Picking the Best iPad to Buy in 2019

In March 2019, Apple updated its iPad lineup with two new tablets: the fifth-generation iPad mini and the 10.5-inch iPad Air. These models are now part of Apple's full iPad line, also including the 9.7-inch iPad, 11-inch iPad Pro, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro to make five models total.

iPad Comparison



Which iPad is right for you?


If price is your biggest consideration, you'll want to look at the basic 9.7-inch iPad, knowing it has older technology in it. If you're looking for portability, check out the iPad mini, and if you want a mid-sized iPad with a bit more to offer than the entry-level iPad, check out the new iPad Air.

What about the iPad Pro? Apple's high-end iPads are in a class by themselves, and it shows in the price. Unless you're a pro-level user or cost is no object, you'll probably want to look to cheaper options, but the iPad Pro models deliver cutting-edge technology for those who need it.

With that quick overview out of the way, let's take a look at what each model has to offer.

iPad Models


9.7-inch iPad


Starting at the low end of the iPad price spectrum, Apple has the basic 9.7-inch iPad starting at $329 for the Wi-Fi only model. This iPad is perfect if you're on a budget as it's also frequently on sale, and is popular in the education field.

It has the most important features users are looking for in an iPad, like a generous display, Touch ID, and a decent rear camera, as well as support for the first-generation Apple Pencil if you're into drawing, handwritten notes, and other tasks that don't work quite as well with your finger.

iPad Comparison Chart
That low-end price tag does mean there are a few sacrifices, however, as the front FaceTime camera is relatively low resolution compared to other iPads and the display is a definite step down as it lacks rich wide color support, True Tone technology that automatically adjusts overall tone based on ambient light, and an antireflective coating that helps minimize glare on other models. The display also isn't laminated to the cover glass, so you'll notice a bit of an air gap rather than feeling like you're directly touching the screen.

Key specifications include:
  • A 9.7‑inch Retina display

  • Home button with Touch ID

  • A10 Fusion chip

  • 8MP back camera with HDR and 1080p HD video

  • 1.2MP FaceTime HD front camera with HDR

  • Compatible with first-generation Apple Pencil

  • Compatible with Bluetooth keyboards

  • Lightning port

  • Colors include: silver, space gray, and gold

iPad mini


Next up is the newly-updated iPad mini, which starts at $399 for Wi-Fi only models. Apple's refresh of this smaller-sized tablet improved its internals and introduced support for the first-generation Apple Pencil, making it a capable mid-range tablet with ultra portability.

With a display size of 7.9 inches, you can't quite call it pocketable, but the iPad mini is definitely great for having something small on the go that still offers a much larger screen size than even Apple's largest iPhones.


Looking beyond the display size, this is a very capable device using the same A12 Bionic chip from Apple's latest iPhones, so it's a speedy tablet. You'll get an improved display compared to the entry-level iPad, a much better front FaceTime camera, and support for the first-generation Apple Pencil.

Key specifications include:
  • Fully laminated 7.9‑inch Retina display with True Tone

  • Touch ID

  • A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine

  • 8MP back camera with HDR and 1080p HD video

  • 7MP FaceTime HD front camera with Auto HDR

  • Compatible with first-generation Apple Pencil

  • Compatible with Bluetooth keyboards

  • Lightning port

  • Colors include: silver, space gray, and gold

10.5-inch iPad Air


In the middle of the iPad family now sits the 10.5-inch iPad Air, starting at $499 for Wi-Fi only models. Apple's brand-new iPad Air is now the perfect mid-tier option with a nice screen size, speedier internals, and first-generation Apple Pencil support.

The iPad Air and iPad mini have nearly identical specs aside from the display size, so size is likely going to be the most significant factor if you're deciding between the two.


The only other significant difference is that the iPad Air has a Smart Connector for easy connection to a Smart Keyboard accessory if you prefer a hardware keyboard for your iPad. The iPad mini's smaller size means it doesn't support a Smart Keyboard, although you can still pair a Bluetooth keyboard with it if you like.

