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New 10.9-inch iPad and M2 iPad Pro review with Jason Aten

On this special episode of the AppleInsider Podcast, special guest Jason Aten joins us for reviews of Apple's new M2 iPad Pro and redesigned 10.9-inch iPad with Magic Keyboard Folio.

Apple's current iPad lineup and Apple Pencil choices are in a confusing moment. The new 10.9-inch iPad is redesigned with an all-screen display, Touch ID sleep button, and USB-C. Another welcome change is the FaceTime camera moved to the landscape or longer edge of the iPad.

Even with all these improvements, Apple's 10th-generation iPad does not support the newer 2nd-gen Apple Pencil. Buyers of this new iPad will be required to use a female-to-female USB-C to Lightning adapter to charge and pair the seven-year-old, 1st-gen Apple Pencil.

Special guest Jason Aten shares a hands-on review with the new iPad, including high praise for Apple's new Magic Keyboard Folio. Unless a user's primary tasks require Apple Pencil, this 10.9-inch iPad is the best option for most people looking for a budget-friendly option.

In contrast, the iPad Pro received minimal updates, and notably, the front-facing camera has not changed position. Apple upgraded iPad Pro to use the M2 chip and added a new interaction method called Apple Pencil hover.

While it may not be a compelling upgrade for M1 iPad Pro users, the speed bump is noticeable with processor-intensive tasks such as RAW photo editing. Jason provides his hands-on review of the M2 iPad Pro and shares his final thoughts what to buy in the current lineup.

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Interview transcript with Jason Aten

Stephen Robles

Welcome to a special episode of the AppleInsider podcast. We're gonna go even deeper on the iPad Pro and 10th-generation iPad because someone is on the show today who has them. And right now we can talk about the official review. Jason Aten, thank you for returning to the show.

Jason Aten

Yeah, no problem. It's, it's been a little while, but it's always a pleasure though.

I know that I only get invited when I have something to offer.

Stephen Robles

First of all, you're a regular on the year in review episodes and you know, I don't want to ask you too often to be on the show and so, you know, I figured once a year, you know, it's not overextending yourself.

Jason Aten

No. That, this is great. I appreciate it.

Stephen Robles

Well, thanks for being on the show and it's great because you have the iPad Pro and the 10th generation iPad in your possession. You have a great review on It'll be a link in the show notes and you talk about the camera on the iPad Pro placement.

We're gonna talk about that. We discussed all the announcements, Wes and I on Friday's. But I thought this would be fun because you have the devices, you had an official review, and I can hear from you directly. And so am I correct that you have both the 10th generation iPad and the new iPad Pro in hand?

Jason Aten

Not only is that the case, I have so many iPads right now, Stephen. I actually have one in front of me of every size iPad that Apple makes. Just to be clear, I have an iPad mini in front of me. I have two older iPad Airs that are like the touch, you know, button version or the home button version.

I have an M1 iPad Air. I have an M2 iPad Pro 12.9 inch, an M1 iPad Pro 11 inch, and a 10th generation iPad. So if I get a little confused, you're gonna just have to bear with me.

Stephen Robles

Well, and this was something we talked about on Friday. When you look at Apple's current line up, just what Apple sells, you can go to and buy any of these iPads.

Right now you have the $329 9th-generation home button iPad still for sale, brand new. You have the new 10th-generation, 10.9-inch iPad. That's like the iPad Air, but not. You have the iPad Air M1, which is the third.

You have iPad Mini as a fourth model, the 11-inch iPad Pro, which is a separate thing from the 12.9-inch, because the XDR mini-LED screen did not come to the 11-inch.

So each one is very, very slightly different in more and more awkward ways.

Jason Aten

Yep. Awkward ways. Yes. That's, that's it right there.

Stephen Robles

So let's talk about the iPad, 10th generation, we called it the 10.9 inch because this is like the, the regular base model iPad is in this weird situation where if you just say iPad, it feel like that's meaningless now.

Like you can't just say iPad, because it could mean so many different models. So the 10.9-inch, the 10th-generation, well there were lots of changes on this model, but the Apple Pencil is kind of like the weirdest situation. Did they send you one of those Apple Pencil adapters too?

Jason Aten

So here was the funny thing that I didn't realize was going to be the case, but everyone was laughing about the size of the adapter, but the adapter is literally just a female to female plug and you have to supply your own USB-C cable to connect to the device. You can't actually use it while it's plugged in.

Everyone's like, "Oh, it's like one of those pens at the bank where it's like connected to the wire." It's like a teller bank. No, you have to charge it up and then use it. I had never used an original Apple Pencil before. I've used, I have about, well, I have a lot of second generation ones because we've gone through a lot of iPads.

And those are like, you just snap it to the side and it pairs and it does all the things and it charges. This one, you have to, like, it sends a pairing request when you connect it and you have to like select pair and then do all the things and then it has to charge. And so very different experience.

But yes, I do have one. I have one of the adapters. It looks ridiculous, but yes, I have one.

Stephen Robles

That's interesting because I saw the adapter and I didn't even talk about this on Friday's episode because I kind of assumed. The adapter would just let you hang the pencil off like before, because when you have the first generation Apple Pencil, it's got the Lightning connector on the back.

You just stick it in, and then it looks like you have a spear sticking out of your iPad. You could injure someone very easily. Yes, And so I guess I assumed the adapter would just let you do that, but with the adapter in the middle where USB-C would plug into the iPad and then the Lightning female connector would take the pencil in and you could still have your spear, but so you need a cable to do that now.

Jason Aten

Yeah. So the adapter it's female to female, right. And so you don't plug the adapter into the iPad, you plug a USB-C cable into the iPad, and then you plug it into one end of the adapter and then you plug the Lightning jack that's on the end of it and you plug it into the other end of the adapter. And there you go.

Stephen Robles

Jason. This is crazier than I realized. I did not realize. So basically, you get a brand new iPad, 10th-generation, you. A new first-generation Apple Pencil, which comes with this new adapter. So if you get a pencil today, I believe it comes with the USB-C to Lightning, both female adapters, but you actually cannot charge the pencil with the iPad in any way. Like you, you literally need another cable. Does the iPad come with the USB-C cable?

