iPad 10 was released in Oct 2022 together with the M2 iPad Pro (2022).
Apple has finally ditched the home button and updated the design with the iPad Pro 2018 aesthetics with the flat sides and uniform bezels. The design is an upgrade but the price has increased substantially from US $329 to $449.
Apple is still selling the iPad 9 (2021) though alongside the 10th generation iPad. If you're confused by the numerous iPad models, I'll cover that later...
First, let's talk about the bottom line.
The TLDR for this review is to get the iPad Air 4 (refurbished or new) if you can find it at the same price of the iPad 10.
The new iPad looks great. The design language of the iPad Pro 2018 with the thin uniform bezels, flat sides, USB-C port has finally trickled down to the iPad 4 years later. Inside, the new tablet is using the A14 Bionic chip (used in the iPhone 12 and iPad Air 4 in 2020). RAM has increased from 3GB to 4GB.
Many old features have remained, such as the non-laminated display, Apple Pencil 1 support, lack of P3 colour support for the display. To pair and charge the Apple Pencil, you have to use a USB-C to lightning adapter which is included with the Apple Pencil purchase or otherwise sold separately for $9.
The iPad 10 (2022) is kinda the lesser sibling of the iPad Air 4 (2020) without Apple Pencil 2 support and the laminated anti-reflective display with P3 colours. And it has been re-designed ever so slightly so that iPad Air cases and keyboards are not compatible. You don't see this sort of anti-consumer wasteful design from Samsung with their Tab S7-S7FE-S8 and Tab S6-S6 Lite tablets where the designs are identical and you can swap accessories however you like.
iPad 9 (2021) sells for US $329 and the iPad 10 (2022) is US $449, and that's for the Wifi model with 64GB storage.
64GB storage isn't really much for digital artists or creatives. iPadOS 16 takes up around 15GB storage so you're effectively left with only 49GB of storage before any apps are installed. Upgrading to the 256GB model is an additional US $150. And that's not inclusive of the $99 for Apple Pencil. So to get all that adds up to US $698.
Whether that's worth the money really depends on what you value.
If you have limited budget, the other option is the iPad 9 (2021) which was already outdated the day it came out. But still needs an upgraded to 256GB storage making it $329 + 150 + 99 = $578.
My overall take is I don't think the iPad 9 or iPad 10 are worth the money given the other tablet options available from Apple and from competitors.
Here are the specs for the three competing iPad models mentioned:
|iPad 9 (2021)||iPad 10 (2022)||iPad Air 4 (2020) refurbished|
|Price (USD) for 64GB & 256GB||From $329, $479||From $449, $599||From $469, $599|
|Dimensions||250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm||248.6 x 179.5 x 7mm||247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1mm|
|Display||10.2-inch, non-laminated, 60Hz, IPS LCD||10.9-inch, non-laminated, 60Hz, IPS LCD||10.9-inch, laminated, P3 colour support, anti-reflective coating, 60Hz, IPS LCD|
|Brightness||500 nits||500 nits||500 nits|
|Resolution||2160 x 1620||2360 x 1640||2360 x 1640|
|Processor||A13 Bionic chip||A14 Bionic chip||A14 Bionic chip|
|Battery life||10 hours||10 hours||10 hours|
|Apple Pencil||1st gen||1st gen||2nd gen|
|Main camera||8MP f/2.4||12MP f/1.8||12MP f/1.8|
|Front camera||12MP f/2.4||12MP f/2.4||7MP f/2.2|
|Speaker||Two at bottom||Two stereo||Two stereo|
|Unlock||Touch ID||Touch ID||Touch ID|
The updated design looks good. It no longer looks like the iPad that came out in 2010.
The bezels are thinner and uniform. Corners of the frame and display are rounded off. There's a landscape 12MP ultra wide camera in front.
Colours of the LCD display look good out of the box even though colour support is just sRGB and not P3. Resolution is 2360 by 1640 with 264 PPI so all the visuals look sharp with no visible pixelation. Brightness is up to 500 nits and refresh rate is 60Hz.
The display is not laminated so the there's a gap between the glass and LCD display beneath.
It's not obvious in these two photos and unless you've tried a laminated display, you may not know the difference between a laminated vs non-laminated display.
Due to the non-laminated display, there will be a gap between the line and the pen tip. This doesn't affect the drawing accuracy though as the line will always appear directly beneath the pen tip. And parallax isn't really a problem on small display sizes. Due to the gap, tapping the pen tip on the display will produce a more hollow sound.
Laminated displays are common nowadays and is almost not considered a feature anymore, but for Apple it's still a feature. I've watched Dave2d's review and he mentioned non-laminated displays are cheaper to repair. True. iPad 9, iPad 10 and iPad Air 4 cost US $249, $319 and $419 respectively to repair from Apple. Repairs will be cheaper from third party repair shops.
