Apple's cheapest iPad will probably get 5G this year too, but it's not all good news

Apple's cheapest iPad will probably get 5G this year too, but it's not all good news
There's been a lot of talk lately about several different new iPads Apple might be preparing to release in the coming months, including some interesting next-gen Pro powerhouses and an improved Air model with 5G support among other important upgrades.

But for the most part, the tech giant's 10th generation "regular" iPad has kept a low profile in reports anticipating 2022's "iSchedule", which seems to suggest no such product will be unveiled in the very near future.

Of course, that's hardly surprising given that the 9th Gen iPad (10.2) has barely seen daylight four months ago, but at the same time, it's definitely not shocking to hear from a typically reliable insider over on Twitter today that a non-Pro, non-Air, and non-Mini Apple slate is currently scheduled to come out "towards the end of this year."

So how will the 5G iPad 10 look?

Pretty much exactly like 2021's 10.2-inch iPad, at least at first glance. We know, that's not what you wanted to hear, especially if you can't afford the $599 and up iPad Air (2020), which obviously means you won't be able to afford the next-gen 10.9-incher either.

While it's clearly far too early to be 100 percent certain of anything relating to a device that's probably still eight months or so away from an official announcement, we have to admit it makes sense for Apple to wait until 2023 for a vanilla iPad redesign.

The main reason that makes sense is 5G, which alongside an upgrade from A13 to A14 Bionic processing power, should create a sufficiently compelling list of 2022 improvements.

Even better, this year's 10th Gen iPad is also expected to add Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6 to the connectivity section of its presumably otherwise unchanged spec sheet apart from (optional) 5G support.

Although it's definitely going to be nice for cash-strapped Apple fans in love with speed to get a 5G-enabled iPad sans breaking the bank, it will also be at least a little disappointing for some people to see an admittedly outdated design live on.

How much could the iPad 5G (2022) cost?

$460 and up is our current prediction based on what we "know" about the future 10.2-inch tablet and the official pricing structure of the existing iPad (2021). A 4G LTE-enabled version of the Apple A13 Bionic-powered 10.2-incher from last year typically goes for 460 bucks with 64 gigs of internal storage space, so we don't see any reason why an entry-level iPad (2022) configuration capable of delivering 5G speeds would cost more.

Obviously, that's a far too specific figure to predict so early with a reasonably high degree of confidence, so if you want to start saving money, it might be wise to add 40 or 50 bucks just to be safe.

It almost goes without saying that a Wi-Fi-only iPad 10 with a 10.2-inch display, good old fashioned Lightning port, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and Apple A14 Bionic chip under the hood should start at the exact same $329 price as its predecessor... unless, of course, there are other significant upgrades or big new features in the pipeline we don't yet know about.

In terms of commercial availability, recent history suggests a September release could be on the cards, although everything depends on how the coronavirus pandemic and global chip shortages develop until then.

In the meantime, a fifth-gen iPad Air is widely expected to provide a slightly cheaper 5G-capable alternative to 2021's 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pros this spring, most likely followed by a new iPad Pro generation at some point by the end of 2022 but no refreshed iPad mini before 2023... at the earliest.

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