The 10th-generation iPad may have an all-new design when it launches this fall. Check out our exclusive renders and see what has been rumored so far.
In recent years, Apple has updated the baseline iPad annually. It acts as the entry model with a low $329 price that gets even lower for sales and students.
Because it is the entry model, it doesn't see many upgrades or design changes each year. In fact, the 9th-generation iPad is nearly identical to the previous two generations, besides some minor updates to the processor and cameras.
10th-generation iPad rumors
Apple rumors tend to swarm around the biggest and most impressive products, so very little has been shared about the next iPad. Last-minute leaks suggest Apple could be preparing a significant redesign for the 10th-generation model, but it isn't quite what people would expect.
The leaked design shows flat sides, a new rear camera module, and slimmer bezels around the display. However, it retained the Home Button despite moving to a more modern design.
The use of flat sides may indicate Apple Pencil 2 compatibility, which means the original Apple Pencil can finally be retired once the 10.2-inch iPad is no longer sold. Magnets on the rear casing would also allow new folio cases and keyboards to attach.
The CAD designs didn't show details like the Apple Pencil charger or Smart Connector. The new design would warrant placing a Smart Connector at the bottom of the back of the case, similar to the iPad Air and iPad Pro.
The display is shown as slightly larger and may use a 10.5-inch screen. The bezels are the smallest they've been on this model, with barely enough room to accommodate the Touch ID button.
The renders created by AppleInsider are based on these CAD leaks. The original report said that the new design would be used in the 2022 iPad. However, this contradicts a previous leak.
In January, Twitter user Dylandkt shared that the 10th-generation iPad would be a simple processor bump with upgraded wireless technologies. He stated that a redesign would take place in 2023.
This leaker has a credible history but has disappeared from Twitter without explanation. And since the leak was made so much earlier, design plans could have easily changed since.
Other details provided by Dylandkt seem realistic too. He stated that it would use the A14 processor and gain access to 5G networks, Bluetooth 5.0, and WiFi 6 as a result.
Popular leakers like Jon Prosser and Mark Gurman have remained relatively quiet about the next iPad. Their leaks focus on more expensive models like the iPad Pro or other devices like "iPhone 14 Pro."
Gurman last spoke about the standard iPad before the ninth generation was revealed. He stated a thinner model could be coming, but instead, it used the same design as the previous model.
The lack of rumors surrounding the 10th-generation iPad may indicate that Apple won't be changing the design in 2022. Many supply chain leaks occur when Apple places orders for newly designed parts, so a lack of new part orders means less opportunity to leak.
The leaked CAD images could be a prototype device or even showcase the 2023 model mentioned by Dylandkt. While Apple will almost certainly release a new iPad in 2022, only time will tell if it gets a complete redesign or sticks with the three-year-old form factor.
One small hint may have been provided via Apple's software release schedule. A Bloomberg report says that iPadOS 16 will be delayed until later in the fall. This is blamed on the bugginess of Stage Manager in current betas, but it is also possible that icons and imagery in the final release would reveal a redesigned iPad.
Nine generations of iPad
The upgrade cycle for the entry iPad is difficult to predict since Apple has treated it differently throughout its lifecycle. It was first announced as a flagship device before evolving into the budget base model.
The standard iPad was first revealed in 2010 and iterated four times by 2012. After that, the iPad was replaced by the iPad Air for two generations, with no "iPad" model underneath. In 2017, the iPad returned as a budget-conscious school product and replaced the iPad Air.
The 6th-generation model was a processor bump with no notable upgrades. The 7th-generation iPad announced in 2019 debuted the current 10.2-inch display and current design.
The iterations from the seventh generation to the current ninth generation didn't offer significant changes beyond keeping the processor modern. Apple added a 12MP Ultra-Wide camera for Center Stage to the latest 10.2-inch iPad.
Because the iPad is now a budget model, that $329 price point has become an important goal post for Apple. When combined with a student discount, the iPad is $299, and the company uses that as a key advertising point.
So, Apple is content recycling iPad designs with minimal changes as long as it can hit that price point. That's why a complete redesign has eluded the budget model so far.
Pricing the redesigned iPad
Usually, Apple's budget products take on design elements from existing premium models to save on production. For example, the iPhone SE uses the same design as the iPhone 8, which was once a flagship iPhone.
This isn't always true, especially during significant hardware transitions like the one with Apple Silicon. The MacBook Air is the entry model into Apple's MacBook lineup and starts at $999. However, Apple introduced a redesigned model that mimics the 14-inch MacBook Pro with a brand new M2 processor.
That M2 MacBook Air is being sold for $1,199, with the 2020 model holding on to the $999 starting price. This isn't unprecedented, but it is unusual given Apple's usual budget pricing strategy.
If Apple redesigns the iPad with an all-new case and functionality, it won't be easy to maintain that $329 price point. It isn't clear where the price would land, but it likely can't get too close to the iPad Air at $599 without pushing customers away.
There aren't any leaks or rumors about the price, but we can estimate a redesigned iPad could land at about $399. It would be more expensive, but not so far out of the budget range that people will ignore it.
Apple is expected to announce the 10th-generation iPad during an Apple Event in the fall. With the predicted delay of iPadOS 16, an October announcement seems likely.