I’ve got a new iPad. You know – the 10th generation one; the one that doesn’t appear to have any meaningful place within the iPad lineup.

In fact, I’m writing this blog post on it now, via the brand-new and equally confusing Magic Keyboard Folio.

Out of the new iPads launched this month by Apple, I think the 10th generation ‘normal’ iPad (is that how we refer to it?) is the most interesting.

In this review, I’m going to try and work out what this device is all about, and, more importantly, who on earth it’s for.

Pricing and design

The 10th generation I opted for (yep, I have to buy these myself just like everyone else) is the base model 64GB edition in yellow. It cost me £499, which is not an inconsiderable amount of money for an iPad.

iPad 10th Generation Review

It’s worth reiterating that this isn’t an entry-level iPad. That remains in the 9th generation guise on Apple’s website (confused yet?) and retains its incredibly tempting starting price of £369. I dearly hope it remains.

The most you can spend on the 10th generation is an eye-watering £859 for the 256GB model with cellular. That’s nearly as much as the base model 11-inch iPad Pro.

There are four colours to choose from, and they all look rather lovely and vibrant on Apple’s website. Alas, in person, they don’t appear to have the same allure. At least, the yellow version I have doesn’t.

iPad 10th Generation Review

It’s far more metallic and mustard-like than the eye-popping, iMac-like yellow I was hoping for. In fact, it’s a bit of a disappointment, and I feel that Apple’s product photography and footage of these new iPads are rather misleading on that front, I’m afraid.

Colours aside, this new iPad does at least have a modern design. The front-facing home button has been deleted (Touch ID is now on the power button, which still feels unnaturally placed to me, but it had to go somewhere) and the bezels have been reduced.

It’s just hard to get that price out of your head, isn’t it? While I’m writing this, I also cannot get past the challenge of working out the positioning of this iPad and for whom it is intended.

It needs to get a lot better from here, doesn’t it?

Performance and display

The 10th generation iPad is powered by the A14 Bionic. That’s a super-fast chip, like all Apple silicon, but let’s remember that this is an iPad. As a result, it is iPad Fast™️ and, consequently, a joy to use.

iPad 10th Generation Review

There’s no need for benchmarks, no need for me to search every nook and cranny for instances of jitteriness or performance gaps. This is because it’s an iPad, and it is therefore great.

Moving onto the display, we’re given a 10.9” Liquid Retina panel with 500 nits of brightness and True Tone. It obviously doesn’t have ProMotion (you’ll never get that at this price point from Apple) which means you’ll need to ‘put up’ with 60Hz scrolling if you opt for this device.

That makes it pretty much identical in terms of specs to the current iPad Air. That’s no bad thing; just like the performance, iPad displays are typically great – you won’t be disappointed. The only thing to bear in mind is that the 10th generation iPad’s display isn’t fully laminated, which means there’s a noticeable gap between the glass and display technology. But it’s only noticeable if you go looking for it, and if you find yourself doing that, it might be best to find something else to do with your time.

Satisfied with the asking price for this new iPad yet? No?

Let’s move on to the accessories.

Magic Keyboard Folio and Apple Pencil support

This is where things get really weird. And unforgivable.

Let’s start with the Magic Keyboard Folio. The more I use this accessory, the more I love it and the more I wish it was available for other iPads (on that note, it’s worth noting that it is only compatible with the 10th generation iPad).

iPad 10th Generation Review

The Magic Keyboard Folio is expensive at £279, but you get a lot for your money. Just like the regular Magic Keyboard, it’s well made and has the exact same extremely satisfying keyboard. The trackpad is brilliant, too, yet weirdly larger than the one on the Magic Keyboard.

It also has a Microsoft Surface-like kickstand, which can be angled perfectly and, contrary to what others have said, works just as well on your lap as it does on a desk.

iPad 10th Generation Review

The Magic Keyboard Folio has some neat tricks up its sleeve which make it a far more compelling proposition than the Magic Keyboard, in my book. Firstly, the keyboard part can be detached, leaving you with a regular iPad folio cover that retains the kickstand. Having always yearned for the ability to either rid the Magic Keyboard of its keyboard occasionally or flip it around (you can do that on the Folio, too), this is a very welcome feature.

Secondly, there’s a function key row! Why Apple didn’t include this on the Magic Keyboard – and why that accessory hasn’t been updated to include one – is completely beyond me. Just the presence of an escape key is reassuring, but gaining quick access to media controls, screen brightness and a Spotlight shortcut are wonderful things.

iPad 10th Generation Review

Let’s talk about Apple Pencil support.

I refuse to buy another first-generation Apple Pencil (I threw my old one away) because it’s terrible. So, an Apple Pencil will never touch my 10th generation iPad. Ever.

And that’s the problem, I’m afraid, Tim. The decision not to make this iPad compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil is insulting.

The reason I’m so perturbed by this is simple. The first-generation Apple Pencil is deeply flawed in several areas – it’s too long, it rolls off every surface, and you have to charge it by sticking it into the Lightning port of an iPad. This not only looks stupid, but it also presents an even more stupid challenge for the new iPad, which doesn’t have a Lightning port.

This means we have to buy a £9 dongle which enables the first-generation Apple Pencil to be connected to the 10th generation iPad for charging. Which looks even more stupid than before.

It’s mean. It’s daft. It’s needlessly complicated. It’s user-hostile. It has resulted in one of the silliest Apple accessories I’ve ever seen (and there have been a few).

It also makes this iPad needlessly tricky to recommend to anyone.

Wrapping up: who is this iPad for?

The new iPad gets some stuff brilliantly right. For instance, the FaceTime camera is now where it should be – at the top of the iPad when the device is in landscape orientation. Nice work – and about time.

The Magic Keyboard Folio is a huge win, too. It’s pricey, yes, but turns the 10th generation iPad into a genuine laptop replacement for many people.

iPad 10th Generation Review

But it’s the stuff this iPad gets wrong that is so troublesome. The price, those metallic colours, and the Apple Pencil support are all problems for me. The pricing and Apple Pencil stuff in particular are examples of Apple at its obnoxious worst and are quite rightly drawing a lot of negative press.

Make it cheaper. Give us second-generation Apple Pencil support. That’s not asking for much, is it?

So who is this thing for? I genuinely have no idea! At best, it’s someone who has zero interest in the Apple Pencil and who doesn’t mind spending around £780 on a laptop replacement (if you factor in the cost of the Magic Keyboard Folio). For that person, it’s a great device.

I’m just not sure how big that market is, or how thirsty it is for this iPad.

What do you think? Who is the 10th generation iPad for? Would you buy one? Have you bought one? And, if so – why?

Get involved in the comments and please help me out with this one!