Update 9/17/2020: We’ve updated the post to include pre-order information from Amazon.
There were plenty of rumors about a new iPad Air launching at Apple’s event yesterday, but few about a new base-level iPad. But Apple did indeed announce an update to its 10.2-inch iPad and the 8th-generation model is available to buy today at Apple’s website for $329. According to the product page, the new iPad may not arrive until early October, but you can still place your order now at Apple or other retailers including B&H Photo, Best Buy and Walmart.
Unlike the iPad Air, the new base-level iPad didn’t get a Pro design refresh. Instead, Apple updated it with the A12 Bionic chipset and Neural Engine that’s found in the iPhone XS. The previous, 7th-generation model ran on the A10 chip, so the new one will feel much faster overall and have improved graphical performance.
While that might seem like an underwhelming update, it’s quite the contrary. The iPhone 7 was the first device to have the A10 chip when it debuted in 2016, so the base iPad was run. We gave the 7th-generation iPad a score of 86 when it was updated last fall, and one of the things we wished for was a snappier chip inside. While the A10 chipset handled multitasking and other iPadOS features well, we expect the 8th-generation iPad with the A12 processor to be much better at handling all of the new improvements coming in iPadOS 14.
Along with the iPad mini, the base iPad still has a design with chunkier bezels — but that also means it still has the physical Home button with TouchID. It also continues to support the first-generation Apple Pencil and the company showed off a bunch of new features coming to the native Notes app — like copying and pasting handwritten notes as text — that will make note taking easier and a bit more exciting. The biggest downside is that you’ll still have to charge the Apple Pencil by connecting to the new iPad’s Lightning port.