Key specifications include:
  • Fully laminated 10.5‑inch Retina display with True Tone

  • Touch ID

  • A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine

  • 8MP back camera with HDR and 1080p HD video

  • 7MP FaceTime HD front camera with Auto HDR

  • Compatible with first-generation Apple Pencil

  • Compatible with Smart Keyboard and Bluetooth keyboards

  • Lightning port

  • Colors include: silver, space gray, and gold

iPad Pro


If you're looking for true portable workstation power, then the last two iPads in the lineup -- the iPad Pro models -- could be what you're interested in. These tablets were updated in late 2018 with Face ID and a near bezel-less design that mirrors the look of the iPhone X family.

These iPads, which start at $799 for the smaller 11-inch model and $999 for the 12.9-inch model, are a step up from the iPad Air in almost every way, from an improved "Liquid Retina" display with rounded corners and ProMotion technology for smoother display performance to a more powerful A12X chip and a better 12-megapixel rear camera with flash. You'll also get support for the second-generation Apple Pencil, which magnetically attaches to the iPad Pro and charges wirelessly.


To be honest, the iPad Pro is overkill for most mainstream users, but if you're a pro-level user or just want the latest technology, the iPad Pro has a lot to offer.

The main difference between the two iPad Pros is their screen sizes, so the following key specifications are for both models:
  • 11‑inch and 12.9-inch Liquid Retina displays with ProMotion technology and True Tone

  • Face ID

  • A12X Bionic chip with Neural Engine

  • 12MP back camera with Smart HDR and 4K video at 30 fps or 60 fps

  • 7MP TrueDepth front camera with Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, and Smart HDR

  • Compatible with second-generation Apple Pencil

  • Compatible with Smart Keyboard Folio and Bluetooth keyboards

  • USB-C connector instead of Lightning

  • Colors include: silver and space gray

Customization Options


Now that we've looked at the base specs of each of iPad models, it's time to think about various options like storage, cellular connectivity, and AppleCare+.

Storage: There are several storage options for each iPad, so think about how much you might need. On the low end, the 9.7-inch iPad is available in two sizes not seen anywhere else in the iPad family: 32GB ($329) and 128GB ($100 upgrade at $429).

For the just-released iPad mini and iPad Air, Apple is offering two storage options: 64GB ($399 for mini and $499 for Air) and 256GB (a $150 upgrade on the previous prices).


Lastly, the iPad Pro has the most storage capacity options. You can choose from the base 64GB option ($799 for 11-inch and $999 for 12.9-inch), or 256GB ($150 upgrade from base), 512GB ($350 upgrade from base), and 1TB ($750 upgrade from base).

Power-heavy users should always look to the higher-capacity iPad models to ensure they don't have to worry about constantly deleting apps and other files for storage space. Otherwise, Apple's iCloud is a great way to offload files and lets you opt for a cheaper iPad with less storage.

Unless you're storing a large local music library, downloading lots of video for offline playback, have a ton of huge apps, or doing pro-level work requiring lots of large files, mainstream users can usually get away with the lowest-tier storage options.

Cellular Connectivity: If you need to ensure that you can use your iPad at any time, including when you're not near a Wi-Fi connection, you can opt for a Wi-Fi + Cellular option to ensure you're always connected.

Cellular support adds $130–$150 onto the price of all corresponding Wi-Fi iPad models, depending on which iPad and which storage capacity. You'll also have to sign up for a data plan for an additional cost with a supported carrier, like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon in the United States.

All told, it's not a cheap upgrade, and many users prefer using their phone as a hotspot to deliver connectivity to a Wi-Fi iPad while on the go. But if you're phone plan doesn't allow for hotspot usage or you just want the convenience of having your iPad connected directly to a cellular network at all times, the option is there.

AppleCare+: New iPads come with one year of hardware repair coverage through Apple's limited warranty policy, as well as up to 90 days of complimentary support. But if you want more coverage, Apple offers optional AppleCare+ packages priced at $69 for the 9.7-inch iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Air or $129 for the iPad Pro.

