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The 10th generation iPad has the physical characteristics of the iPad Air, with a larger screen, flat sides and Touch ID. It is also significantly more expensive than the 9th generation iPad.
Despite the visual similarities, there are significant differences between them. If you’re considering a mid-range iPad, this article can help you decide whether to get the new 10th generation iPad or the iPad Air.
Test: Ipad Air with M1 – lightning fast tablet
Test: Ipad 10 – a colorful addition to the Ipad family
One of the easier ways to get a feel for how they differ is to look at their specifications.
As you can see, despite their physical similarities, there are quite a few differences, some more significant than others.
The biggest difference is the processor. While the M1 processor in the iPad Air is based on the same architecture as the A14, it is much more powerful. It has two more high-performance cpu cores, dual gpu cores, more ram, and media engines that speed up rendering of h.264 and hevc video.
If you mainly use your iPad for surfing, taking notes, emailing, social media and the like, then the M1 is excessively powerful. However, if you’re creating digital artwork in apps with custom brushes or dabbling in video editing, you’ll probably appreciate the M1’s muscle.
It’s also worth noting that Eye Catcher, a new multitasking feature in iPad OS 16.1, is only available on the latest iPad Pro models that have an M processor. While we’re particularly fond of the new feature, which creates more work than it solves, if Apple pulls it off, it probably won’t appear on the iPad 10.
Ipad 10 and Ipad Air have the same design. When they’re side by side, you’ll see that the iPad 10 is slightly larger and heavier than the iPad Air, but you won’t notice it. They both have a unified design: a thin frame with flat edges and Liquid Retina display. Both are available in a variety of colors, although the 10th generation iPad’s color scheme is significantly lighter than the iPad Air.
The screens on the iPad 10 and iPad Air are exactly the same size, with the same resolution and brightness. And both support True Tone. So what sets them apart? First, the color gamut of the Ipad 10 is srgb, while the Ipad Air has a wider P3 color gamut. Colors in photos and some videos may be more vivid on Air. The iPad Air’s screen also has an anti-reflective coating.
More importantly, the iPad Air has a laminated screen, something the iPad 10 does not. A laminated display eliminated the small gap between the display and the glass. The iPad Air has a far better screen.
Both have an identical set of cameras, with the same resolution (12 MP), aperture (f/1.8) and supported features (Smart HDR 3, Panorama, Burst mode, etc.). However, the iPad 10 has the advantage here. Where the front camera on the iPad Air is located along the short side, like all other models, the camera on the iPad 10 is located along the long side, so it is centered when your iPad is placed in a keyboard case.
We think this is a great idea and something we’ve been asking for for years.
Both have almost identical wireless functions. Both have dual-band 802.11ax (wifi 6) support with a throughput of up to 1.2 Gbps. If you buy the gsm version, both support 5g, but only under the 6 GHz bands.
The only real difference is that the 10th generation iPad supports bluetooth 5.2, while the iPad Air supports bluetooth 5.0. Right now there is no practical difference between the versions, but bluetooth 5.2 is required for some technologies like LE Audio, which could potentially come in future iPad OS updates.
In other words, there are no practical differences today, but the 10th generation iPad is somewhat more future-proof.
Both models have a usb c port for charging and data transfer, although they are not exactly the same. The 10th generation iPad’s port is limited to usb 2.0 data rates of 480 Mbps, while the iPad Air is significantly faster at 10 Gbps.
If you want to use an Apple Pencil all the time, the choice is simple. Ipad Air supports the 2nd generation pen, which is magnetically attached to the side of Ipad for charging, and is more convenient to use.
The 10th generation iPad uses the first generation Pencil, which is smooth and round, cannot be attached to the iPad via magnets, has a small cover on the back that covers the lightning connector (which is easy to drop), and requires an included lightning to usb c dongle and cable for charging. Despite identical specs, the second-generation Pencil is a much better experience.
Both also use different accessories for the keyboard and shell, despite their similarity in physical size. The iPad Air supports more or less the same keyboards as the 11-inch iPad Pro: Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio. The iPad 10, on the other hand, is only compatible with the Magic Keyboard Folio (yes, Apple’s line of keyboards has confusing names.) The Folio has a full-size keyboard with function keys and a larger trackpad than the Magic Keyboard.
With a starting price of SEK 6,595, the Ipad 10 may seem like a better purchase for a “casual” user than the SEK 8,795 Ipad Air costs. It has the same main features, cameras and more than enough power for everyday tasks. In fact, you can get the 256 gigabyte model for the same price as the 64 gigabyte Ipad Air.
If you are a digital artist or create other digital content, you will probably appreciate the areas where the iPad Air has an advantage. The second generation Apple Pencil is much nicer to use, and the M1 processor really has advantages when working with heavy applications like Procreate, Affinity Designer or Lumafusion. Those same people will probably also appreciate the P3 color gamut of the display.
If you’re on a tight budget, the iPad 10 is a good choice, but no one will regret buying an iPad Air instead.
Translated and edited by Petter Ahrnstedt