A new keyboard add-on is also included, along with a landscape camera.
The rumors were accurate, as Apple has announced a revamped model of its base iPad. The new model adopts the thin-bezel design of more expensive models, switching to USB-C, doing away with the headphone jack, and adding a fingerprint scanner to the sleep/wake button. A typical 10.9-inch display with 2,360 x 1,640 resolution and True Tone color correction is what you can anticipate, however it lacks lamination like the Air's. There is a twist with the 12MP ultra-wide front camera, though. This iPad is the first to have a selfie camera that is landscape-oriented, making it much better for group chats and laptop-like use.
The tablet supports cutting-edge networking technologies like Wi-Fi 6 and (on cellular variants) 5G and employs the same A14 Bionic chip as the original iPad Air. There is also a newer 12MP rear camera. Sadly, this is not the best blank canvas for creatives on a tight budget. You are still only able to use first-generation Pencils, and in order to pair and charge the pen, you must use the supplied USB-C converter (which is an additional $9 if you already own a Pencil).
At least you'll have a slightly less expensive official choice for using the iPad as a notebook. Similar to the more expensive Magic Keyboard, a new $249 Magic Keyboard Folio (seen in the middle) includes full-size keys (including function keys) and a trackpad. However, it does not have the clever floating design. Instead, the tablet is supported while you work by an integrated kickstand. The iPad can be detached from the magnetic attachment quite easily, and the Smart Connector saves you the troublesome charging and pairing processes that sometimes accompany these keyboards.
The redesigned iPad base is currently available for pre-order and will be in stores on October 26. However, expect a price increase. The price of the update ranges from $449 for a 64GB Wi-Fi model to $599 with cellular. The last-generation iPad is still available from Apple for the same $329 price as previously, which is a sizable increase. Consider this more as a reduced iPad Air for individuals who don't require an M1 chip or support for the second-generation Pencil.
If you have an older model, don't worry about missing out on software features. On October 24th, Apple will finally release iPadOS 16 after a little delay. To use the new platform, which comes with upgrades like Stage Manager multitasking, you'll need at least an iPad or iPad mini from the fifth generation, an iPad Air from the third generation, or any iPad Pro.