AppleCare+ extends your iPad's coverage to two years from the purchase date and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, subject to a service fee of $49 plus applicable taxes in the United States. Prices vary elsewhere.


iPad AppleCare+ plans also cover accidental damage to the Apple Pencil for up to two years with a $29 fee plus tax per incident. AppleCare+ provides 24/7 priority access to support advisors via online chat or phone for up to two years after the iPad's original purchase date.

Apple charges high fees for accidental damage to a new iPad without AppleCare+, so as with most forms of insurance, the plan can pay for itself if ever used. AppleCare+ must be added within 60 days of purchasing a device.

Accessories


Each iPad has a plethora of accessories to choose from for protection, style, or usability, many of which Apple creates and sells itself on Apple.com and in Apple retail stores.

Apple Pencil: The Apple Pencil is a stylus most popular with artists but also used by others, providing a comfortable and streamlined way to interact with the tablet. The second-generation Apple Pencil introduced sleek design changes, magnetic charging on iPad Pro, and gesture controls, none of which are available on the original Apple Pencil.


It might be unclear which iPads support which Apple Pencil models, but with the new iPad mini and iPad Air it's become a bit simpler. In short, the iPad Pro uses the second-generation Apple Pencil while all other iPad models work with the first-generation Apple Pencil.

- First-Generation Apple Pencil ($100): 9.7-inch iPad (2018), fifth-generation iPad mini (2019), 10.5-inch iPad Air (2019)
- Second-Generation Apple Pencil ($130): 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2018)

In the end, if you're only looking to purchase an iPad as a convenient app-browsing, email-checking, or FaceTime device, you don't need an Apple Pencil. But if you're an artist or other creative with a penchant for drawing or taking digital handwritten notes, Apple's stylus is definitely an enhancement to the iPad experience.

For a more in-depth look at the differences between the two Apple Pencils, check out our comparison.

Cases: Apple sells Smart Cover and Smart Folio cases for all of its iPads, priced depending on the size of the device. You'll pay $39.00 for a 9.7-inch iPad Smart Cover, $39.00 for an iPad mini Smart Cover, $49.00 for an iPad Air Smart Cover, $79.00 for an 11-inch iPad Pro Smart Folio, and $99.00 for a 12.9-inch iPad Pro Smart Folio.


These cases magnetically attach to your iPad, offering a degree of protection while also allowing you to place the tablet in numerous angled positions. The difference between the two is that the iPad Pro's Smart Folio cases protect the rear of the tablet as well as the front, while the Smart Cover cases only protect the front.

Keyboards: If you're looking to do a lot of work on an iPad Pro, Apple also sells the Smart Keyboard Folio at $179.00 for the 11-inch model and $199.00 for the 12.9-inch model. This case is just like the Smart Folio, with an added Bluetooth keyboard for enhanced productivity. A similar accessory is available for the 10.5-inch iPad Air.


These Apple-made cases are compatible with iPads that have a Smart Keyboard connector, which is a special port that magnetically attaches the keyboard to the side of the iPad.

Otherwise, you can also look into popular iPad keyboard manufacturers like Brydge, Logitech, and Belkin, all of which sell Bluetooth keyboards that connect to iPads wirelessly. Keyboard cases are more expensive than your average case due to the added input use, but if you really plan on doing a lot of work and writing on your iPad, the two-in-one keyboard/protection combo is the way to go. The hardware keyboards give a much better typing experience and free up screen space on your iPad by getting rid of the software keyboard.

Cables: Apple's iPad lineup now has differing cable standard, making matters a bit confusing. The easy way to remember is that if you're purchasing anything that's not an iPad Pro, you'll be charging the iPad with a regular Apple Lightning cable.


If you're going with an iPad Pro, then you'll be using USB-C cables. All iPads come with their required cables in the box, but if you don't have many around the house it's always a good idea to stock up on more. Apple sells individual cables, but you can always shop around on Amazon for cheap and reliable brands like Anker, Aukey, and RAVPower.

So... Which iPad Should You Buy?


Overall, Apple's brand-new 10.5-inch iPad Air is a perfect all-encompassing tablet that should hit the check marks for many buyers. You can do everything from quickly browsing Twitter and checking emails to getting a few hours of work done with a paired keyboard, which isn't bad for the $499 starting price.