Jason Aten

Yes, it did come with the USB-C cable. Okay. So you could use that if you bought the Apple Pencil. But it is kinda wild, but I don't think Apple is making two versions of these adapters.

I think that this is it. But I had heard first impressions from other people on podcasts talking about this was before anyone had had anything to review. Just did you see the adapter? It's like this, you know, two meter long cable. And I'm like, I opened the box and I'm thinking, where did they put the cable in that tiny little box?

I don't understand. But it does come in a completely separate box. It's not in with the Apple Pencil. It's a separate, it's a separate thing. At least for the review units was that that's how they send it.

Stephen Robles

The first generation Apple Pencil, it actually did come with a female to female adapter before also, but it was just Lightning.

So if you wanted to charge your first-generation Apple Pencil with a cable, you could, And that was in the box. You can put that adapter on the back of your Apple Pencil and then you plug a Lightning cable into it and you would charge it. This is a weird question.

If you've never used a first generation pencil, you don't have this, but I'll be curious if you can go USB-C cable out of the iPad with a Lightning on the other end, a USB-C to Lightning cable, and then plug it into that old style Lightning. The Lightning female to charge the Apple Pencil. I guess that would work.

Jason Aten

What I don't know is you may not be able to pair it that way. I don't know why I would say that. I will tell you. I did, you're welcome. Try to plug the USB-C cable into an iPad Pro to see if I could pair the Apple Pencil and it won't. It's like not not supported. It won't do it, it says it's no, get that thing outta here. What are you talking about? We made a special one just for this device. You cannot use that antique thing.

Stephen Robles

Did you also get the Magic Folio Keyboard case?

Jason Aten

Yes. Which is the best thing that Apple has made for an iPad in quite a while.

Stephen Robles

Okay, so let's talk about that because this thing, I like how it looks. It has function row keys, which I wish the Magic Keyboard did, but it really looks like it's not lap-able, like using it in your lap would be a challenge. How is that?

Jason Aten

So it is less lap-able. I, I can't believe I'm using that word. It is less lap-able than a Magic Keyboard. But it is more lap-able than the Smart Folio keyboard. I think that's the right name. So it's kind of in between the two.

Although I would argue that on that last point, it, it's a little bit more balanced if you have a long enough lap where you can put the kickstand out onto your leg, if that makes sense. I would try to do it right now while we're talking, but that's gonna be a really bad podcast moment, so I'll see.

Stephen Robles

We'll leave it for the YouTubers, but the, the Magic Keyboard Folio, that's the official name. It's 250 bucks. I do like that you can take tablet part, leave the keyboard behind. And you still have something on the back with the kickstand, I assume It's like infinite adjustment. Like can you lean it back pretty far?

Jason Aten

Oh yeah. It's like a Surface, basically. I don't know if you're familiar with the Surface tablets? Yeah. You can kick it up to maybe 85 degrees if you're staring at the back of it. So it's not infinite, but you can.

Stephen Robles

Which would put the iPad at like the 120 degree angle.

Jason Aten

Yes. So it's not infinite, but there is more room than even the Magic Keyboard for that matter.

Stephen Robles

I wanna talk about the camera at length, but the camera I think is more connected to the iPad Pro conversation, but you said this iPad 10th-generation is for most people, the iPad they should buy.

And I felt like we talked about this on Friday. With this weird Apple Pencil situation and the M1 iPad air only being, I say only, but it's $150 difference between this iPad and the iPad Air, and you get Apple Pencil to support, you get a better screen. And you get the ability to use a Magic Keyboard if you want, which I almost don't know if that's a benefit because this new Magic Folio keyboard is pretty nice.

Like do you feel like this, it is a better for people to save the $150 and get this weird Apple Pencil situation with this iPad? Or should people consider the iPad Air upgrade?

Okay, so you have to do a little deducing here because I think it, it's tough when you can't unknow the things that you already know.

And people who listen to the AppleInsider podcast are no offense, but they're not normal Apple consumers.

Stephen Robles

They're better than normal people.

Jason Aten

I'll agree. They are a hundred percent better than normal people. That's right. But they are much more sophisticated. Sure. And that's great. But you know, there are what, 1.5 billion iOS device.

Some more that in world and, and I've never seen the AppleInsider podcast numbers, but I don't think you get quite that many downloads. A little less. What I'm trying to say though, is for most people I would be dramatically, astronomically surprised if they're using an Apple Pencil at all.

And the reason I think that that's true is that Apple put the worst Apple Pencil it's ever made with this new device. I think that if a lot of people were using the Apple Pencil on this device, then they would have figured out a different way to do this unless they purely wanted it for like the upsell, which I don't know, maybe that's the case, but I don't think that a lot of people who are buying a sub-$500 iPad could care even remotely less about the Apple Pencil.

Stephen Robles

So the original Apple Pencil launched September, 2015. It is now seven years old. I guess my question would be why didn't they, after seven years, put USB-C on the back? I understand the $329 iPad is still out there with Lightning, education is probably still gonna buy that cheap one, which I also feel like is unfortunate, but either make, they can't call it the second generation, which is weird.

I feel like they kind of painted themselves in a corner calling the second generation Apple Pencil what they did. But I feel like they should have either put USB-C on the first generation or made new Apple Pencils, maybe get away from distinguishing them by first and second generation and just call it like Apple Pencil and Apple Pencil Pro with USB-C.

Do you think they should have done that?

Jason Aten

I do have a lot of feelings about the Apple Pencils and that I think that Apple took maybe the easy way out. But I do also think that maybe that's an indication that they just did the math and said there's not enough people that will care enough for us to put that much effort into it.

But I do think you touched on an important point, the fact that Apple is still selling the ninth-generation. I mean, we have four young children, all of whom at one point in their life have had an iPad with a home button come home from school. I think that the primary purchaser of those are either parents with young children or schools.

And if you think about the number of those that are still in circulation, and they all have Lightning ports. And how often do you think that the protrusion of a Apple Pencil gets snapped off? Right. And they end up having to replace those things. So I feel like they had to have a Lightning option still in the line up. And that's the only reason they're still selling that device for $329.

Stephen Robles

And I mentioned on Friday's episode, I have a friend who works in a public school district doing the iPad and IT stuff. He literally has like hundreds of iPads he deals with, but they're also all like three years old.

