Should you buy the not-so-new iPad 9 in 2021?

Is the New iPad (9th Gen.) really new

I have dedicated a soft, cushy, and affectionate corner of my heart to iPads. Everything from their power, multitasking capabilities, Apple Pencil support, and more is impressive. However, as Apple unveiled the iPad 9th Generation in its 2021 California Streaming event, a disappointment dawned on me.

The 2021 iPad merely got a handful of updates. And while Apple repeatedly called it the ‘new’ iPad throughout the event, I did not find much new in it. Join me as I dig deep into the iPad 9th Generation specifications and find if it’s really as new and promising as Apple claims it to be.

The not-so-new design

The basic design and form factor of the entry-level 10.2″ iPad hadn’t changed since 2019 when the 7th Gen. was introduced. Even in 2021, it boasts thick bezels, Home Button with Touch ID, and a Lighting connector.

Design comparison of New iPad (9th Gen.)

And if this was Apple’s signature or best design ever, I might not have complained. But it is not! Moreover, the contemporary iPads – iPad Air, iPad Pro, and even iPad mini have gotten rid of these elements.

Imagine, the iPad doesn’t even have some decent color offering. So, why is the ‘new’ iPad still stuck in an old body?

Still sticking to Apple Pencil 1st Generation, really?

Another bone I have to pick with the 2021 iPad design is that it still doesn’t support Apple Pencil 2nd Gen. It is irritating and infuriating at so many levels!

In Apple’s defense, I understand that the company wants to make the iPad accessible to everyone, especially students. And thus, maintaining a specific price point is necessary. But it doesn’t mean that you keep introducing a few features here and there while ignoring its old-school design.

What’s more irritating is that the so-called spec bumps are subpar with the industry standards and contemporaries!

It’s powerful, but not ‘the best ever’

iPad ModelsReleased in ChipsetNetwork
9th Gen. iPad 2021A13 Bionic 4G
5th Gen. iPad Pro 2021Apple M1 chip5G
6th Gen. iPad mini 2021A15 Bionic 5G
4th Gen. iPad Air2020A14 Bionic 4G
iPad (9th Gen.) is powerful, but not best ever
Source: Apple

Isn’t it clear from the above table that there is some serious underserving to the iPad? It almost feels like it boasts a hand-me-down chipset.

Agreed, A13 is a powerful chip, but in the wise words of Apple, A15 is the best smartphone chip yet.

And they said something similar for A14 during iPhone 12 launch. Now, my problem is why couldn’t the new iPad sport the latest chip or even last year’s chip. They did that with the 8th Generation iPad as well! It carried an A12 Bionic chip, while A14 was about to launch soon.

Can we call Centre Stage a saving grace?

In all the advancements Apple has to offer, TrueDepth camera, USB-C connector, LiDAR, Touch ID in the top button, adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, flat edges, etc., all iPad 9th Gen. gets is Centre Stage. Designed to make video calls and recording more engaging, the feature auto-adjusts to keep you in the frames’ center.

It doesn’t even get a 12MP rear camera; what it got is an 8MP camera at the back. Though a slight improvement is the 12MP Ultra Wide FaceTime HD camera that also facilitates Centre Stage,

Center Stage in iPad 9th Gen
Source: Apple

So, should you buy iPad 9th Gen or wait for a NEW one?

If you really need an iPad and don’t have the budget for an iPad Air or mini, go for it. It might not be the best iPad out there, but it is a great gadget nonetheless, perfectly suiting to the likes of newbies, basic users, students, and children.

However, if you to use an iPad as a primary device for graphics-intensive work or something similar, wait for a year. Apple may bring a better, newer iPad. Or better yet, wait and save some money for the higher-end iPads.

What’s your take on the iPad 9th Generation? Do you find the update worthwhile or a mere formality that Apple had to perform? Share your views with us in the comment section below.

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A self-professed Geek who loves to explore all things Apple. I thoroughly enjoy discovering new hacks, troubleshooting issues, and finding and reviewing the best products and apps currently available. My expertise also includes curating opinionated and honest editorials. If not this, you might find me surfing the web or listening to audiobooks.

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