In a (somewhat) surprising announcement, Apple has unveiled a new 9.7-inch iPad – the company’s first proper product launch of 2017.
Today, Apple announced a new iPad with minimal fanfare; the news came through a press release, rather than the usual launch event we’ve come to expect. The new iPad is effectively a sequel to 2014’s iPad Air 2, although Apple appears to have killed the ‘Air’ naming convention – no iPad Air 3, folks.
“iPad is the world’s most popular tablet. Customers love the large, 9.7-inch display for everything from watching TV and movies, to surfing the web, making FaceTime calls, and enjoying photos, and now it is even more affordable,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
Schiller continued: “New customers and anyone looking to upgrade will love this new iPad for use at home, in school, and for work, with its gorgeous Retina display, our powerful A9 chip, and access to the more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for it.”
Here’s what you need to know.
NEW IPAD 2017 SPECS: IT’S MORE POWERFUL THAN THE IPAD AIR 2
The new iPad runs on Apple’s latest iOS 10 operating system, and uses the same A9 chip (with M9 motion coprocessor) we saw featured in the iPhone 6S. That means it should be faster than the iPad Air 2, which used a modified version of the iPhone 6’s A8 chip. The base storage for the device is 32GB, although there’s also a 128GB option too.
The good news is that you’re basically getting the same display as the iPad Pro with this new model. The LED-backlit screen measures 9.7 inches across, and has a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels – that’s 264 pixels-per-inch.
The primary camera offers a middling 8-megapixel resolution with a f/2.4 aperture and a five-element lens. The FaceTime HD camera, meanwhile, snaps 1.2-megapixel images, and boasts a wider f/2.2 aperture.
Both models support Bluetooth 4.2 connections, although the LTE version has added benefits like Wi-Fi calling and a bundled Apple SIM.
As far as sensors go, you’ll be getting the usual Touch ID fingerprint sensor (built into the Home button), as well as a three-axis gyroscope, an accelerometer, barometer, and ambient light sensor to boot.
Here’s a full comparison of the new 9.7-inch iPad (2017) specs, compared to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2
|New iPad (2017)||iPad Pro (2016)||iPad Air 2 (2014)|
|Screen||9.7 inches||9.7 inches||9.7 inches|
|Display Resolution||2,048 x 1,536 pixels (264ppi)||2,048 x 1,536 pixels (264ppi)||2,048 x 1,536 pixels (264ppi)|
|Dimensions||240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm||240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm||240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm|
|Weight||469 / 478 grams||437 / 444 grams||437 / 444 grams|
|Chipset||Apple A9||Apple A9X||Apple A8X|
|Storage||32GB / 128GB||32GB / 128GB / 256GB||16GB / 32GB / 64GB / 128GB|
|Primary Camera||8 megapixels, f/2.4||12 megapixels, f/2.2||8 megapixels, f/2.4|
|Secondary Camera||1.2 megapixels, f/2.2||5 megapixels, f/2.2||1.2 megapixels, f/2.2|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi (LTE optional)||Wi-Fi (LTE optional)||Wi-Fi (LTE optional)|
|Fingerprint Scanner||Touch ID||Touch ID||Touch ID|
|Battery||32.4Wh (10-hour life)||27.9WH (10-hour life)||27.62Wh (10-hour life)|
|Colours||Space Grey, Silver, Gold||Space Grey, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold||Space Grey, Silver, Gold|
NEW IPAD 2017 DESIGN: THIS ISN’T AN IPAD PRO
The important distinction to make about the new iPad (2017) is that it isn’t part of Apple’s iPad Pro series. That said, it looks largely similar to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, at least at a glance.
Probably the main difference is that the new iPad is a fair whack thicker than the iPad Pro, with a depth of 7.5mm versus the iPad Pro’s 6.1mm chassis. It’s also heavier at 469 grams (or 478 grams for the LTE model), compared to the iPad Pro’s feathery 437-gram body.
NEW IPAD 2017 BATTERY LIFE: APPLE PROMISES 10 HOURS OF USAGE
Apple has pledged that you’ll get a hefty 10 hours of usage per charge from the new iPad, based on general usage tasks like surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music. This will allegedly drop to nine hours if you’re surfing the web using a mobile data network on the cellular model, which makes sense.
In any case, both models feature the same built-in 32.4-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery that charges via a Lightning cable.
NEW IPAD 2017 RELEASE DATE AND PRICE: IT’S NEARLY HERE
The new iPad (2017) comes in three colours options – Silver, Gold, and Space Gray – with pre-orders set to go live from Friday, March 24. You’ll be able to place orders through Apple.com, or purchase one in-store from “next week” in the UK and the USA.
Here’s how the new 9.7-inch iPad pricing breaks down:
- iPad (32GB, Wi-Fi) – £339/$329
- iPad (32GB, LTE) – £469/$459
- iPad (128GB, Wi-Fi) – £429/$429
- iPad (128GB, LTE) – £559/$559
There are also polyurethane Smart Covers for the new iPad that start from $39 in the US. You’ll be able to pick these up in the following colour options: Charcoal Gray, White, Midnight Blue, Pink Sand, and (RED).