And that was one of my like consternations, I feel like a year from now. That the $329 model will disappear. The new 10th-generation will go down to $399. Education will be $349 pricing. And then that'll just be the base model iPad. And we finally move to USB-C and schools will move like four years after that.

But because that $329 model is still there, that's what schools will still buy. And it's just gonna perpetuate the need for Lightning. And so I understand why that the first-generation Apple Pencil is still there and what it's doing. I dunno. I feel like they, Apple had an opportunity to kind of move the needle a little towards USB-C, which they did with the Apple TV remote. I mean, are we like one year away maybe from losing Lightning

Jason Aten

I mean, which your friend probably doesn't have hundreds of Apple TV remotes laying around like they have iPad. But if you think about it, I mean it's an interesting point that we as consumers especially consumers of the devices that you and I use on a daily basis.

We don't think about this, but that base model, that truly base model $329 iPad is an education device. And so is the M1 MacBook Air, right? The 13-inch MacBook Pro is a corporate device that people are like, they keep those things around, not just because they're lazy. It's because they have a huge audience for those devices. It's just not us.

Stephen Robles

So it's gonna be around for a while. I mean you've been using this for a few days compared to other base model iPads. How is the experience just using it?

Jason Aten

It would be easy to think you're using an iPad Air, right?

It's easy to just use it and I mean, it has the A14 Bionic, which it's the most powerful tablet you can buy that is not also an iPad, is what I meant to say.

Stephen Robles

So the iPad mini has the same processor, Right? They're both a A15.

Jason Aten

No, this is the A14 Bionic

Stephen Robles

Oh, so the iPad Mini is the A15

Jason Aten

Yeah. And so does the Apple TV for whatever reason.

Stephen Robles

I mean, I'm glad they update that cause I mean, I don't know. I want to make sure my Dolby Atmos is pumping the right way.

Jason Aten

But if you think about it, they're still selling the iPhone and 12, right, Which is the A14. And so they've just gotta keep making those.

They might as well stick 'em in this iPad. Pretty, pretty decent. But I mean, we were using the iPhone 12 two years ago and it was the most powerful smartphone you can buy, like. There's nothing inadequate about this iPad. The only thing I, and you can probably relate to this, that it kind of struck me at first that I didn't anticipate, is that the base iPad doesn't have the more space option in the display like the pros do.

And so everything looks like comically large to me. It's kind of a weird thing. And if it has it, I haven't, I haven't found it anywhere, but I've looked in place that it is on the other devices and it's just not there.

So the things do kind of look a little bit funny to me. But other than that, there's nothing about this that is slow, it's capable of doing anything that someone who would be buying this device, they're gonna be thrilled with it.

Stephen Robles

Is the non laminated and non P3 display noticeably different from the iPad Air?

Jason Aten

For people who know what those words mean, maybe. If they're comparing them, it's kind of like the display resolution that I, or the scaling that I just mentioned. If you're used to using that on an iPad Pro, for example, and you start using this, it's gonna be like, "Oh, that's different."

But honestly, no one is gonna look at this and be like, "Oh, that display is terrible." Is it as high quality? No. But do you honestly think that most people who are buying an iPad understand what laminated display even means? They have no idea.

Stephen Robles

I take your point.

If you were like, you have multiple children, I have multiple children in that age bracket between like 10 and 13 or so. If you were buying a new iPad, not a refurbished one, which I think there's a whole argument to say get a refurb iPad Air M1, and it might be a better value, but like for your own kids, would you get this one or would you get them the iPad Air?

Jason Aten

I would definitely get them this one. Really, our boys currently use, one of them uses the non M1 iPad Air, so the last version before that, that still had a home button and the other one uses an original iPad Air, I don't even know how old it is, but it still plays Minecraft and that's all he cares about.

So this would be a huge upgrade for them and they would be able to play all the Minecraft that they could ever Minecraft on this device.

Stephen Robles

And they don't care about the Apple Pencils so much?

Jason Aten

Yeah, I mean, they wouldn't be able to tell you what this is called. It's like the white thing dad uses when he is pointing at his screen.

It's a pointing device. They would be really entertained if I could use it, connected with to this adapter. They'd think, what is dad doing? He's apparently signing his mortgage.

Stephen Robles

So the big change also, and we will connect this then to the iPad Pro, is the front facing camera moved to the landscape, long side of the iPad, which most of the time I feel like most people use an iPad in landscape horizontal.

And the camera being in that middle of the horizontal long side makes more sense. If you're using it in a Magic Keyboard, this new Magic Keyboard Folio, like it belongs there. And so before we rant about the iPad Pro's non-change placement, do you find having it there in the middle of the iPad actually makes an improved experience when you use the camera?

Jason Aten

Yes. It is where the camera belongs on these devices. I think there are two types of iPads. There are iPads you should use in landscape orientation, and then there's the iPad mini. When you're reading a book and you hold it the other way, right? Like that's it.

That's the only device, the iPad mini is the only iPad where it is acceptable for any length of time to hold the device in portrait orientation. And so it's ridiculous that the camera continues to be in the spot that it is in.

If you're using FaceTime, if you're using Zoom, like I think that maybe what happened is that Apple looked at whatever the telemetrics and said, "Well, not very many people are using Zoom on iPad Pro, so we don't really have to move the camera."

And I'm like, but there's a reason no one is using Zoom on their iPad because the camera makes it look like I'm looking up my nose, like why is it over there? And if I look, it's in that angle people think like, why is he not paying attention?

Stephen Robles

So in the current placement on the new 10th-gen iPad, it's improved the whole experience?

Jason Aten

Yeah. It's where it's supposed to be. It makes perfect sense. You can look at your display and be looking at the camera at the same time. It's good for FaceTime, it does have Center Stage.

Which I feel like the reason they introduced Center Stage was to make up for the fact that the camera's in the wrong spot. But here you get both of those things. You get Center Stage. Which, to be honest, is still useful if you are setting an iPad on a desk or something and you have a couple people talking to grandma on a FaceTime call or whatever.

It still makes a lot of sense, but it's where the camera is supposed to be. But I wanna say one more thing about the 10th-gen iPad. Specifically the Magic Keyboard Folio. I was surprised by one of the things I thought was gonna be very appealing about this, would be I stopped using my Magic Keyboard with my 11-inch iPad Pro.