If you're someone who has preferred the 7.9-inch form factor of the iPad mini over the years, Apple's latest small-sized tablet is well worth the update and has nearly all of the features of the new iPad Air. The iPad mini doesn't have a Smart Keyboard connector like the iPad Air or a Smart Keyboard case of its own, but since the iPad mini isn't exactly a workstation device, that's not a bad trade-off (plus, you can still connect it to a Bluetooth keyboard if you want).

For $100 less than the iPad Air at $399 (64GB Wi-Fi), you'll still have a nice laminated display with True Tone and antireflective coating, Touch ID, the speedy A12 Bionic chip, first-generation Apple Pencil support, and the same cameras, all in an ultra-portable 7.9-inch tablet.


If you're shopping around for a cheap tablet for a kid, definitely consider Apple's 9.7-inch iPad, which sees discounts below its $329 price tag pretty often. Sale prices in the $230–$250 range are not unheard of, and pairing the iPad with a super-rugged child-proof case is a perfect birthday or holiday present. Frugal shoppers should also check out Apple's refurbished store to shop around for older-model iPads offered at discount.

And, of course, on the other end are the power users. If you're willing to spend the money to spec-out a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, you'll get a super reliable mobile workstation with 10-hour battery life in a 1.4 lb package. If you travel frequently for work, or just like setting up at a coffee shop during the day, the iPad Pro has a chance to become your MacBook replacement with a paired keyboard.

The most recent additions to Apple's iPad lineup provides a wide variety of options and offers clear distinctions between tablets that should help make your decision a little easier.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPad mini 5, iPad, iPad Air

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Apple Suppliers ‘Gearing Up for Mass Production’ of Updated iPad and AirPods

Companies in Apple's supply chain are reportedly "gearing up for mass production" of updated iPad and AirPods models, according to Taiwanese site DigiTimes.

Flexible PCB firms Flexium Interconnect and Zhen Ding Technology are gearing up for mass production for Apple's next-generation iPad devices, while Compeq Manufacturing and Unitech PCB supply rigid-flex boards for the forthcoming AirPods, according to industry sources.
The report says that both updates are expected to come at Apple's March 25 event, although reliable sources have indicated the event will focus on Apple's upcoming news and video services with no hardware announcements planned.

Minor hardware updates could come silently alongside the event or via press release around the same time, as DigiTimes's insights via the supply chain are likely limited to production timing rather than event specifics.

Hints of an updated low-cost iPad have been growing, with new iPad models appearing in a regulatory database back in January. Rumors have suggested the entry-level iPad could see its display grow from 9.7 inches to around 10.2 inches thanks to slimmer bezels, but we're not expecting to see Face ID and removal of the home button with this update.

As for AirPods, we've been hearing about an imminent update for many months now, with Apple's plans seemingly delayed as the company continues work on its AirPower charging mat. Updated AirPods would include a wireless charging case to work with the AirPower mat, as well as other upgrades including "Hey Siri" support and possibly new health monitoring features, a "grippy" texture, and maybe even a new black color option.

Related Roundups: iPad, AirPods 2

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Apple Planning Both 10.2-Inch ‘iPad 7’ and All-New 10.5-Inch iPad According to Proven Leaker

Throwing a wrench into rumors, the previously accurate Twitter account CoinX today claimed that Apple plans to release not only a 10.2-inch seventh-generation iPad, but also an entirely new 10.5-inch iPad without Pro branding. The tablets will not be released simultaneously, according to the tweet.



If accurate, Apple could perhaps be planning to release a slightly scaled back version of the existing 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which could allow it to fill a price point between the $329 lower-end iPad and the $799 and up 2018 iPad Pro models.

CoinX has an accurate track record, having previously tweeted the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR names of the 2018 iPhones before anyone else, in addition to the 2018 iPad Pro being 5.9mm thick and a few minor details about other Apple products. It is unclear where the information is sourced from.

The 10.2-inch iPad should end up being a larger-screen version of the existing 9.7-inch iPad, and it will likely be released within the next few weeks alongside minor refreshes to the iPad mini and iPod touch. It's unclear if any of the products will be unveiled at Apple's services-focused March 25 event.

