Like we said above, the best iPad features right now are distributed across models, making it hard to single out a go-to “perfect” iPad right now. Price, performance, front camera quality, accessory support and display quality vary across models. Most people tend to buy iPads for family or personal use, and you’ll need to decide how much you want to spend. There are also frequent sales of iPads that can change the equation, too. But the iPad as a product line is great overall. Models tend to have long lives, and all models on sale now are solid at running apps and games, and even multitasking.
The last wave of iPads in 2022 added more choice, but no clear stand-out best product. The 10th-gen iPad, released last fall, is more expensive than the ninth-gen iPad, which remains on sale. The 10th-gen model has a better-placed front-facing camera for video chats, a larger screen, a faster processor and USB-C charging, but needs its own cases and a weird dongle for charging the first-gen Pencil (although it also supports Apple’s lower-cost USB-C pencil, too). It's a great pick if it's ever on sale, but expensive otherwise.
The iPad Pros got better M2 processors, faster Wi-Fi 6E and 5G connectivity in late 2022, and a new "Pencil hover" tool for proximity-based previews of art tools. But its design remains the same and the front camera placement hasn't been fixed, which remains frustrating for anyone who was hoping to use the iPad Pro for work-based video chats when in landscape mode. Also, iPadOS is no closer to replacing your Mac, although Stage Manager's external monitor support offers a little more multiscreen multitasking. Wait for the next iPad Pro, which will likely have M3 series processors, before spending your money.
Meanwhile, the iPad Air, released in early 2022, still remains the best "Pro on a budget" iPad with its fast M1 chip and Pencil 2 support, but it’s the most likely candidate for an upgrade early next year. The current model doesn't fix that front camera either, though, so if looking good on Zoom and FaceTime matters most to you, consider that 10th-gen iPad instead. And if there's an iPad model that seems like it could get an update sooner than any other, it's this one.
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There's a $120 starting price gap between the $329 entry-model ninth-gen, which remains in the line, and the new $449 10th-gen version. That gives the older model a bit of an edge over the new one, despite the latter's slightly larger display, side camera, better processor and USB-C connection -- especially if you only really need one of those upgrades, like the camera relocation. If you need all those upgrades and can afford it but don't need an M1 CPU, the step-up model makes sense.
Whichever model or screen size you choose, all the current iPads support the latest version of iPadOS (a version of iOS specifically for iPads) and a mix of either the first, second-gen or lower-cost USB-C Apple Pencil. Apple supports external monitors for iPads with an M1 chip or better via a feature called Stage Manager, which has been gradually improving.
No matter what iPad you buy, there are ways of connecting keyboard cases, Bluetooth and otherwise, although your options will vary. That's good news for anyone who wants to do more than stream videos and music, browse websites and play Apple Arcade games. Plus, all the current iPad models support mouse and trackpad use for a more MacBook-like experience. The Apple Magic Keyboard is compatible with the iPad Pro and iPad Air, but not the 10th-gen iPad (which has a Magic Keyboard Folio case instead).