620 10.2 inch (264PPI) touchscreen with True Tone
SHE iPad 15
Central processor Apple A13
R.A.M. 3GB
GPU Apple A13
storage 64GB or 256GB
Networking 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 (LTE optional add-on)
Ports Lightning, 3.5mm headphone jack
camera 8MP rear camera, 12MP wide angle front camera
size 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 in (250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5 mm)
weight 1.07 pounds (487 g) for the Wi-Fi model; 1.09 pounds (498 g) for cellular
battery 32.4 Wh
Starting price $ 329 (WiFi only)
Other perks Apple Pencil support, Smart Connector

Double the memory

The greatest improvement of the iPad of the 9th Year 2021 not. That’s 32 GB of additional storage space for apps, photos, games and locally downloaded TV programs and films to survive long flights or car journeys.


I would almost always recommend the iPad 8th to anyone using the iPad 8th. But for the casual user who appeals to the cheapest iPad, 64GB should be enough so that you don’t have to constantly clear up storage space or juggle big apps.

Apple A13

Apple uses its A13 Bionic processor in the 9th generation iPad, a chip that was first featured in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro series in 2019. Like the A12 it replaces, the A13 contains a pair of high-performance CPU cores and four low-power “efficiency” CPU cores plus a four-core GPU.

The 8th generation iPad’s jump from the Apple A10 to the A12 was a huge improvement that made a significant difference in everyday use. The jump from A12 to A13 is not that big. You’ll see a 20 or 30 percent improvement in processor speed and between 25 and 40 percent faster performance in games and other 3D-heavy apps. That’s a nice generational leap, but not transformative – however, the A12 and A13 both feel like a big leap when upgrading from an older iPad to an A9 or A10.

  • We’ll add the other results for the iPad Pro when we can run the benchmarks.

The 9th generation iPad has the same 3 GB of RAM as the 8th generation version at the same time in Slide Over mode; on a 2GB iPad, using Slide Over with Split View will freeze underlying apps until you close the Slide Over window again). Compared to a more expensive iPad with more memory, the 9th generation iPad may need to pause more often when multitasking to reload apps or Safari tabs. use them again.


True Tone screen

The resolution, size, refresh rate and quality of the new iPad screen has not changed, but it does support True Tone, which subtly adjusts the color temperature of the display to the temperature of the ambient lighting. If you don’t like this feature, you can still turn it off in the display settings.

Apple lists “sRGB” color space coverage as a feature of the 9th generation iPad in its data sheet, with the color space box on the 8th generation iPad data sheet being blank. The screen hasn’t improved – earlier iPads already covered the full sRGB color space. Apple just added the color space list to differentiate the entry-level iPad from the more expensive models that support the wider DCI-P3 color space.

New front camera

The 1.2 MP front camera on older iPads is now a 12 MP wide-angle camera. This doesn’t really improve the picture quality – this is still a camera for FaceTime and Zoom calls, not flawless selfies. But the wide-angle camera mode can capture a much larger field of view than the old camera, as long as you don’t mind the noticeable distortion around the edges.

The wide-angle camera also supports Apple’s “Center Stage” function, which was first seen in the 2021 iPad Pros. If you’re using FaceTime or any other video app that supports it, Center Stage activates a pseudo panning effect that can track you as you move while keeping you in the center of the picture. It’s not an essential feature, but it’s kind of neat and works just as well here as it does on the iPad Pros.