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Fast charge: Apple’s new iPad pricing is absurd

OPINION: This week, Apple unveiled two new tablets: the entry-level iPad 10 and a new iteration of the iPad Pro

Judging from the specs, they both look to be decent upgrades. The new iPad 10 has received a processor refresh, a larger screen and now comes in multiple colour options. The iPad Pro hasn’t had as many improvements, but does benefit from the mighty power of the M2 chip

But alarm bells started ringing inside my head when I spotted the pricing – Apple has upped the cost significantly. 

The iPad 10 has a starting price of $449 / £499, which is a whopping $120 / £130 more expensive than the preceding iPad 9. And if you want 5G support, you’ll need to spend at least $599 / £679. 

Yes, Apple has improved both the design and specs for the new iPad, but I’m not convinced they’re good enough to warrant the hike in price. 

The new iPad 10 is powered by an A14 Bionic processor, which launched back in 2020 inside the iPhone 12. Apple has since launched the A16 Bionic chip for the iPhone 14 Pro, which means the new tablet’s processor is two generations old. I don’t mind companies using older processors for new products, but only when the price reflects that. 

And while the iPad’s move to USB-C is welcome, it means the Apple Pencil accessory can no longer use the Lightning port to replenish its battery. Instead, Apple says you’ll need to purchase a separate accessory just to charge the Apple Pencil. This whole fiasco could have been avoided if the iPad 10 supported the Apple Pencil 2, but Apple decided against upgrading the tablet with the required wireless magnetic charger. 

iPad 10 close up
iPad 10 2022

The only iPad upgrade that even comes close to warranting the price hike is the new design and larger screen. Apple has upped the size of the panel from 10.2 inches to 10.9 inches, although that’s hardly going to make a huge improvement to the user experience. 

Fortunately, the iPad 9 is still available on Apple’s online store, so you at least have the option to purchase the more affordable model instead. That shouldn’t be taken for granted, as Apple is only offering the latest iPad Pro on the store despite the recent price increase. 

The 11-inch iPad Pro 2022 has a starting price of $799 / £899, while the 12.9-inch model costs an eye-watering $1099 £1249. That’s not too bad for our friends across the Atlantic since Apple has maintained the same price point as the 2021 model. But UK customers receive an unwelcome increase – £150 more for the 11-inch, and £250 extra for the 12.9-inch. 

Despite the steeper cost, the only major upgrade you’re getting is the new M2 chip, providing up to 15% faster CPU performance than the preceding M1 processor, and a 35% speedier GPU. It’s great to see Apple giving the iPad Pro a speed boost, but does that justify a £250 price increase? I don’t think so. 

Apple iPad 2022
iPad Pro 2022

It gets even stranger when you compare the iPad Pro to the MacBook Air. The new M2-powered MacBook Air has a £1249 starting price – the exact same cost of the iPad Pro. I don’t really understand the logic here, with the Air featuring double the amount of storage, a larger screen (albeit not with a Mini LED backlight) and – of course – an integrated keyboard. 

The detachable Magic Keyboard accessory for the iPad Pro costs a further £379. You could opt for the £219 Smart Keyboard Folio instead, but it’s still an expensive purchase. If you opt for the former, that takes the total cost of the iPad Pro and its accessory to an astronomical £1629. 

You could blame Brexit and the falling value of the pound for the iPad Pro price hike, especially since the US is seemingly unaffected. But that still doesn’t change the fact that the iPad Pro falls in an odd position in Apple’s ecosystem by sharing the same base price as the MacBook Air. 

We’ll have to wait until we actually review these new iPad tablets before deciding whether they still represent good value for money, but by simply judging the specs sheet, it’s difficult to argue in Apple’s favour. 

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