I love the Magic Keyboard, but it is heavier than my MacBook Air when I took it on my iPad Pro, and so I thought, this is great. Now they've reduced a lower profile case. I don't know why they didn't make it for all of the devices, but hey. But when you compare an iPad 10th-gen with this folio to an iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard, it's actually thicker than the iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard.

It is not a lot, but it is actually thicker. And if you think about it, the keyboard itself part is probably the same. Right. And then the backing is a little bit thicker because it's got a kickstand. The only difference is, I think I did not do the math.

It feels heavier, but it feels a little bit less dense. And I think that's because the hinge is obviously very different, right? There's no charging in the hinge. It's literally just the smart connector magnets and a piece of rubber.

So that, I think it loses some of that weight there, but I will tell you it's great that the keyboard comes off of it, but I don't think you'd wanna sit and hold the iPad with the back case for very long, because it's probably 50% of the weight of the iPad.

Stephen Robles

So is it lighter than the Magic Keyboard?

Jason Aten

I think it's pretty darn close. I would say that they feel almost the same, but it doesn't feel much lighter.

Stephen Robles

There is this funny page now where, I'll put this into show notes, but it's select iPad keyboard. And it shows the Magic Keyboard Folio top left. That's the new product. Its compatibility is exactly one iPad, the 10th-generation.

The Magic Keyboard, I guess this never hit me, but I guess the moniker Magic equals trackpad. If something is magic, it has a track pad. Unless it's the magic mouse, but we won't go there.

Jason Aten

Trackpads are magic. I mean, Apple's trackpads are really good though.

Stephen Robles

They're incredible. No, I love it. But then you have the Magic Keyboard, which is floating iPad, and that's available for iPad Pro and iPad Air. And then you have the smart keyboard, which is for the ten and a half inch iPad Pro from years ago, the old iPad Air and everything up to the ninth generation iPad.

And then you have the Smart Keyboard Folio, which is for the iPad Pro newer generations. And the iPad air newer. So if you want something without a trackpad, you can get the Smart Keyboard Folio. But if you want it with a trackpad, it's a little confusing.

Jason Aten

If you want the magic, you have to pay more. Really the only difference between the Smart Keyboard and the Smart Keyboard Folio, if I remember, is that the Smart Keyboard did not cover the entire back.

And it was the one that you had to like do an origami, you know, goose or something or swan, in order to get the keyboard to come out from the other side of the device.

Stephen Robles

I do remember that. I really did used to like, I think it's the Smart Keyboard Folio. Which was basically the keyboard without the trackpad. I used it with my iPad Pro, but it was so light and thin, and the keyboard, you know, it was that like weird material. The keys weren't really like separate, you know, it'd feel kind of mushy sometimes.

But I loved how light and thin it was, and it never felt cumbersome. And now, people have been asking me, I'd be curious your thoughts, I wanna buy an iPad. I want to get a Pro, or maybe an Air, like what should I get? And when I think about the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard, I have to tell people like think twice about taking it with me.

When I had an 11-inch with the Folio Keyboard, I took it everywhere. I took it to coffee shops, I took it traveling, whatever, like use it in the cars. I'd wait for the kids rehearsal, like whatever.

Like I would use it everywhere, but the 12.9-inch with Magic Keyboard, I feel like it's the same decision as do I wanna bring my laptop, which is the point, like it's supposed to be a laptop replacement.

But it's so heavy. It feels thicker than my 14-inch MacBook Pro. And then I have the thought, do I just take my 14-inch MacBook Pro and leave the iPad Pro behind with the Magic Keyboard because it's so heavy and weird?

I feel if someone was going to get one iPad to rule them all, and didn't have multiple sizes, they're just getting one. They have the funds they might want like a Pro model. Which do you recommend people get in that situation? In light of all these new iPads?

Jason Aten

I do just have to say I really like that callback because the very first episode of AppleInsider, we talked about Mordor.

I don't know if you remember that. We did have a Lord of the Rings reference then, and just that was fantastic. I did mention though, that I stopped using the Magic Keyboard with my iPad Pro. I use the Smart Folio keyboard. That's what I use most of the time with it.

I also have the just Smart Folio, which is what you would think it's the Smart Folio, but without the keyboard. It's the exact same form factor. It just doesn't have buttons on the part that goes across the screen when you fold it out.

And if I'm gonna take my iPad somewhere where it's gonna be in my backpack, then I will just take it with the Smart Folio Keyboard because then I can pull it out and I can still use it.

And on an airplane that's compact enough that you can actually still type and you can still work, and I mean, it's gonna be close enough that I can just touch the screen. You know, it has a touch screen, so I don't actually need the trackpad. And so that works great. It works that way too.

But at home I'll use the Magic Keyboard, but the Magic Keyboard is like an accessory I go get out of a drawer because I have a specific use case for it. It's just not a portable thing for me anymore. And the review unit I have is a 12.9-inch with the Magic Keyboard and like, that won't even leave my desk.

Forget it, I'm not carrying that around.

Stephen Robles

You know what you have me thinking now. I wonder if I wanna get that folio for my 12.9-inch M2 iPad Pro that I have coming on Wednesday, because I do miss how thin and light that was. And it prevents me, like the Magic Keyboard itself sometimes prevents me from bringing it because it's just cumbersome.

So the other new device we have, the M2 iPad Pro. The updates are pretty minimal. Again, we talked about on Friday, like the Apple Pencil hover, the new M2 chip, better camera video recording. I don't think I have ever recorded video on my iPad Pro. I've taken like two pictures.

Although Apple had like this amazing contraption in there announcement video showing an iPad Pro in this like rig, and they're using like cinematic. What? I don't know about that. Like, I don't think anybody does that. The camera on the iPad Pro notably did not change.

Supposedly, number one, the Apple Pencil second generation charges there. And so there has to be magnets. There has to be a way to charge Apple Pencil there. And so if the camera is there, then the magnets and charging can't be there. I feel Apple's pretty good at hardware design. I feel like they probably could find another solution.

We talked about a couple options Friday, like maybe put it on the other long, like maybe charge the Apple Pencil on the bottom edge and redesign the Magic Keyboard slightly so when you close it, it affords a pencil in there. Maybe some other like indention or divot on that other side. And listen, third party case manufacturers are going to accommodate whatever Apple does.

