June 5, 2023
The 3 glaring issues that keep me from loving the iPad (2022) |  Digital trends

The 3 glaring issues that keep me from loving the iPad (2022) | Digital trends

Apple’s latest “entry-level” iPad is arguably the most controversial tablet ever. It just doesn’t look like the low-cost, hassle-free, and consistently reliable iPad we’ve come to love over the years. The $450 asking price is a deterrent right off the bat, and Apple realizes that too, which is why the aging $329 model is still on the shelf.

In his review of the iPad (10th generation, 2022), Joe Maring from Digital Trends highlighted the new improved design, vibrant screen, sufficiently fast processor and good battery life. I cultivated similar feelings about the tablet after using it for over a week. But I just can’t get over the compromises Apple is offering on the 2022 iPad shelf.

Cheap on Wi-Fi – why?

Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

If you look through the spec sheets of the iPad Pro, Air, mini, and the new vanilla iPad, you’ll notice a small difference in Wi-Fi capabilities. All four tablets support Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and can lock onto the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. But the main difference is the lack of simultaneous dual-band connectivity.

A router – an antenna installed inside a receiving device like the iPad – that supports “simultaneous dual-band” connectivity allows the device to connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz waves simultaneously. This dramatically increases bandwidth and provides more reliable connectivity, ideal for gaming and video streaming.

Apple quietly deprived the new iPad of this crucial connectivity feature. In a home test, Digital Trends editor Joe Maring recorded a peak throughput of 138 Mbps on the iPad 2022 and 303 Mbps on the iPad Pro while connected to the same Wi-Fi network. In another test, the iPad Pro pulled 208 Mbps while the base iPad only managed 121 Mbps.

Someone holding the iPad (2022) with the screen on.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

How many dollars Apple saved by using a downgraded antenna on the 10th generation iPad is beyond my comprehension, but it’s a maddening omission.

Apple — with all that fancy iPadOS trickery and the improved Magic Keyboard — makes a case for the iPad to serve your basic computing tasks, too. To deprive it of a crucial connectivity feature that has a tangible impact on entertainment and computing experiences on the tablet is hugely disappointing.

The Apple Pencil situation is hell

An Apple Pencil with its charging cap removed.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The 2022 iPad is the only tablet in Apple’s current-generation tablet portfolio that doesn’t support the second-generation Apple Pencil. Apple assumes that the iPad mini’s smaller 8.3-inch screen deserves Apple Pencil 2 compatibility, but for reasons known only to Apple engineers, the 2022 iPad’s 10.9-inch panel is one. unworthy.

Instead, you’re limited to using the first-generation Apple Pencil. It’s a disgusting and frustrating compromise, a nightmarish design situation, and a shameless way to squeeze $9 out of the buyer’s pocket for a USB-C to Apple Pencil adapter.

The Apple Pencil adapter for the iPad (2022).
The little white specimen of Apple’s $9 greed. Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The second-generation Apple Pencil charges magnetically and has an ergonomic flat profile that doubles as a button for tricks like changing brushes. But it’s really the load situation and the way it turns that is a pain in the neck.

The first-generation Apple Pencil has a Lightning connector at the top, which means you can’t just plug it into the USB-C port on the 2022 iPad. Instead, you have to spend the extra cash on the USB-C to Apple Pencil adapter to charge the pen.

This charging system was bad enough and looked horrible from Apple’s industrial design lens. Adding a dongle to the mix makes the whole setup even more wonky and an aesthetic disaster.

The iPad (2022) with an Apple Pencil plugged in using a USB-C cable and adapter.
I won’t be proud of this charging design fiasco. Joe Maring/Digital Trends

It’s almost as if Apple is wreaking cruel revenge on its own buyers for demanding a USB-C connector that eases the port situation and being forced to drop it by 2024.

Even from a blunt point of view, why on earth do customers limit themselves to using an older gen stylus while a new one is on the shelves, especially when you’ve already raised the price of the tablet by over 30 %?

The magic keyboard is not so magical

iPad and Magic Keyboard connectors.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

By far, the new Magic Keyboard Folio is the best Apple has created to date. The function key is a fantastic addition to quality of life, the key travel is satisfying, and the trackpad is wide enough. But there are a few caveats that are extremely frustrating.

First off, this keyboard costs $249 but doesn’t offer a backlit system. For comparison, the $299 Magic Keyboard for the 11-inch iPad Pro serves up that convenience and also adds passthrough USB-C charging to the mix. Plus, that magnetic levitation design is ridiculously cool.

The iPad (2022) in its Magic Keyboard Folio accessory.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Second, the new keyboard isn’t compatible with the iPad Air, which looks identical and also offers a 10.9-inch screen. This incompatibility is linked to the dimensions of the iPad, deliberately offset by a few millimeters on each side, compared to the iPad Air.

Size comparison between iPad 2022 and iPad Air

Just look at the dimension difference between the 2022 iPad and the iPad Air, and try to convince yourself that it wasn’t a clever move to create a wall of incompatibility between the two tablets regarding the Magic Keyboard.

Then there is the situation with keyboard shortcuts.

I don’t know if these roadblocks are built in at the hardware level, but it’s somewhat confusing to see the same key combination doing its job on a Mac running the same app, but won’t work on iPadOS. For example, the “Command + -” combination will not minimize the Chrome window on iPadOS, but works fine on macOS Ventura.

Looking at the competition, the Surface Go Type Cover sold by Microsoft relies on a similar pin connector mechanism to the base, offers a great typing experience, has great build quality, and is backlit. It’s currently selling for $100 a pop, which is only two-fifths of what Apple is charging. It also comes in a variety of colors and doesn’t get dirty as quickly as the white Magic Keyboard.

An excellent tablet weighed down by cutting corners

The iPad (2022) lying face down on a pile of leaves.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The 2022 iPad isn’t a bad tablet by any stretch of the imagination, especially when you compare it to rival tablets in the $500 price bracket. Despite its aging processor, the iPad can still hold its own against the best Android tablets. The build quality is great with an incredibly light profile, the screen is solid, and iPadOS 16 is packed with great features.

But you really have to wonder if a new design with a bigger screen is worth the extra $120 over the previous generation iPad, which Apple continues to sell. More than that, you need to properly assess whether the trade-offs are worth paying that premium.

If using your iPad is limited to media consumption and use as a secondary display, mostly without using the keyboard or Apple Pencil, go ahead and splurge. But if you’re really looking to push this machine to its limits, well, the accessories situation is bad, and slow Wi-Fi will definitely slow you down.

Of course, you will also pay a much higher price for the package and have to live with the inconvenience as well. If you really want an iPad-like computing machine, the iPad Air with M1 is a much more secure and upgradable bet, for a small premium.

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