Anyway, most people buying iPads aren't thinking about repairs. But for schools, institutions or companies buying iPads in bulk, maybe.
Another thing that affects drawing experience is lack of anti-reflective coating. That anti-reflective coating actually provides slightly more resistance while drawing. By comparison, Apple Pencil on iPad 10 glides more smoothly.
4 colours are available: blue, pink, yellow and silver. The colours are intense and even the interior of the charging port is coloured.
The power button has Touch ID fingerprint sensor which works fast and effectively. There are two sets of speaker grills here but audio only comes out from the bottom set, the set that you may cover with your hand when you're holding the tablet horizontally.
Lightning port has been replaced by USB-C with USB 2 speeds. There are two more sets of speaker grills and the audio also comes out from the bottom set.
On the bottom of the horizontal side are the connectors for US $249 Magic Keyboard Folio. FYI, connectors on the iPad Air 4 are on the back which is why you can't use iPad Air keyboards folios with iPad 10. While the physical dimensions may look similar, they are slightly different so cases may not be interchangeable too.
iPad 10 with with Apple Pencil 1, not 2. Because the space internally at the top (landscape) is taken by the camera, and the bottom taken up by the connectors, there's no way to attach the Apple Pencil to the side of this tablet for charging and Bluetooth pairing. And since the port is now USB-C, you can't just connect the lightning interface of Apple Pencil 1 into that USB-C port.
The new way to charge and pair is to connect Apple Pencil to the USB-C to lightning adapter, to a USB-C to USB-C cable, to the iPad.
This way of charging and pairing the Apple Pencil is more silly than the original way of connecting the Apple Pencil directly to the lightning charging port. If Apple Pencil runs out of battery while you're outdoors, you'll need the USB-C to lightning adapter and a cable for charging. It is possible to charge the Apple Pencil with your iPhone that has the lightning port, so it's not too bad I guess. Is this the Apple ecosystem Apple fans are talking about, no?
If you already have an Apple Pencil 1, you can buy the USB-C to lightning adapter separately for US $9. If you buy an Apple Pencil 1 today from Apple for $99, that adapter is included together with the lightning to lightning adapter and USB-C cable. Oh, the iPad still comes with a charger unlike the iPhone.
These are line tests with Procreate.
1. Apple Pencil has low initial activation force. Thin lines can be drawn easily even if a thick brush is selected. If you don't apply pressure, you can still draw a thin line as long as the pen tip is touching the display. Diagonal lines drawn slowly does not suffer from wobble or jitter.
2. Line transition from thin to thick is smooth.
3. It's easy to maintain line thickness by maintaining consistent pressure.
4. Dots can be drawn easily while tapping the display.
Drawing performance of Apple Pencil has always been fantastic ever since the Apple Pencil existed.
This was drawn with Procreate.
These are the number of layers for A4 300 DPI artwork with Procreate. For some reason, the number of layers is limited to 26, same as what you can get on the iPad 9 that has 1GB less RAM.
|Model||RAM||No of layers|
|iPad 9 (2021)||3GB||26|
|iPad 10 (2022)||4GB||26 (at launch)|
|iPad mini 6 (2021)||4GB||26 (at launch)|
|iPad Air 3 (2019)||3GB||26 (19 at launch)|
|iPad Air 4 (2020)||4GB||57 (19 at launch)|
|iPad Air 5 (2022)||8GB||116|
|iPad mini 5 (2019)||3GB||19|
|iPad Pro 2018||4GB||57|
|iPad Pro 2020||6GB||73 (56 at launch)|
|M1 iPad Pro 2021||8GB and 16GB||116 (26 at launch)|
|M2 iPad Pro 2022||8GB and 16GB||116|
This was drawn with Procreate and the resolution is 10000 x 2000. I was only able to create 9 layers and the resulting file size is 500MB including a lossless timelapse video. Even though the resolution is high, there was no lag when drawing. I was also able to do a screen recording with the iPad while Procreate was creating the timelapse video during the drawing process.
These were drawn with Concepts which is my favourite app for digital sketching.
This was also drawn with Concepts. That's my daughter drawing angry faces on her balloon.
Sketched with Clip Studio Paint.
Sketched with Infinite Painter.
Drawing experience is good, but drawing experience is better on the more premium tablet due to the laminated display and anti-reflective coating.
Other things that affect the overall drawing experience is the weight of the tablet. iPad 10 is 477g (wifi) which is still considered lightweight for a tablet at this size. It's a tablet that's easy to hold with one hand for drawing. Just note that weight will be heavier with a case, but it's still very manageable compared to the iPad Pro 12.9.
