This $349 iPad was sneakily the best announcement during Apple’s ‘Let Loose’ event

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

During Apple’s “Let Loose” event, the company announced several iPad upgrades, including a larger iPad Air, Apple Silicon advances, its thinnest consumer device yet, and more. Apple fans who enjoy the simpler things, however, can now purchase the base model of the tenth-generation iPad for $349, permanently down from $449.

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With the release of its new iPads, Apple didn’t just cut the price of its 10th-generation iPad; the company also discontinued its ninth-generation iPad. As a result, Apple is now advertising the 10th-generation iPad, launched in October 2022, as its entry-level base model.

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ZDNET tested the standard iPad last year and called it a “confusingly good tablet,” applauding it for its landscape front-facing camera (which the new Pro and Air models have only now just adopted), reliable battery life, and USB-C port, which was a bigger deal at the time than it is today.

The 10th-generation iPad signals Apple’s official retirement of its older iPad hardware, which included the A13 Bionic chip and a physical Home button. Now, the 10th-generation iPad takes the lead as Apple’s easy-to-recommend tablet, thanks to its new lower price point.

The new iPad Air and iPad Pro have M2 and M4 chips, respectively; both processors are typically found in Apple’s highly-capable MacBook computers, making the newer iPads faster and more capable to use.

Also: Apple’s hardware blitz in the M4 iPad Pro is missing the software magic to make it sing

Still, the 10th-generation iPad is an excellent option for people who don’t need their iPad to run graphics-heavy software applications. If you want an iPad for casual use, like watching YouTube, surfing the web, and calling or texting friends, the standard iPad is arguably your best option, and you won’t have to pay upwards of $1,000 for it.

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