We love iPads. Apple’s tablets have been the industry leader practically since their introduction in 2010, redefining the entire space and pretty much wiping out all competition. So, it’s a great idea to buy one – but which one? You’ll find six different models on the Apple Store, not to mention various configurations that offer different storage and connectivity options. To make the muddied waters a bit clearer, here’s our quick guide to what it will cost you to buy a new iPad, and the best way to save money.
A bit of bad news to start – in October 2022 Apple increase prices across the iPad range outside the U.S. so if you are based in the U.K, Canada, Australia, or elsewhere the prices are higher now than they were.
How much is the cheapest iPad?
For many years now, the standard iPad has been the cheapest model in the range. In the current catalogue though, Apple has done something different. While the 10.2-inch iPad 9th generation remains the cheapest, there is also an iPad 10th generation model available, albeit with a larger 10.9-inch screen thanks to a redesign, and a higher price tag. So, if you want the least expensive version of Apple’s tablet you’ll need the 2021 iPad 9th generation model. It’s also the last iPad to offer a Home button, so if you want one of those then this is the iPad for you.
It is also possible to save money on other iPads if you’d prefer a larger screen. You can buy cheaper iPads from Apple’s Refurbished Store. These iPads have been refurbished, but come with a one year warranty. Another option is not to buy your iPad from Apple, but to look for deals one of the various Apple resellers. We track deals on all the iPads–to find out who has the best deal on the iPad you want check out our round ups of the best iPad deals this month: iPad deals, iPad mini deals, iPad Air deals, iPad Pro deals.
As we pointed out above, the standard iPad introduced in 2022 is the tenth generation model. It features a design similar to that of the iPad Air (5th generation). That means there’s no Home button, but rather a full screen approach that uses the same gestures controls as all the other modern iPads. This move gives the new tablet a bigger 10.9-inch display, much improved cameras over the generation it succeeds, 5G support for Cellular models, plus the introduction of some fun colours on the case. It also means a substantial price hike. Prices start at $449/£499.
If you want something a little smaller, that still packs a mighty punch, then the iPad mini (6th generation) is the way to go. This pocket rocket costs nearly the same as the larger iPad 10th generation, but offers a newer processor (A15 Bionic rather than A14 Bionic), higher resolution display, plus support for the 2nd generation Apple Pencil (the 10th gen iPad only support the 1st gen Pencil). It starts at $499/£569.
While the 10th generation iPad may be a tribute to the design of its more expensive siblings, the iPad Air is the real deal that will be the best choice for those who want an excellent balance of performance and price. It features the powerful M1 processor, which means it will cope with pretty much anything you throw at it. Basically, it’s an iPad Pro without the ProMotion feature, which most people won’t notice. Prices start at $599/£669.
Those looking for the most premium of iPads will find the end of their quest in the Pro section of the Apple Store. The iPad Pro comes in two variants, iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Pro 12.9-inch, both of which boast the M2 processor, ProMotion displays with a high refresh rate for ultra-smooth scrolling, twin rear cameras, Thunderbolt/USB 4 support, Face ID and storage options that go all the way up to 2TB. The size of the screen isn’t the only difference between these two iPads though.
If you want the ultimate iPad you’ll need a healthy bank account balance, as you can see below:
11-inch iPad Pro price
The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799/$999, which is a significant saving on the 12.9-inch model. However, while many of the features are identical, it does lack the Liquid Retina XDR display of the 12.9-inch model, and with it the XDR brightness.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $1,099/$1,299, which is a significant increase compared to the 11-inch model. Other than the larger screen this iPad Pro offers a Liquid Retina XDR display with XDR brightness (1,000 nits max full screen, 1,600 nits peak). Where the 11-inch iPad Pro is 4th generation, the 12.9in model is now in it’s 6th generation.
Martyn has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews for Macworld and its sister site Tech Advisor.