Apple released the 10th-generation iPad last month, bringing the regular iPad more in line with the design and features of the iPad Air and Pro. Now we have some insight into its shortcomings, thanks to a teardown by iFixit.
iFixit has published a teardown video and accompanying article for the new 10th-gen iPad, showing off the tablet’s hardware components and interior design. The iPad looks like recent iPad Air models from the outside, with the same blocky design and USB Type-C port — but it’s also eerily similar on the inside. iFixit said, “when comparing it against our teardown of the iPad Air 4, it’s clear that we’re looking at an iPad Air 4 rebrand, not a ‘completely redesigned iPad.’ Everything from the landscape speakers to the Touch ID to the battery capacity are the same. In a heads up comparison, the only thing really working against the iPad Air 4 is the fact that it has a laminated display, which means that the screen can potentially be more expensive to replace.”
One other significant difference is that the base iPad still uses the first-generation Apple Pencil, like the older base iPads, but unlike recent Air and Pro models. The older Pencil was built for a Lightning connector, so Apple had to build an awful adapter for it to work with the USB Type-C port on the new iPad. Many assumed it was a cost-cutting measure compared to supporting the newer Pencil, but it may have also been a design constraint.
The latest Apple Pencil magnetically attaches to iPads for charging and pairing, along one of the long edges. However, the 10th-gen iPad moved the camera to one of the long edges, and the other side already has volume buttons. iFixit said, “the engineers were probably desperate to get away from the Gen 1 Pencil but simply couldn’t make the Gen 2 work with the iPad 10. Who knows, this whole problem may need a redesign of the Pencil to have the charging mechanism sit off center so it can coexist with a landscape camera.”
The new iPad is still an excellent tablet, but it does seem like a strange hardware refresh, especially given it also has a completely different (and arguably better) keyboard accessory than the Air or Pro. Apple started selling it for $449, a price hike of $120 from the previous model, though it was $50 off for a few days earlier this month. Apple is keeping the previous generation in production as a budget alternative — another odd move from the company.