There's a new iPad in the house! Earlier this year Apple updated the iPad lineup with a new iPad mini alongside a new 10.5-inch iPad Air that sits just below the iPad Pro family.

But Apple hasn't stopped there, replacing the the iPad 9.7 launched only 18 months ago. The new base-level iPad has some differences with the outgoing model though and it's those we're looking at here. 

So without further ado, let's look at this year's model versus last year's - as you'll see this could be iPad (2019) vs iPad (2018) or iPad 10.2 vs iPad 9.7.

The iPad 9.7 has now been discontinued, but we're sure you'll be able to buy it from numerous retailers for some time yet. 

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Price

Last year's iPad 9.7 started at $329 or £319 in the UK for the 32GB model and $429 or £409 for the 128GB model.

Despite the increase in screen size, this year's doesn't go up in price at all - at least not in the US where it costs $329 for 32GB and $429 for 128GB. However, in the UK it does cost more - £349 and £449 for the two storage sizes. 

And there's a cellular version of the new iPad, too, costing $459/£479 for 32GB or $559/£579 for 128GB. 

Design

  • iPad 10.2: 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm, 483g
  • iPad 9.7: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm, 469g

The new iPad 10.2 (2019) and the iPad 9.7 (2018) are both aluminium and are both available in Silver, Space Grey and Gold. For the first time, Apple says the new iPad 10.2 is made of 100 percent recycled aluminium. 

Both iPads have the trademark large bezels around the displays and have a home button which enables you to use Touch ID to unlock the device.

The iPad 10.2 is 10mm larger than the iPad 9.7 and 5mm wider. It is the same thickness (both are thicker than the iPad Air) and the new model is heavier as you'd expect. 

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Display

  • iPad 10.2: 10.2-inch, 2,160 x 1,620, 264ppi
  • iPad 9.7: 9.7-inch, 2,048 x 1,536, 264ppi

As you'll realise, the iPad 9.7 has a 9.7-inch retina display and this year's new model has a 10.2-inch screen. Both have a pixel density of 264ppi; the iPad 9.7 boasts a 2.048 x 1.536 resolution while the iPad 10.2 slightly ups the ante with 2,160 x 1,620. Both have support for the first generation of Apple Pencil

Coincidentally, the slightly larger iPad Air offers a 2,224 x 1,668 resolution across its larger still 10.5-inch display. 

Hardware and software

  • iPad 10.2: A10 Fusion, 10 hours battery, Touch ID
  • iPad 9.7: A10 Fusion, 10 hours battery, Touch ID

As you can see from the specs above, both of these tablets are very similar internally. Bith have the A10 Fusion processor with embedded M10 coprocessor.  The cited battery life is the same as well as Lightning charging. Audio comes from stereo speakers.

One difference is that the new iPad 10.2 is compatible with the Apple Smart Keyboard, much like the iPad Pro lineup and the larger iPad Air. 

Like every modern iPad, both of these iPad models can run the new version of iPadOS - Apple has now split the iPad software apart from the iPhone's iOS. It's so new iPad features - largely for multitasking and laptop-like functions - can be added to the iPad software over time without having to bloat the iPhone software.

Cameras

  • Both: 1.2MP front, 8MP rear, 1080p video, 30fps

Both tablets come with an 8-megapixel rear camera offering an aperture of f/2.4 with autofocus, HDR for photos, Live Photos, Burst Mode and tap to focus. But the front-facing FaceTime HD camera isn't that great at a mere 1.2 megapixels. Both cameras have  a flash.

Both offer 1080p 30fps video recording on the rear cameras, while the front cameras can record 720p, again at 30fps.

Conclusion

The iPad 10.2 offers almost the same package as the iPad 9.7 but ups the screen size noticeably. It is more expensive in the UK (same in the US), but only by £30 for the basic model. The differences are few, but mainly it's that the iPad 10.2 offers Smart Keyboard support. With Apple clearly keen on making the iPad more of a laptop replacement with iPadOS, it's no wonder - and that direction is probably part of the reason the smaller iPad is now a bigger iPad. It's still a great-value device - one of the best on the market. 

And when you look at which iPad you should buy, it makes it harder to recommend the iPad Air and even the iPad Pro for some users when there's so much capability within the iPad 10.2.