So Apple doesn't have to worry about that. But I mean, what do you think they should have done? Because the camera didn't move and it belongs on the long side.

Jason Aten

I think that Apple makes the iPad and Apple makes the Apple Pencil. And so if they really wanted to solve this problem they could have and they didn't, so that tells me one of two things.

One, that they just didn't wanna change that many things, right? Because I mean, they made a decision, right? Product design is all about decisions and they made a decision about what they felt like was the most important.

And I think, and I have asked Apple this, I really haven't gotten an answer, but I think, so I'm working off some assumptions that on the Pro iPads, and I guess this would be true of the iPad Air because you can use the Apple Pencil.

However, we really can't say that for sure because the iPad Air hasn't been updated since, you know, the last time it was updated. But I think that in their mind, Apple believes that more people who are using Pro iPads care about the Pencil than they do about where the camera is.

I have no idea, but I think that they could have solved this, especially on the 12.9, because I can actually attach the Apple Pencil to the 12.9, like in alignment with one end of the long side. Because there's more than one magnet up there already.

But I think what would've had to happen is in order to do that, they would've had to have the Apple Pencil 3 and they just weren't ready to do that because I don't think that they felt like enough people cared.

I personally think it's absurd that the device that has pro in the name, it has a worse front facing camera than basicallythe entry level model, but it basically is the least expensive. I think they made the wrong choice.

Stephen Robles

I agree. I think pro users probably do care more about the Pencil than camera placement. But that's not to say that no one cares about the camera replacement because there are times, especially when Zoom was being real shady with kernel installation and stuff, they've updated and they've changed their practices on how they install on a Mac.

But there was a time there where I was like, you know what? I'm just gonna use Zoom on my iPad because it's sandboxed and I don't have to worry about any of that weird stuff. But whenever I would use it on my iPad, the camera was weird. And so even if you only use it a few times a year, it would be nice to have a good experience of the camera.

And like I said Friday, Apple is pretty good at hardware engineering and design, like they could probably solve it. Now Wes thinks that maybe a future Apple Pencil will remove the magnetic wireless charging and go back to some kind of port, and then Apple will move the camera. But I feel like there's probably a better option like the bottom edge and accommodate it with a different kind of case.

I mean, what do you think the long term.

Jason Aten

I'm not an engineer, but I think they could have solved this pretty easily if they thought it was a high enough priority. And just to be honest what, you know, my article basically was that there's a glaring problem that existed in the past and that they didn't solve that problem.

The thing about it, to me it's such a glaring problem that the camera's still in the wrong spot, but that Apple could have solved it. Just didn't because they didn't think it was a high enough priority. To me, that actually is a bigger thing because I feel like they made a decision to keep the experience and if they hadn't moved it on the other iPad, it probably wouldn't seem like such a big deal.

But they've clearly acknowledged that the place where this camera belongs is on the long side. How do we know? Because they moved it on one of the iPads and they called it the landscape Ultra wide camera. Like they gave it a name. It's an actual thing. And when you look at the MacBook Pro, when you look at the iPhone Pro, the Pro has always meant you get all of the best features.

There are no features on the iPhone that you don't get on the iPhone Pro, Right? There are no features in the MacBook Air that you don't get in the MacBook Pro. Technically, the MacBook Air has M2, but we all know that like it's coming because they were updated a different time.

Apple would never update the MacBook Pro and give it less than what the MacBook Air has, and so the iPad Pro just got updated at the same time.

Did the non-Pro got a better feature than the iPad Pro got? And I think that to me just, it doesn't make any sense. I think that the way they solve this is Apple Pencil 3 comes out sometime next year. I don't know. I mean, the, the reason it's a bummer is that the iPad Pros seem to be on like an 18 month update cycle.

Which just means we're gonna have to live with this for another year and a half, and I'm sure Apple will solve it. Cause again, they've acknowledged that's where this camera goes. I think that they were just catering to like, okay, well most people who were doing FaceTime with grandma are buying this iPad, so we're just gonna fix it on this.

And here's the way you can solve it, like Apple Pencil 3 charges with MagSafe. Like it wouldn't be hard for them to have two magnets to just line it up on the edges of a MagSafe puck and charge it that way. I hope Wes is wrong.

Please don't put a port back on it. Just wireless charging is fantastic, but just, this doesn't seem like it's that hard of a problem. It just was hard enough that it wasn't worth it to Apple. The number of people that they thought would care. It just happens that some of the people who care talk on podcasts and write articles and that kind of thing.

Stephen Robles

Yeah. I also don't hope they go back to a port. I like the wireless charging. I mean, it's a much cleaner look just for the pencil itself, but just more convenient, you know, to be able to just tap it on the top.

And then also I'll go back and forth between my iPad mini and my iPad Pro, and it's really convenient just to tap the pencil on the side and let it connect for a second, and now it's paired with that iPad without a port.

I mean, yes, it would still be quick, but I think less convenient. And then you got that weird cap on the end, which my kids have lost innumerable number of caps for the first generation Apple Pencil.

Jason Aten

I've already lost one and I've only had this thing for like a day.

Stephen Robles

You lost one of Apple's?

Jason Aten

Shh. Okay, I'll find it. There's a U1 chip in it, right? I can just make it, make noise or something.

Stephen Robles

Oh, I wish. So with the M2 chip, this is not a very updated iPad Pro, even after 18 months. The last one was the M1. It came out April, 2021 and I bought that on launch. Now it's about 18 months later, M2.

Besides the Apple Pencil hover, have you got a chance to try that at all? Any apps that support it?

Jason Aten

Yeah, I mean, I spent most of the time just using the Notes app. Procreate also supports it and it is actually useful. I thought it was kind of a gimmick, but it is kind of useful in Procreate. One of the ways that it's most useful is that when you have the iPad in the hover state, it will show you your brush or your pen and, and it'll show you both, you know, the diameter and the opacity.

And traditionally the way that you would change those things is you'd have to go over to the sliders in the left hand side. But when you have the iPad in hover mode, you can actually just pinch, Right? Which is cool to change the size or move your finger up and down. So it's kind of like a double finger, gesture that you can use.

