New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Hands-On With the New Sixth-Generation iPad

Apple's March event, held last week, focused on a new sixth-generation iPad aimed at the educational market. The device, which went on sale following the event and became available in retail stores on Friday, is an upgraded version of the fifth-generation iPad with one important new feature - support for the Apple Pencil.

We picked up one of Apple's new $329 tablets over the weekend and tested it out to give MacRumors readers considering a purchase a closer look at the new device.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Design wise, the sixth-generation iPad doesn't look any different from the fifth-generation iPad. It's the same thickness as the original iPad Air (aka thicker than the iPad Pro and the iPad Air 2), and it has the same non-laminated display to keep costs down.

That display is equipped with a new touch sensor, though, which enables it to work with the $99 Apple Pencil. Using the Apple Pencil on the new iPad is essentially identical to using it on an iPad Pro, with the accessory offering a smooth writing experience with no jitters or lag.

Inside, the new iPad is equipped with an A10 Fusion processor, which isn't quite as powerful as the processor in the iPad Pro, Apple's flagship tablet, but it's a solid improvement over the A9 in the fifth-generation model. This is the same processor that's in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and it's going to be viable for apps and games for several years to come.

Compared to the iPad Pro, the new iPad has a lower-quality display and lower-quality cameras (8MP vs 12MP at rear, 1.2MP vs 7MP in front) along with the slower processor, but if you don't need those features, the sixth-generation iPad is a fantastic tablet for its price point and an affordable way to get a device with Apple Pencil support.

Apple sells the new iPad for $329, and it's available from the online Apple Store and Apple retail stores. The Apple Pencil is sold separately for $99.

Apple plans to discount the sixth-generation iPad to $299 for schools, which will make it an attractive option. The Apple Pencil will be available for $89, and Logitech also plans to sell a lower-cost Apple Pencil-style stylus called Crayon to schools for $49.

For more information on the new iPad, including a comparison chart that pits it against the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the fifth-generation iPad, make sure to check out our dedicated iPad roundup.

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

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

17 months ago
Can't recommend it with only 2GB DRAM when it would probably cost Apple $5 more to increase to 4GB. The $500 iPad Pro 10.5 at Micro Center makes more sense with double the DRAM (4GB vs 2GB), double the storage (64GB vs 32GB) and less likely to be obsolete anytime soon.
Rating: 26 Votes
17 months ago
I just want a new iPad mini, Apple!

C'mon, putting an A9 on the mini can't be so difficult!
Rating: 16 Votes
17 months ago
WTF is up with the Mini? For years I've had $500 set aside for a new Mini with a better display.

Why doesn't Apple want my money?

Because of the aspect ratio, a 7.9” mini has almost twice the screen area as would a 6.5” X Plus. Also, it would be $600-700 cheaper. One really isn’t a substitute for the other.

Nobody who uses a Mini believes an iPhone would be a good substitute. I'd bet good money that those who think an iPhone Plus is as good as a Mini iPad are the sort who don't use an iPad for reading books.
Rating: 12 Votes
17 months ago
A $30 discount for students. Incredibly old technology.
Rating: 10 Votes
17 months ago
Bought one Saturday. Love it
Rating: 9 Votes
17 months ago
And Apple keeps falling further and further behind Google in education. Sad really. There was a time when Apple took the education market seriously.
Rating: 9 Votes
17 months ago

Sad that the four year old iPad Air 2 is still superior.

Nothing to be sad about, the Air 2 is an inferior device. I just sold my Air 2. The new iPad 6 is definitely faster and shows WAY less fingerprints. The anti-glare display is the worst for fingerprints and didn’t really do much for glare.

I did notice the gap in the display immediately due to not being laminated, but the quality of the screen is on par with the Air 2. Definite plus for the addition of the pencil.

Well worth the upgrade. Would do it again if I had to.
Rating: 9 Votes
17 months ago
Sad that the four year old iPad Air 2 is still superior.
Rating: 8 Votes
17 months ago

Thanks, so it must be better using the pencil then.

I have never used the pencil but i can imagine it being easier.

Is there anything you cant do with the pencil that you can do with your finger, i would imagine a single swipe would be ok, but not able to do a double swipe.

No, For most general UI interactions the finger is much better than a pencil in iOS. That isn’t to say the pencil is no good for general UI, it just isn’t as intuitive or as capable as your fingers for moving around the UI. The pencil comes into its own when taking notes or drawing where more precision is required or you don’t want to use the keyboard or SIRI to input text. The pencil is very capable for its purposes, but multi touch gestures with your fingers is what iOS is designed for from the ground up.

This is pretty much the reverse experience compared with using a Surface Pro and a Microsoft pen where the pen is surprisingly often better at most UI interactions, particularly within applications, than your finger. I guess this is probably because at heart windows 10 started off with a mouse as the main interaction instrument, or at least in mind as one of the main interaction instruments, despite the rhetoric.

Bottom line is there is no need for a pencil to effectively use an iPad, it is a nice extra to have and depending on what you use an iPad for, varies in relevance. You might buy one and hardly ever use it. This is not the case with a surface pro.

Disclosure: I use an iPad Pro with a pencil and no external keyboard. I don’t use a surface pro anymore.
Rating: 6 Votes
17 months ago

Just wait for the iPhone XI Plus... It will only be 1.4" less in screen size.

1.4" less in screen size... almost half the screen area.,5-inch-d%7B19,5x9%7D-vs-7,9-inch-4x3

People need to stop ignoring the Aspect Ratio - it makes a huge difference on the actual area available for use.

Rating: 5 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]