iPad 8th generation: A Cheat Sheet

The iPad 8th generation includes a significant speed bump, new accessories, and new education pricing to make this entry-level iPad even more enticing to new and existing users.

Image: Apple

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, Apple unveiled its latest iteration of the standard iPad, dubbed the iPad 8th generation. This iPad boasts a slew of new features, and new price points for both consumers and education users aimed to get the device into even more users’ hands.

SEE: Everything Apple announced today that business pros need to know (TechRepublic)

During the announcement, Apple announced that it’s sold more than 500 Million iPads over the course of the 10-year history of the tablet. Since 2010, the iPad has been No. 1 in consumer satisfaction ratings, a milestone that can only mean that the iPad is a device that users love to use for mobile computing tasks.

What is the iPad?

The iPad is Apple’s middle-of-the-road tablet with the traditional screen size of 10.2″, which Apple switched to years ago. The device runs Apple’s iPadOS operating system, and this 8th generation model will ship with the newest iteration of iPadOS, version 14. The iPad 8th generation will be able to take advantage of all the new features in iPadOS 14.

What are the key features of the iPad?

The 8th generation version of the iPad includes some spec bumps over the previous 7th generation version, as well as some new chips that make it faster at certain tasks.

SEE: New iPad Air: The best features for business users (TechRepublic)

The iPad 8th generation retains the classic features of the iPad, including the Home / Touch ID sensor, the lightning connector, headphone jack, and the Smart Connector that was added with the 7th generation. While there is still a reliance on the Lightning connector, Apple does supply a Lightning-to-USB-C Cable as well as a USB-C power adapter in the box.

A12 Bionic Chip

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Image: Apple

This is a new chip to the iPad, which brings a few firsts to the iPad 8th generation, including: a 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU. These two new additions to the Apple silicon mean that you’ll get 40% faster CPU performance over the 7th generation iPad, and 2x faster graphics. This translates into faster gaming, better graphics performance while gaming, and better graphics handling of high-resolution content in apps that handle photo manipulation or graphic design features.

Apple touts that this new A12 Bionic chip in the iPad 8th generation has been put head to head with some common devices and found to be faster than:

  • 2x faster than the top-selling Windows laptop
  • 3x faster than the top selling Android tablets
  • 6x faster than the top selling Chromebook

Neural Engine

The iPad 8th generation also includes the Neural Engine for the first time in this model of iPad. This engine is an additional chip in the iPad that handles machine learning (ML) operations. This chip is capable of handling more than 5 trillion operations per second for better color transforms on photos, analyzing the camera motion for AR, and much much more. Games and other apps that use machine learning tasks will find a much-improved speed boost when using this chip over the CPU or GPU to handle the same tasks.

Accessories

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Image: Apple

The 7th generation iPad included Apple Pencil support, and Apple is continuing to offer the same Apple Pencil support on this 8th generation model. We were expecting to see Apple introduce the Apple Pencil 2 support for this model iPad, but currently the 8th generation iPad will only support the original Apple Pencil.

In addition to Apple Pencil support, Apple will also be releasing a full-size Smart Keyboard case that works with the iPad to give users an external keyboard for better typing. Apple is also partnering with Logitech to provide external keyboards and rugged cases for education customers.

iPadOS 14 Support

The iPad 8th generation will ship with the latest version of iPadOS 14, which will be released publicly to users beginning on Sept. 16, 2020. For more information on iOS / iPadOS 14, check out our Cheat sheet on iOS 14.

Education foray

Apple is clearly targeting this new iPad 8th generation at the education market. It has special pricing for education customers in order to get this model of the iPad into the hands of students and teachers. Apple has had a long history of putting iPads into schools, and it looks like it will be renewing that interest with this new version of the iPad.

When will the iPad be available and how much will it cost?

The 8th generation iPad is available for pre-ordering starting on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, with devices shipping and arriving in customers’ hands on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020.

There are several device options in the iPad lineup to consider with an 8th generation iPad. The first is color. The device comes in Space Gray, Silver, and Gold finishes. The second is storage options: There’s a 32GB model for $329 or 128GB for $429. Wi-Fi comes standard, but if you want to add cellular connectivity, add an additional $130 for the cellular modem.

Apple notes that the 8th generation iPad will start at $299 for education customers.

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