One of those fingers just happens to be the Apple Pencil at that point. So that's a really unique thing that goes just beyond the hover. The thing that I couldn't quite get Apple to talk about is why the older versions couldn't do this, because they do actually have a hover state. There's an accessibility feature with the Apple Pencil that does something similar with text where you can hold it over the text.

And so clearly there is some proximity sensing that's already happening. I don't know if there's probably some kind of a technical invitation. That's what they always say. But I would love to see that on, it's the same Apple Pencil and it's like, as we said, it's basically the same.

I can't imagine they put something different in, there's no new display layer.

Stephen Robles

There's no new sensors in the display, so it seems weird that the M2 would be the deciding factor for a hover state, like it doesn't seem like it'd be super processor intensive.

Jason Aten

No, but, and I mean there is the graphics is the biggest improvement according to Apple.

I mean, I don't do anything on an iPad to confirm that. I'm sure I'll just take the word for it, that the graphics of the M2 over the M1 is the biggest improvement, but this is not a graphics intensive thing that they're doing.

Stephen Robles

Now, you said in your review the M2 is at times a noticeably improved speed experience over the M1. Where did you see that play out?

Jason Aten

And this was a hard thing for me at first to quantify, because you know, anytime you use a brand new device you're like, wow, everything just feels really snappy. This is like wonderful. I'm opening my photos app and everything is there. I'm not like somebody who does the benchmarks and like benchmarks and stuff, but here's the workflow I do all the time.

I take a ton of photos. Either, you know, with my camera, meaning my iPhone or with, I've got a Nikon mirrorless camera and I shoot raw. Those are all huge files. I love actually editing them on the iPad because I just connect the SD dongle to it. Load 'em all into Lightroom. It's great cause I can use the Apple Pencil.

Not the old one, the new one, or the, I guess they're both old ones at this point, but the less old one. They're about 2018. I mean, it's four years. And so, applying those types of changes felt faster. And to me since it's something I do all the time, if it feels faster, like I give it that credit.

I can't quantify that in terms of a measurement, which is why in my review I put like, if this is something that matters to you, speed processing power, then you will notice it.

Like there are a lot of things we can notice, and especially for exporting those files. Again, I didn't time it. Sure. But it's like stuff that I'm like, oh, this has taking a minute. It was more of a feel type thing. It's very unscientific for me, but it's like real world I think that that's more useful though for people, cause very few people actually care.

We had this problem with when they introduced the M2 MacBook models where people are like benchmarking things and we're like, no one actually cares about this and real world use. So what are we actually talking about here? But if the experience is actually better because of it, then I wanna just kind of call that out.

And my experience, especially with things like photos, and the reason I throw that out there is even though many most users may not be shooting 48 megapixel raw on a mirrorless, DSLR style camera and then importing them from an SD card, they do shoot lots of photos with their iPhone, right?

So anything that you can do better in Lightroom is gonna just be better in your Photos app and sharing them and doing that kind of stuff just seemed to work a lot quicker. One of the challenges that I sometimes have is moving things between like Dropbox and iCloud or the on the device files, or taking things from the Photos app and moving them to Dropbox, like those types of tasks always seemed to take a little longer than they should on the iPad and on the M2 version, I just felt like, wow, it's all just working. So I know it's not very scientific.

Stephen Robles

It's good. I'm curious. We haven't talked about this, because we haven't talked since last year, but what do you think or feel about Stage Manager and how is that playing out on the M2?

Jason Aten

So I will say that it is better on the M2, but the caveat for me there is I'm using a 12.9-inch M2 and it's much better on the 12.9-inch iPad than it is on the 11-inch iPad because the drawback using Stage Manager is that there's all this extra UI around your content or around the thing you're actually doing, but you have more space for that on the M2.

I do feel like the windows resized a little bit less chaotically on the M2, but again, I wanna be careful about, that's why I didn't include much about, I wrote about Stage Manager recently and I didn't include much of that in this review because there was like, I couldn't do a controlled A to B experiment.

It's gotta be running the production, you know, the 16.1 release version. It's gotta be running the release version. I had not I had stopped updating the betas at this point on my iPad because it just would start making me more mad.

Stephen Robles

I mean, I got one, like I said, Friday, it was more so because my wife is using an iPad Pro from like five, six years ago. She's gonna get my M1 12.9-inch. I'm gonna get the new M2, like our listeners know, maybe they don't, but I edit it all my podcasts on iPad. I'm hoping to see some slight difference in M2 speeds, maybe in just like exporting or saving the MP3 files.

Sometimes doing live effects, like compressor and equalizer can be processor intensive, so that'd be nice. The app that I use, the developer, his name is Canis, the company is Wooji Juice, he's gonna try and support the hover thing. He says there might be some already. And I guess that would be another question for you.

Were there any apps that were able to take advantage of the hover without like specific updates? Or do you really have to have this kind of it built into whatever app.

Jason Aten

First, I just wanna call it, you just wanted to say Wooji Juice. A really good name.

I was just like moving the Apple Pencil around, around the interface, they're on the screen and hovering to see what happens? Is there anything that will do anything?

Right? And so for example, if you just hover over the dock, it animates the icons, your app icons. And it's almost like they magnify. It's like the magnify on the dock on a Mac, which everyone apparently hates, but it just does that, not open like the contextual menu.

I think the developers have to add support for it. Like, I'm in Lightroom right now, and like nothing happens. It's not doing anything. And even if I go to the brushes there's nothing happening with the brush, you know, in advance of me doing it. So it's something that the developers actually have to add.

Stephen Robles

Is there anything besides Notes where you found hover was like useful in Apple's first party apps?

Jason Aten

Not at this point. I mean, Notes is the most obvious place to use your Apple Pencil for something other than pointing and tapping, right?

If you're using it, it's because you don't have a mouse and you're too lazy to, you know, stretch your finger two more inches cuz you still have to hold your hand up there. I don't know. It's not like a super useful thing unless you're actually drawing.

Stephen Robles

Or editing a podcast, Jason, editing podcasts. It's amazing.

Jason Aten

You know? That's true. I've been using Ferrite more and so I would agree with you on that. That's a super niche application for especially for someone doing it on an iPad mini.

I can see why you need an iPad mini, cause I touch anything and my fingers are so fat that it just happened to hit everything. If I tried to edit a podcast, it would just be a big jumble. I might as well have like a easy button and just be like, you just decide what to do.

