I want to buy an iPad Pro – but a cheap iPad redesign could change my mind

Apple iPad 9.7
An older entry-level iPad with its outdated design. (Image credit: Future)

I'm leaving TechRadar, and that means I have to return the iPad Pro 12.9 I've had on loan and – against the advice of my bank account – buy my first new tablet since I was in university several years ago. 

Having used iPad Pros for years, I'm used to a tablet with a big screen, powerful processor and futuristic-looking design - none of those thick bezels, physical Touch ID buttons and rounded rears of the iPads of yesteryear (like the one pictured above).

However, given how much premium iPads cost, I'm cowering from buying one. Even used, even on offer, iPad Pros are exorbitantly expensive and I simply can't justify buying one.

Even the iPad Air costs a lot for a 'budget take' on the iPad Pro. Yes, it has a smaller display, less storage and a lower price, but it's still incredibly pricey. I've also been looking at the iPad Air (2020) since it's a bit older, but the base version only has 64GB storage and when you increase that to 256GB the tablet gets horribly expensive again.

I was considering opting for an Android tablet (even though many of my most-used apps are iOS-only), and then the rumors about the new iPad (2022) started.

A 'new' new iPad?

Apple generally introduces a new entry-level iPad each year, with an older design, smaller screen, and weaker chip (yet lower price) compared to the Pro or Air iPads.

It's one of these that I bought many years ago for university, but thanks to the many foibles they have, I hadn't considered buying one this time.

However, recent rumors suggest that Apple could be planning to completely redesign its most affordable range of tablets, bringing them in line with the Pro, Air and Mini lines.

An Apple iPad Pro 11 (2021) on a table, with a keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

Such a redesign would likely mean moving the front Touch ID button to the edge of the device, a USB-C port instead of a Lightning one, thinner bezels between the screen and the edge of the device, and a flatter edge.

The move could also bring an increase to the screen size, or perhaps it would have the same display dimensions as on the 2021 model, but a smaller tablet overall.

A worthy (and tempting?) change

This move would solve some of my biggest issues with the entry-level iPad.

A USB-C port would mean faster charging. I'd also be able to use peripherals like my external storage without needing to buy an adaptor. Presumably, this change would also mean that the Apple Pencil 2 and newer keyboard accessories would be compatible with the slate.

If there was a screen size increase, I could better use the tablet for sketching and note-taking with a stylus. Sure, I wouldn't have the 12.9 inches of real estate that I'm used to, but every inch counts.

Hopefully, this redesign wouldn't be accompanied by a price hike. I'm not convinced on that front, though, as the iPad Air's upgrade to a newer design came with a higher cost.

I'm not saying that a new and improved entry-level iPad would be a must-buy for me, as I'd need to see what's changed and how much it costs. But with the incredibly high price of Apple's other tablets, I'm hoping that the base model could be my savior.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.