USB-C and the 10th Generation iPad

On Tuesday, Apple announced (via a press release rather than some fancy online event) the latest iteration of iPad, the 10th generation iPad.

It has some nice things going for it:

  • Rounded corner edge-to-edge display
  • Touch ID on the sleep/wake button
  • Fancy new magical keyboard, making use of the old-school magnetic connector on the side of the iPad and with Microsoft Surface-style kickstand
  • Front-facing webcam on the landscape edge rather than on the portrait top
  • Chip speed bump
  • USB-C charging

However, it also has some rather key downsides:

  • Quite a lot more expensive
  • Not compatible with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil with its magnetic pairing and charging, but rather support for 1st generation Apple Pencil with the use of a handy dongle

This seemingly strange choice around Apple Pencil support has broken the internet with people completely baffled as to why Apple wouldn’t go the whole hog and do the magnetic charging/pairing Apple Pencil 2 thing.

The reason for me is to do with education. Apple needs to have a cheap and affordable iPad in order to keep a toehold in schools. The 9th generation iPad is a complete steal, with a great feature set at a very sensible price. However, it’s still stuck in the old ‘home button + lightning port’ paradigm which Apple is moving away from everywhere.

But making that move to a home-buttonless iPad isn’t going to be immediately easy. I’m still impressed with how the 9th generation iPad has the same feature-set as the original iPad Pro (Apple pencil support + Smart Connector support). However, it took many iterations to add these features step-by-step in a way that kept the price low and still differentiated with the more expensive iPad models.

So the same is for the 10th generation iPad: they’ve added the new screen and shape and Touch ID location and USB-C connectivity as the more expensive iPads, but at a price that schools can afford. Or at least will be able to afford in a year or two once Apple have figured out how to make them more cheaply.

So what about the Apple Pencil fiasco? A dongle to charge us a hilariously inelegant solution in many ways. I believe that the answer lies in a little announcement from Logitech of a new USB-C Crayon. It’s the updated Apple Pencil that’s Apple can’t make themselves but is perfect for schools.

So where’s the new Apple Pencil for the new iPad? It’s been released by Logitech instead!

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