I personally prefer to draw on the tablet on a stand, especially if I have to work for long periods of time. The tablet stand I always recommend is the Parblo PR100.
Oh, Apple Pencil is cylindrical so be careful not to have it roll off the table onto the floor.
Apps for creatives
The most compelling selling point of the iPad for creatives, artists and designers is there's a huge variety of high quality drawing and graphic design apps available from the Apple App Store.
Below are apps that come to my mind instantly:
- Medibang Paint Pro
- Clip Studio Paint
- Sketchbook Pro
- Tayasui Sketches Pro
- Infinite Painter
- Affinity Photo
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Fresco
- ArtStudio Pro
- Affinity Photo
- Affinity Designer
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
- Affinity Publisher
Photo and video editing apps
Most tablets app only have a subset of tools and features compared to desktop versions of the same app if available.
Except for Clip Studio Paint which has almost similar functionality as the desktop version.
Is there anything better for your money for drawing
There is and it's the Samsung Tab S6 Lite (2022) or Tab S6 Lite (refreshed) priced at US $349 (on Amazon) and it comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage with MicroSD card slot. The Samsung S Pen is included. Maybe throw in a 400GB microSD card for US $50. So for less than $400, you get 4GB RAM, 64 + 400GB storage and a pen included. The Samsung Tab S7 FE 64GB and 256GB are priced at $379 and $449 respectively, and both provide more value than the iPad 10.
The Samsung tablet (left) provides more value simply because it's cheaper and the performance is quite good.
The main advantage iPad has over the Samsung for creatives is there's a larger variety of graphic design apps available from the Apple App Store. I'm talking about apps such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, Affinity Publisher, Vectornator and Amadine.
If all you do is just draw and you're not into graphic design, layout, page design, or have to handle text, Samsung is the better choice. There are loads of capable drawing apps from the Google Play Store just as there are on from the Apple App Store.
The iPad aspect ratio is between 4:3 and 3:2. This aspect ratio is more usable in both vertical and horizontal orientation compared to Samsung's 16:10 aspect ratio which suits landscape orientation better. And usually when the display is small, 4:3 and 3:2 aspect ratios work better because given a fixed width, you can see more content when using the tablet in horizontal orientation.
Check out my full review of the Samsung Tab S6 Lite (2022).
In this conclusion, I'll try to clear up the confusion between the different iPad models.
At the time of this review, these are the iPads available from Apple store:
- iPad 9 (2021) with 3GB RAM, 64GB storage, A13 chip - US $329
- iPad 10 (2022) with 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, A14 chip - $449
- iPad mini 6 (2021) with 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, A15 chip - $499
- iPad Air 5 (2021) with 8GB RAM, 64GB storage, M1 chip - $599
- iPad Pro 11 (2022) with 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, M2 chip - $799
- iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) with 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, M2 chip - $1099
Apple wants to sell an iPad at as many price tiers as possible so that there's an iPad for everyone regardless on their budget. This new and more expensive iPad 10 slots between iPad 9 (2021) and iPad mini 6 (2021).
When you consider the refurbished models direct from Apple which are 15 to 30% off retail launch prices, there are even more options and price tiers added to the list above.
iPad 9 and 10 both work great but they don't provide good value for money.
The best configuration for the iPad 10 is with 256GB storage which is US $599. That is the same price as a refurbished iPad Air 4 (2020) with A14 chip, 4GB RAM and 256GB storage. Even the design looks the same but the iPad Air 4 (2020) has a laminated anti-reflective display with P3 colour support and supports Apple Pencil 2.
It doesn't make sense to buy the iPad 10 with 256GB if you can get an iPad Air 4 (2020) with 256GB for the same price. The iPad Air 4 is obviously the better tablet. Oh, you care about repairability? Then get the iPad 10 then.
A refurbished iPad Pro 11 (2020) with Apple A12Z, 6GB RAM and 256GB storage is US $699. Compared to the iPad Air 4 (2020), you get 4 way speakers and 120Hz display.
Refurbished units can be returned units or faulty units which are repaired, checked and made available for sale again. They come with 1 year Apple warranty.
So even though Apple has tried to have as many price tiers as possible, they make it such that it's more enticing to upgrade (e.g. to 256GB) so that you have to spend more.
If you really have limited budget and really want and iPad, the option is to go with the iPad 9 with 64GB storage for US $329, sometimes $279 on Amazon. But that tablet is already outdated the day it came out and it only has 3GB RAM. I feel bad even recommending that.
I hope my review is useful.
If you have intention to buy any of the tablets mentioned, consider supporting my blog by making your purchase through the Amazon affiliate links. I earn some money at not extra cost to you.