WHAT 2018 Apple iPad
COST It starts at $329
THE GOOD It's faster than the previous model and supports the Apple Pencil.
THE BAD Bezels give it a dated look.
Apple seems to have settled on a size and design for the iPad that has stayed true for several years (as they have with the iPhone’s design). So it came as no surprise when Apple introduced its newest iPad a few weeks ago that it came with the same form factor and entry level price ($329) as previous versions.
On the surface, there really aren't a lot of differences in the 2018 model. It retains the same 2,048-by-1,536-pixel resolution 9.7-inch Retina display as the previous version and the physical dimensions are also the same (9.4 by 6.6 by 0.29 inches). All cases and accessories for last year’s iPad will fit.
It is available with 32 or 128 gigabytes of internal storage. It charges with the same lightning port as previous models. Set down, side by side, it looks identical to last year’s model.
So what’s new? The no-brainer update is to the processor. It comes with the A10 Fusion chip, which is the same one from the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus introduced in 2016. Last year’s iPad had an A9 processor, which was also used in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.
The biggest improvement is the ability to use Apple’s Pencil. Apple had kept the Pencil for buyers of their high-end iPad Pro line, but this time they’ve brought pencil compatibility down to the masses.
Using the pencil on the 2018 iPad is the same as using it on the iPad Pro. The pencil is pressure sensitive, and you can change the thickness of the drawing as you tilt the tip on the screen. The iPad introduction also brought an announcement of a cheaper ($50) stylus from Logitech called Crayon, but it doesn’t have pressure sensitivity. Nice to see Apple letting others in on the stylus market. Of course, you could just use your finger. The pencil is not required.
If you’ve ever wished your iPad was faster or had a bigger screen or you need to run two or three apps at the same time, then you should look at the iPad Pro which is geared toward designers and photographers. But the 2018 iPad is the model for everyone who doesn’t need to make their living with an iPad.
If you have a 2017 iPad, you might hold off on upgrading unless you really need to use the pencil. If you have an iPad Air 2 or older iPad and it’s time for you to upgrade, you will be delighted with the new iPad.