Apple has updated the iPad and even though it looks like its predecessor, it has some new tricks up its sleeve. To begin with, it now supports the Apple Pencil, a feature reserved for the Pro family of the iPads. This is the first non-pro iPad to get access to the Apple Pencil, a key distinguishing feature between the 2018 and the 2017 9.7-inch iPad.
Unlike the iPad Pro, the new 2018 9.7-inch iPad doesn't feature the Smart Connector on the side to connect to Apple’s keyboard. But you can connect it to a Bluetooth keyboard, a feature that has worked on the previous generation iPad. There are some software changes on the device too such as ClassKit, but we aren’t sure how these will be implemented in India.
If AR Kit was a concern, then you need not worry. Both the tablets will work with the AR Kit. As per Apple’s website, you need a minimum of the A9 chip on your iOS device to ensure AR Kit works. The 2017 iPad is powered by the A9 chip which means that it has the bare minimum to ensure AR Kit runs.
Design and Display
The design of the new iPad is the same as its predecessor. Apple has gone with an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy. You still get a pair of stereo speakers on the tablet. The quad-speaker setup from the iPad Pro family hasn’t made its way to this variant. Placed side by side, you won’t be able to tell them apart. There isn’t even a new colour variant on the 2018 iPad. You have the fingerprint reader cum home button below the display. You also have the endangered headphone jack on the iPad. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro shaved off the side bezels for more screen real estate to distinguish itself from its predecessor, but no such change has come about with this new 2018 iPad. If you think the 2018 iPad is an affordable iPad, remember, Apple hasn’t spent any R&D money on changing the design of the iPad from the days of the iPad Air 2.
As far as the display is concerned, it is exactly the same as the 2017 edition. You still get a retina display which is great. But you don’t get a true tone display, something that is present on the iPad Pro. The 9.7-inch display has the standard resolution of 1536 x 2048. The resolution os good enough for productivity and entertainment alike.
Performance and Battery Life
We can’t comment on the performance before we test the new iPad but the upgrade in the chip from A9 on the 2017 iPad to the Apple A10 Fusion will bring about an increase in performance. The A10 Fusion powered the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and in our experience those chips are pretty powerful. The, aren’t as powerful as apples latest A11 Bionic and since this isn’t the Pro series of the iPad we can see why apple didn’t implement its latest and greatest chipset.
If the iPhone 7 Plus’s performance is anything to go by, then we think the new 2018 iPad should do just fine with day to day tasks and even some graphically heavy gaming. Multitasking should be a breeze too.
Another thing to remember about performance is that the A10 Fusion is used in the Apple TV 4K. So as far as longevity is concerned, the A10 Fusion will give you longer life than the year old A9.
As far as Battery life is concerned, Apple promises 10 hours of battery life on its tablets and it usually delivers. However, in our experience, the battery life of the iPad starts degrading after about 18 months of use, so you may want to keep that in mind.
With the A10 Fusion, we expect iPhone 7 like battery optimization when compared to the iPhone 6 – to give you a perspective of the battery life between the 2017 and 2018 iPad.
Camera’s on a tablet, especially the iPad aren’t the best for clicking photos but they do get the job done when it comes to FaceTime. With AR Kit, the camera on the iPad should work well for your serious AR apps as well as some AR games. Don’t expect the camera on the tablet to replace the one on your smartphone let alone your point and shoot.
Below is a spec breakdown of the 2018 iPad and how it compares to the 2017 iPad.
|Particulars||Apple iPad (2018)||Apple iPad (2017)|
|Weight||469 g (Wi-Fi) / 478 g (LTE)||469 g (Wi-Fi) / 478 g (LTE)|
|Display Type||LED-backlit IPS LCD||LED-backlit IPS LCD|
|Display Size||9.7 inches||9.7 inches|
|Display Resolution||1536 x 2048 pixels||1536 x 2048 pixels|
|OS||iOS 11||iOS 11|
|Chipset||Apple A10 Fusion||Apple A9|
|CPU||Quad-core 2.34 GHz||Dual-core 1.84 GHz|
|GPU||PowerVR Series7XT Plus||PowerVR GT7600|
|Storage||32/128 GB||32/128 GB|
|Battery life||upto 10 hours||upto 10 hours|
The specs are nearly identical on paper with the exception of the processor. We will hold our final verdict till we get the tablet in for review. However, based on our experience with iPad and the chips that power them, we can tell you this. If you will use the tablet as a content consumption device like watching movies, playing games and some productivity to word, excel, docs, etc. then you can consider the 2017 iPad. Even more so, if you get it at a steal deal. As of writing this story, there are no fabulous discounts on Flipkart or Amazon. The best price difference is about Rs 5,000. You can wait for the price to drop a little more before investing in a year-old device. However, if the Apple Pencil is of utmost importance to you, and you want more life from the AR Kit, then we suggest you wait for a fortnight till the new iPads are available in India. These are the only two places where we think you will notice a difference in performance. We’d like to reiterate that this conclusion is based on our experience with the chipset powering the two tablets. For our final verdict, you will have to wait for our review.