Apple's 'thinner and faster' ninth-gen iPad will cater to students this fall

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Apple's 'thinner and faster' ninth-gen iPad will cater to students this fall
It hasn't always been easy in recent years to guess Apple's product release plans, but following new "regular" iPad generations unveiled in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, it felt safe to assume yet another budget-friendly rehash or upgrade of some sort was in the pipeline for 2021.

As the months went by, however, a radically redesigned sixth-gen iPad mini expected out by the end of this year shared the spotlight with a fifth-gen iPad Air and a duo of improved iPad Pros unlikely to break cover until 2022, leaving the ninth-gen iPad more or less up in the air.

Of course, there might be an easy explanation why the non-Pro, non-Air, and non-mini iPad 9 has made so few headlines to date. Namely, the lack of game-changing upgrades and major new features or design elements rather than any type of delay.

That being said, this year's entry-level iPad is tipped by none other than Bloomberg's Mark Gurman today (via MacRumors) to change a little more about its predecessor than what said predecessor changed about its own predecessor. Confused much? Then let us clarify everything for you.

Apple's ninth-gen iPad is believed to be faster and thinner than the iPad 10.2 (2020), which was basically just faster than the iPad 10.2 (2019). While Gurman, who is rarely wrong about these things, leaves quite a bit of room for interpretation and speculation by avoiding to go into detail on both those fronts, we don't expect the improvements to be particularly radical.

In other words, the smart money is on the iPad 9 retaining the 10.2-inch screen size and large bezels of the iPad 8 while unnoticeably reducing the overall device depth and packing an Apple A13 Bionic chipset. That's not exactly a very new or impressive processor, having made its commercial debut inside the iPhone 11 family back in 2019, but the A14 Bionic is powering the significantly costlier iPad Air 4.

A price hike over the $329 and up typically charged for the eight-gen iPad to accommodate the latter SoC is obviously possible but quite unlikely, especially keeping in mind Gurman's remark about the iPad 9 primarily targeting students and potentially other cash-strapped consumers in the market for one of the best tablets out there this fall.

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