New 9.7-Inch iPad Hands-On: 'Very Familiar' Update Benefits From Apple Pencil Support and A10 Fusion Chip

Following the announcement and launch of Apple's new 9.7-inch iPad, a few websites have gotten hands-on time with the tablet and shared their thoughts online this afternoon. The initial consensus appears to be that while the iPad isn't very surprising in terms of form factor and features, it's a solid entry-level model that benefits from added Apple Pencil support.

Engadget said the new iPad is "as fluid and fast as the iPad Pro," which it described as an "impressive feat." The site said the iPad has a great screen, although it isn't as sharp as the iPad Pro's display. Engadget also pointed out the air gap between the display and cover glass on the new tablet, and its lack of the higher-end iPad Pro's True Tone color correction feature and 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate.

engadget new ipad

Image via Engadget

Following today's education-focused presentation in Chicago, we got a chance to pick up the new tablet for ourselves and, well, it's just about the same as last year's model. That's not a bad thing -- it still feels as solid and well-built as ever. The biggest change is Apple Pencil support, and after a brief test it feels almost as fluid and fast as the iPad Pro, which is an impressive feat.

The Verge began its hands-on coverage by stating the new iPad is "very familiar," with all of the expected screen size, bezels, Touch ID sensor, button placement, and cameras users have come to expect from Apple's tablet line. The Verge said the display was "vibrant and responsive," and the site got to mess around with an AR demo, which was "as good as any AR demo" it has seen.

the verge new ipad

Image via The Verge

The Verge also pointed out that Apple's demo area was not really "focused on the hardware," but instead software demos that showed real-world use in the classroom, with Tim Cook walking around and discussing the new announcement with reporters.

We just spent some time with Apple’s new $329 iPad, announced here in Chicago at its education event. It’s... an iPad. Holding and using an iPad, it feels very much like an iPad! The air gap on the screen is the same as before — large by iPad Pro standards, but only iPad Pro people will really turn their nose up at it. Same goes for the screen overall, which doesn’t have all the True Tone magic of the Pro, but is nevertheless vibrant and responsive.

I checked out a quick demo of an AR classroom app and was as good as any AR demo I’ve seen. Not knock-your-socks-off good, but it didn’t lag and the baby elephant stayed put right on the table where it was placed. Obviously we’ll need to spend more time to say for sure, but the A10 Fusion processor certainly seems up to most tasks.

Besides the new iPad, Apple today announced that its Classroom app will be coming to Mac this June, revealed a new "Schoolwork" app, showed off iWork updates for iOS, and more. New accessories and devices have also emerged on Apple.com following the Field Trip keynote, including standalone Space Gray color options for the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Caution)
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

kingofwale Avatar
78 months ago
" Holding and using an iPad, it feels very much like an iPad!"

an iPad feels and uses like an iPad??? some quality journalism right there Verge
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macmanmass Avatar
78 months ago
Same old, same old. Only Apple would hold an event for lowering the price of an iPad. Other businesses do that all the time. Its called a discount. Ugh I miss Steve.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
roncron Avatar
78 months ago
Seems like this new budget iPad with Apple Pencil support and A10 processor will cannibalize sales of iPad Pros. Sure, the Pro has a better display and a few other advantages, but the features and usability gap between the budget iPad and the Pro have just shrunk substantially, while the price gap has not.

Hopefully (for Apple's sake) a new iPad Pro will be introduced in June that will have enough new features to justify the price differential between it and this new Apple Pencil supporting budget iPad.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Altis Avatar
78 months ago
The lack of laminated screen will make the pencil feel considerably more disconnected than the Pro.

Also, lack of keyboard connector, external display support, mouse support, proper multi-tasking, etc make it less than ideal for students.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
racerhomie Avatar
78 months ago
The lack of laminated screen will make the pencil feel considerably more disconnected than the Pro.

Also, lack of keyboard connector, external display support, mouse support, proper multi-tasking, etc make it less than ideal for students.
lol . Price is all that matters for education.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
puma1552 Avatar
78 months ago
Same old, same old. Only Apple would hold an event for lowering the price of an iPad. Other businesses do that all the time. Its called a discount. Ugh I miss Steve.
the ipad is such a boring product.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

10 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in Next Week's iOS 17.4 Update

Friday March 1, 2024 1:30 am PST by
Apple will this month release iOS 17.4, its biggest iPhone software update of the year so far, featuring a number of features and changes that users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 10 new things that your iPhone will be able to do after you've installed the update, which is projected to arrive by March 7. When the day arrives, be sure to check Settings ➝...
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Feature

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which Is Better?

Friday March 1, 2024 7:10 am PST by
Apple Maps has been providing navigational guidance to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years now, and much has changed about the app in that time. However, according to data from Canalys, the overwhelming majority of iPhones in the U.S. still have Google Maps downloaded as an alternative to Apple Maps, which comes preinstalled on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. Which do...
apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Gains Over 50 Movies for a Limited Time

Friday March 1, 2024 6:29 am PST by
Apple TV+ today gained over 50 movies, adding to its back catalog of content for a limited time. The collection includes a large number of popular and classic titles. Subscribers can access the movies in a "Great Movies on Apple TV+" section in the Apple TV app. Some titles are also available in 3D. Movies in the collection include: 21 Jump Street 300 American Sniper Argo ...
Google maps feaure

Google Maps Finally Rolls Out Glanceable Directions

Wednesday February 28, 2024 2:07 am PST by
After more than a year since announcing the feature, Google Maps is finally rolling out glanceable directions on Android and iOS (via Android Police). The feature allows users to view turn-by-turn directions and a live ETA directly from their device's lock screen – information that was previously only visible when a phone was unlocked. Glanceable directions also work on the app's route...
iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

iOS 18 Rumored to Be Compatible With These iPhone Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:31 am PST by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and thereby also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. The post was spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris, and it has since been deleted. However, this was likely because the...
M3 MacBook Air Feature

New MacBook Air Models Launching This March: 5 Features to Expect

Wednesday February 28, 2024 1:50 am PST by
The existing 15-inch MacBook Air arrived in June 2023, which is not that long ago in terms of Mac update cycles. However, Apple released the current 13-inch ‌MacBook Air back in June 2022. It is now the oldest Mac in Apple's current crop, having not been updated in 600 days. But rumors suggest that is unlikely to be the case for much longer. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple has...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New Beta Firmware for AirPods Pro 2

Thursday February 29, 2024 11:41 am PST by
Apple today introduced a new beta firmware update for the AirPods Pro 2, both the USB-C and Lightning versions. The new firmware is version 6E188, up from the prior 6B34 firmware released in December. Apple does not often provide details or notes on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware, so it is unclear what's new. Note that this software is limited to developers at the...