Stephen Robles

Well the thing is I'm torn cause I like the iPad mini for its lightness and palm-ability.

Earlier we had lap-ability. We're talking like palm-ability cause I can't edit a podcast with the iPad on a stand or in the Magic Keyboard, cause then my hand is like up in the air. Elevated and doing that, you know, it's like Steve Jobs said no one wants to hold their hand up and touch a screen.

So I don't wanna do that. I need to hold the iPad to edit, but holding the 12.9-inch iPad, even though it's a beautiful screen with Promotion and I can see every detail of the wave form as I'm editing, I get strain in my hand as I'm trying to hold it, which the iPad mini, I can barely feel that I'm holding it.

It's so light. And so basically what I want is the impossible product of the beautiful 12.9-inch XDR mini-LED display with Promotion with the lightness and size of the iPad mini. That's all I want.

Jason Aten

Do you find that Promotion and XDR mini-LED displays are really helpful in editing audio podcasts?

Stephen Robles

I know it is slightly tongue in cheek, but Promotion, actually, I do notice it because when I go on my iPad mini, I don't kno if you've ever watched like my editing live videos, but I'll scroll very quickly back and forth because I edit as it plays, and so I'm like swiping over farther in the track and deleting things before the playhead even gets there.

I'm moving back and forth pretty quickly. And on the iPad mini it can be a little jarring because my eyes can't really track it as much. But on the iPad Pro with Promotion, when I do that, swiping back and forth, there is not as much blur because it is tracking more like 120 Hertz.

And I do prefer it visually when I'm doing that kind of editing. Obviously for color and stuff, I mean, I notice that in Lightroom, cause I'll edit a photos every once in a while. Take a picture of my Apple Watch Ultra or something, but you know, the color stuff doesn't matter as much for editing podcasts, but I do like the Promotion and that will never come to iPad mini.

Jason Aten

If only they made a iPad with Promotion that was a half pound lighter than the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Well, I think they have an 11 inch version of...

Stephen Robles

But then you don't get the mini-LED. And I did edit on the 11-inch, I had the 2018 11-inch iPad Pro all the way up until last year with the XDR mini-LED screen, and I got it because I wanted that screen.

I wanted to see how good it looks, and it looks amazing. It looks incredible. Also, when watching stuff like just watching a TV show or movie, it looks amazing. That's why when people ask me now like, what's one iPad I should buy? I typically say get the 11-inch Pad Pro, like portability wise.

If you're ever gonna hold it and do anything with Apple Pencil, I think the 11-inch is a better product for that kind of use case.

Jason Aten

But I think you're absolutely right. I think for a lot of people, probably the iPad Air is still a great option. It depends, You know, I always ask people like, Oh, I'm thinking of getting an iPad.

What should I get? And I'm like, "Well, how many hours a day do you expect to use it?" I'm just gonna occasionally watch Netflix on it, give it to my kid to play game. I think get the base model or the iPad Air, right?

Nobody who's doing that should should spend a thousand dollars on an iPad. But I agree with you that even my reviews, like I have long felt like the 11-inch iPad Pro was one of the best devices that Apple ever made.

And it is weird that it's limited in the display compared to the 12.9-inch. I have no idea what the story is there, but maybe they just felt like it's not big enough to blow your eyeballs out or something like that. I'm not really sure. Maybe it doesn't have a big enough battery to support all those extra lit up pixels. They just gotta do something about the camera.

Stephen Robles

Final thoughts. You've had these iPads for a couple days. Any part of the experience using it that stood out or that you wanna mention or buying recommendations?

Jason Aten

So I will say, and I tried to make this point, I did go on about the camera and I do feel strongly about it.

Stephen Robles

Your exact title by the way, you say "There's one glaring problem with the new iPad Pro." And you are referring to the camera.

Jason Aten

Yes, and I feel like I stand behind that because what I wanted to write about this is like nothing has changed about it. We're giving the iPad Pro a hard time because, hey, look, the base model you got, got a complete redesign. And I sometimes think, why did you want Apple to redesign this product?

That's basically almost perfect, right? What did you want them? Did you just want them to change it because you're bored? But the thing is that's not a very good business case for completely redesigning. Sure. The same thing happened with the Apple Watch, right? Like people wanted flat sides. Why?

Cause I'm bored with my Series 6 or whatever. I'm like, right, Most people are still wearing a Series 3, so like, no Apple's not catering to that at this point. I mean, you, there's no way you could possibly tell the difference between 2018 iPad Pro and a 2022 iPad.

You just would not be able to tell the difference unless you started looking in the settings app for what was inside of it. They look the same. And that's great because they did not change any of the things that did not need to be changed. They just missed the one thing that did.

And so I feel like it's actually good that they didn't make a lot of changes. I think that that's important. I don't think Apple should be redesigning its products just for the sake of redesigning them.

And it's different than the iPhone where I do think that there is an element of Apple's design ethos that says every so often we do need to change the design because we, we need people to buy new iPhones every three years.

The iPad is not that. It is for you and me maybe, but it's not that way for most people. Like I said, my son is still rocking an original iPad Air. I don't know how old that is. t's old. It's old and it works fine for Minecraft as long as he plugs it in after 25 minutes.

But for most people, I do think I've never recommended the base iPad before. I always recommended the iPad Air. I think that that's changed this year. I think that the base iPad, the 10th-generation iPad is the device. The only thing that annoys me is that the bezels are a little bit thicker and maybe, I don't know, maybe that has something to do with the camera.

Maybe that's the other reason they couldn't put the camera there is cuz the bezels a little bit thicker on the side. But that's only gonna bother somebody who is used to the, what Apple likes to call all-screen display, which it's not, but that's fine.

Stephen Robles

That is interesting. So the original iPad Air came out November 1st, 2013.

You were very close.

Jason Aten

That's pretty good. Yep. And we bought one on November 2nd, probably.

Stephen Robles

You know, when it comes to the iPad specifically, design wise, it is a big piece of glass that is already very, very thin. And I mean, even 10 years from now, I guess the bezels could go away completely. Although if it's a tablet, you probably wanna hold it sometimes and to hold it, you need some kind of bezel so you're not right tapping the screen just holding it.