The 10.5-inch non-pro iPad could be released later this year, perhaps alongside the next iPad Pro lineup.

Related Roundups: iPad mini 5, iPad
Tag: CoinX

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7th-Generation $329 iPad to Feature Unchanged Design With Touch ID and Headphone Jack

7th-Generation iPad to Feature Same Design, Touch ID and Headphone Jack
The seventh-generation iPad that Apple is planning to release alongside an updated iPad mini 5 will continue to use the same housing as the sixth-generation iPad, according to Japanese site Mac Otakara.

Prior rumors have suggested the device will feature a 10.2-inch display rather than a 9.7-inch display, but Mac Otakara says that it is hearing mixed rumors from suppliers. One supplier said that the display is "10 inches" but another said that the display size has not been changed.


Regardless of display size, the tablet is expected to continue to use a Touch ID fingerprint sensor rather than transitioning to Face ID like the iPad Pro models, and it will also still have a headphone jack.

Apple is expected to introduce both the updated seventh-generation iPad and a refreshed iPad mini at some point in the spring, perhaps right around the time of its March 25 event. Rumors have said the event will focus on software rather than hardware, but updates could be announced via press release shortly afterwards.

Mac Otakara says that it's likely both new iPads will debut at the same time, but the site did not provide any prospective launch timelines beyond mentioning that suppliers are preparing for a launch. Apple's current sixth-generation iPad sells for $329, and the new model is expected to be available at the same price point.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Don't Buy)

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Lower-Cost iPad and iPad Mini Refreshes Draw Closer as Apple Files New Models in Indian Database

Apple has registered two unreleased iPad models with the Bureau of Indian Standards, according to MySmartPrice.


The model numbers A2124 and A2133 were already registered with the Eurasian Economic Commission in late January alongside five other iPad models, but the Indian filing suggests that a release is drawing closer.


Apple is widely expected to refresh its 9.7-inch iPad and iPad mini in the coming weeks, with each tablet rumored to receive a spec bump, including a faster processor. The 9.7-inch iPad is also expected to feature a larger 10.2-inch display. It would be the first update to the iPad mini since September 2015.

It's unclear how and when the new iPad and iPad mini will be revealed. Multiple reports indicate Apple will host a special event on March 25 at Steve Jobs Theater, but the word is that the keynote will be focused on Apple's rumored subscription-based news and video services, possibly ruling out hardware.

Given that the iPad and iPad mini refreshes are shaping up to be rather minor, perhaps a press release will suffice. March has become a common month for updates to Apple's lower-end iPad models, so an announcement could be just weeks away.

Two new iPad Pro models are also expected in late 2019 or early 2020, but few details are known about them yet.

Related Roundups: iPad mini 5, iPad

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16-Inch MacBook Pro, 6K Apple Display, AirPower, AirPods 2 and More Predicted for 2019 [Video]

Last night, we saw the release of a extensive research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who laid out his timeline for product releases from Apple in the coming year. MacRumors videographer Dan Barbera recaps Kuo's predictions in this video which covers an extensive range of products including an all new 16" MacBook Pro, 6K Apple Display and much more.


Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Kuo is well regarded in the rumor community due to a very good track record at predicting Apple's products. Kuo gathers intelligence from his contacts in Apple's Asian supply chain, translating the information he gleans into research notes for clients.

Our Coverage

We've updated our Upcoming Apple Products Guide based on this new information.


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Two New iPad Pro Models, 10.2-Inch iPad, and iPad Mini 5 Said to Launch in 2019

In a thorough research note outlining Apple's plans for 2019, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo describes his outlook for its next iPad lineup. According to Kuo, Apple plans to release two new iPad Pro models, a 10.2-inch iPad, and a refreshed iPad mini equipped with an upgraded processor later this year.


More details to follow…

Related Roundups: iPad mini 5, iPad Pro, iPad

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Apple Shipped 14.5M iPads in Holiday Quarter According to Strategy Analytics

Apple shipped an estimated 14.5 million iPads in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.


