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(Pocket-lint) - Apple revealed the 9th generation of its standard entry-level iPad on 14 September, alongside a new iPad mini. While the iPad mini got a design refresh however, the standard iPad's upgrades were focused on internal improvements and extra features.

If you wondering how the iPad 10.2 (9th gen) compares to the iPad 10.2 (8th gen), you're in the right place. Here is how their specifications differ to help you decide which to buy and whether to upgrade. 


What's the same?

  • Design
  • Rear camera
  • Display size
  • Battery

The Apple iPad 10.2 (9th gen) features an identical design to its predecessor and identical measurements, with both featuring the Touch ID fingerprint sensor below the display. They both have an aluminium frame and rear, a single 8-megapixel rear camera and they both have a 10.2-inch Retina Display with 2160 x 1620 resolution for a pixel density of 264ppi.

The two tablets also both feature a Lightning connector for charging, a 10-hour battery life and they are both compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil. Other elements that remain the same across the two generations are a two speaker audio setup and compatibility with the latest iPadOS 15 software.

What's different?

Despite the two devices offering multiple similarities, it wouldn't be a next generation if there weren't a couple of differences. Here is what is different between the iPad 10.2 (2021) and the iPad 10.2 (2020).


  • iPad (9th gen): A13
  • iPad (8th gen): A12

The iPad 10.2 (9th gen) runs on the A13 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, while the iPad 10.2 (8th gen) runs on the A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine so the latest model is a little faster and more capable.

Front camera

  • iPad (9th gen): 12MP Ultra Wide, f/2.4, 2x zoom out, Center Stage
  • iPad (8th gen): 1.2MP FaceTime HD, f/2.4

The front camera has been upgraded on the 2021 standard iPad model to a 12-megapixel ultra wide-angle sensor, which allows for a feature called Center Stage, which was first introduced on the iPad Pro line. You can read more about Center Stage in our separate feature, but during video calls, the iPad's camera will follow you around the room if you move, which is great.

The iPad (8th gen) has a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, so this is quite a substantial difference between the models, with the new model much better for video calls.

Display technology

  • iPad (9th gen): 10.2-inch Retina, True Tone, sRGB
  • iPad (8th gen): 10.2-inch Retina

While the size and resolution of the display is the same between the iPad 10.2 (9th gen) and iPad 10.2 (8th gen), there are a couple of differences in the technology. The latest model offers sRGB, as well as Apple's True Tone technology, while the older model doesn't.

Both displays have a fingerprint-resistant coating though and they both have a 500nits maximum brightness.

Storage options

  • iPad (9th gen): 64GB/256GB
  • iPad (8th gen): 32GB/128GB

Both the iPad 10.2 (9th gen) and the iPad 10.2 (8th gen) are available in Wi-Fi and Cellular and Wi-Fi only models, but their storage capacities differ. 

The 9th generation model comes in 64GB and 256GB options, while the 8th generation comes in 32GB and 128GB models.


  • iPad (9th gen): Two options
  • iPad (8th gen): Three options

The iPad 10.2 (9th gen) only comes Silver and Space Grey colour options, while the iPad 10.2 (8th gen) adds a gold option.


  • iPad (9th gen): 487g (Wi-Fi only), 498g (Wi-Fi & Cellular)
  • iPad (8th gen): 490g (Wi-Fi only), 495g (Wi-Fi & Cellular)

Despite offering identical measurements at 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm, the iPad (9th gen) is lighter than the iPad (8th gen) - or the Wi-Fi only model is. The new model weighs 487g, while the older model is 490g.



While the design and several elements of the Apple iPad 10.2 (9th gen) and Apple iPad 10.2 (8th gen) remain the same, there are a few key differences that sets them apart from each other.

Aside from a processor upgrade, which you would expect in a new model, the iPad 10.2 (9th gen) also offers a significantly improved front camera, along with a great feature that comes with that, double the storage and improvements to the display.

If video calling isn't something you plan on doing with the iPad, and you don't need too much storage, you might find the 8th gen more than enough and at a good price. Otherwise, the 9th generation model is the one you want from these two standard iPad models, if your budget allows.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 16 September 2021.