So I do think, four or five years without a redesign. I mean, aside from making the bezel even smaller, which would give even more reason not to have a camera on the front at all. Like if there's not enough bezel to put that, I don't think, how do think under display cameras are gonna be around anytime in the next couple of years?

Yeah. It's just, that's the design like that. It's a big piece of glass.

Jason Aten

It's a big screen. I mean, look how long it took to redesign the MacBook Air. I know it's had some incremental changes, like when they went to the retina. But it took a very long time, very, for the MacBook Air to have a significant design language change.

We're gonna have that for 10 years probably, because it don't know what, unless they find a way to make it so you can take the thing off and make it like the, take the display off or something.

Stephen Robles

Last question because this was a rumor late last week. Every once in a while people say like, macOS is gonna come with the iPad. I stand by, that's balderdash. I don't think macOS is ever gonna come to the iPad. What do you feel about that?

Jason Aten

I don't know if I'd use the word balderdash. I like that word though. I would agree. I mean, I think it would be delightful if you could run macOS on your 12.9 inch-iPad Pro. I think that would be like a cool experience. I've used a Surface and it's actually a great experience, to be honest.

There are some, I mean, except for the fact that it runs Windows, but aside from that, it's a great experience compared to running Windows on any other device that runs Windows.

It's just nice to be able to have like the full capabilities. I think though that Apple very much thinks of the iPad as a just different device that people use to do different things.

It is a computer replacement, even though I think a lot of people use it as their primary device. And when I say a lot of people, I do not mean people like you and I mean, like my mom, her computer is an iPad right?

Because she uses it for FaceTime and email and checking, you know, going online and buying tickets to Vienna, Christmas market cruise or something like that. Those are the things that she does with it. And she doesn't need a MacBook to do that.

And she saved herself probably five or $600. Like she's not editing podcasts. And if she was, I guess she could. You know, use Ferrite, right? But she doesn't need the things that you would use a Mac for. She doesn't need that kind of control over the software. So I would agree with you that I don't think it's gonna happen, and I also don't think it needs to happen.

Stephen Robles

I agree. I mean, my only pain point is sometimes when I wanna do something on a website like Squarespace to make a change on a website, the iPad Safari will not do it. Like just Squarespace will not cooperate.

And weird things like being able to drag and drop certain things, I have to go to a computer and sometimes those situations, again, very niche cases, they are Pro cases.

You're supposed to do it on a computer anyways, but I even then do not think, I wish I had macOS on this or want it. And like your mom, my parents, they had a 2008 MacBook Pro until like a year ago and they wanted to get a new computer and I said, don't get a computer, get an iPad Pro. I wanted them to have the big screen cuz they like making the text big.

And having an iPad is their main deal. They can print from it, they can do all the web browsing and bill paying, and email checking and photos. And it's way easier, way less technical issues will arise as opposed if they had a Mac. Like they're gonna have questions, like they're gonna have issues with either system preferences or some weird thing in the background.

Like it is just a better experience to have iPadOS on an iPad and use it for their main computer. And there's a lot of people where that also would work.

Jason Aten

I agree completely. I feel like they could solve the problem that you described of Safari doesn't do things by just making Safari better.

You don't need macOS. There's no reason to put macOS on there just to fix Safari. Like just, just fix Safari. Make it so that if I go to a website that it behaves the same way it does on a desktop. That's like, again, Apple has a lot of really smart people.

It's just about priority and so far that hasn't risen far enough up the request stack for them to actually devote enough effort to it. But like that's the kind of thing I would love to see, quote macOS apps on the iPad have more functionality. But you don't, I don't think you actually need macOS to do that.

Stephen Robles

Which I, I forgot to ask you. Of all the things DaVinci resolve is coming to iPad. You have Luma Fusion, you have the Adobe Suite. Why not Final Cut? Did you ask them about Final Cut?

Jason Aten

I did not ask about Final Cut, but I will say this, I do think that sometimes, I mean, Apple's a very big company and it's not like the M2 caught anybody by surprise, right?

We have an M1 version. We're updating it. We're not gonna just keep the M1 version and they can't put an M1 Pro or an M1 Max or an M1 Ultra. No, that'd be insane. Could you imagine an M1 Ultra in an iPad? It would need a fan. It would need an external fan. You just have to stick it in front of your air conditioning vent.

Stephen Robles

You just get a USB-C female to Lightning, and then you get a Lightning powered fan.

Jason Aten

And you would need an 18 gauge cable plugged into the wall just to keep the thing running. I just think that inside of Apple, they look at these things very differently than people like you and I who spend a lot of time talking to people who are very similar to us.

And so we think it'd be like amazing to have Final Cut on an iPad, and I think functionally that's possible. I think it has the hardware capabilities, and I even think that the inter interface, because you can use a mouse, you can use a keyboard and a mouse, you can use Final Cut.

So I feel like we look at it and we're like, the way they look at it is like all the people who are serious about Final Cut are doing it on a Mac. And all the people who just wanna put together videos, just use this other stuff that we have on there already like iMovie.

Stephen Robles

Well, I'm gonna keep complaining about it until they do it.

Jason, thanks so much for sharing your review with us. We'll put a link to your iPad Pro and iPad 10th-generation review in the show notes. You also just rebranded your podcast, Undigital on Apple Podcasts. We'll put a link to that as well. Where else would you like to point people?

Jason Aten

You can just send me all of the things you disagree with me on Twitter, just @JasonAten I mute 'em all but please keep em coming.

Stephen Robles

You don't mute me cause I see it. Well I think you are contrary to me at times. I think that's what happened.

Jason Aten

I think all the time. There are times when I'm like, you know, Stephen and I have never met in person, so I really hope he understands.

Stephen Robles

I understand at this point I see a very snarky response and disagreement. I say, yeah. I see you. One day we'll meet.

Jason Aten

I'm looking forward to it.

Stephen Robles

thanks so much Jason. We'll put links to Jason's Twitter and the review that he did and his podcast in the show notes. Of course, you can follow the AppleInsider show. Tweet at myself @StephenRobles. That'll be in the show notes as well. Support the show and get early access and an ad-free version in Apple Podcasts directly or Give a five-star review and you get a shout out at the beginning of the show. Thanks for tuning in. We'll catch you next time.

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