Apple no longer discloses iPad, iPhone, or Mac unit sales in its earnings reports, leaving us with these estimated figures, which can vary quite significantly between research firms. With the iPhone, for example, estimated shipments have ranged from 65.9 million to 68.4 million to 71.7 million for the quarter.

Apple reported sales of 13.2 million iPads in the fourth quarter of 2017, when it was still disclosing unit sales, so the Strategy Analytics data suggests that iPad unit sales have grown nearly 10 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Strategy Analytics estimates that the iPad's average selling price was $463, an increase of just over four percent from $445 in the year-ago quarter. This sounds unsurprising, as Apple raised prices with its new iPad Pro lineup in 2018, with the cheapest model starting at $799 compared to $649 in 2017.

Apple remained the world's most popular tablet vendor, easily topping Samsung's estimated 7.5 million tablet shipments in the quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. Amazon, Huawei, and Lenovo round off the top five with an estimated 5.5 million, 4.6 million, and 2.3 million shipments respectively.


On an operating system basis, however, Android tablets from multiple brands still commanded an estimated 60 percent of the market.

Apple reported iPad revenue of $6.7 billion in the quarter, a 17 percent increase over the year-ago quarter.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPad mini 5, iPad

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New 10-Inch iPad and Cheaper iPad Mini Coming ‘As Early As This Spring’

Apple is working on an updated version of the $329 6th-generation iPad and a new, cheaper iPad mini, Bloomberg today confirmed in an extensive report on Apple's future product plans.

The new version of the iPad will feature a "roughly 10-inch screen," which would be slightly larger than the 9.7-inch model that is currently available. The device is also expected to have a faster processor and a Lightning port instead of a USB-C port.


Apple is also working on an iPad mini 5, a followup to the 2015 iPad mini 4. The iPad mini 5 will be cheaper than the existing model, but no other details were provided.

Prior rumors have suggested both the new iPad and the iPad mini 5 will feature Touch ID Home buttons rather than Face ID, which would be appropriate as both are seemingly positioned as lower-cost devices.

Code found in iOS 12.2 indicates the two new tablets could potentially offer support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard as well.

According to Bloomberg, Apple could be planning to introduce the new iPads "as early as this spring," which is in line with other recent information.

New iPad models were registered with the Eurasian Economic Commission earlier this month, something that is generally done shortly ahead of a product launch, and references to new iPad models have been found in iOS 12.2.

For the last several years, Apple has held an event in March, and the company could be planning to do the same thing this year. If that's the case, we could see the new iPad and the iPad mini 5 at some point in March.

As for the iPad Pro, Apple is said to be planning a major upgrade for 2020 with a laser-powered 3D camera for augmented reality purposes. No major changes are planned for 2019, and it is unclear if the iPad Pro will get a 2019 update at all.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPad mini 5, iPad

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New iPad Mini 5 Could Support Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard

Apple's upcoming refreshed iPad mini and next-generation iPad could feature support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, according to details shared today by developer Steve Troughton-Smith.

Troughton-Smith has been digging into the latest iOS beta for details on the new iPad models, and he says that all of this information should be taken with a grain of salt because he's not 100 percent sure on the details.


From what he's found, though, iPad models codenamed J210, J211, J217, and J218 come in two sizes, likely corresponding to rumored iPad mini 5 models and a refreshed sixth-generation iPad, which is said to be getting a larger 10-inch display, up from 9.7 inches.

Both iPad sizes appear to support a Smart Keyboard and Pencil, which makes sense as Apple proved its willingness to offer Apple Pencil support in its more affordable tablets with the launch of the sixth-generation iPad.

The new iPads appear to support Touch ID, so it sounds like the form factors will be similar to the existing models. Apple's iPad Pro models use Face ID, but with both the iPad and the new iPad mini likely to be positioned as more affordable devices, we're expecting Apple to stick with Touch ID.

Rumors have suggested both a new iPad mini 5 and an updated iPad will launch in early 2019, and we've seen signs of them in iOS 12.2 and through registration with the Eurasian Economic Commission. Apple has held a March event for the last several years, so it's possible we'll be seeing updated tablets right around then.

Related Roundups: iPad mini 5, iPad

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