While the new iPad (2022) has been one of Apple's least-leaked products of the year, we've finally started hearing details about the upcoming entry-level tablet - and it already sounds better in one key way than the iPhone 14 that it's expected to debut alongside.
Apple fan site 9to5Mac has received some information about the upcoming iPad, apparently from the same source that correctly provided iPad Air 5 information, though as with all leaks take this with a pinch of salt.
Apparently, the upcoming iPad will have a USB-C port, making it the final iPad line to use this standard plug since the iPad Pro devices were the first to make the jump in 2018. Existing entry-level iPads use the Lightning port, a proprietary Apple tech that iPhones also use (and are expected to use for this year's models too).
Thanks to EU regulations, Apple is having to move its smartphones over to USB-C in the next few years, but apparently it's jumping the gun with its iPads. USB-C is faster for charging and allows for quicker data transfers than Lightning, so Apple fans will likely be happy.
Another intriguing move is that the entry-level iPad will apparently offer 5G connectivity - well, on certain models. For current versions you can opt for a Wi-Fi only or cellular version, and it sounds like the 2022 version will connect to 5G as well as 4G networks for that cell option.
Finally, the leak says that the iPad (2022) will have the A14 Bionic chipset, which isn't exactly a surprise since the last one had the A13. It'll therefore be reasonably powerful, but not exactly a rival to the iPad Pro.
There are likely more iPad upgrades that we haven't heard about yet, but the USB-C and 5G alone are pretty big improvements.
Analysis: bye-bye Apple Pencil?
If Apple does ditch the Lightning port in its next iPad, there's going to be a knock-on effect in the stylus department.
Entry-level iPads currently use the original Apple Pencil, which requires the Lightning port to charge up, but newer slates with USB-C use the Apple Pencil 2. This charges wirelessly by clipping onto the side of the tablet, and was introduced when Lightning started going the way of the dodo.
If the Lightning port is finally dropped from the final iPad that uses it, this could mean that the original Apple Pencil is also on its way to retirement - only older versions of the slate will be able to use it, after all.
The Apple Pencil 2 is more convenient for its charging solution, and also offers better pressure sensitivity, so this isn't a bad thing - but an interesting sea change for Apple. If you want to know more, we've got a full guide to the Apple Pencil on iPads.
- These are the best iPads
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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. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.