Apple Announces the 8th-Generation iPad: Faster, More Powerful, Still Affordable

We were expecting up to four new iPads to be announced today, but in a fall announcement noticeably lacking in new hardware, Apple only came through with two new tablets. Apple's offerings include the eighth-generation iPad and fourth-generation iPad Air; we'll go over the features and pricing of the eighth-gen iPad in this article. In particular, we'll discuss the new A12 Bionic Chip, which brings the Neural Engine to the standard iPad for the first time. Let's get started.

Related: Everything Apple Announced During Its September 2020 Event

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How Much Does the 8th-Generation iPad Cost & When Can I Buy It?

Availability:

  • Pre-order September 15
  • Available in stores September 18.

Price:

  • Starting price of $329 for the Wi-Fi model and $459 for the Wi-Fi and cellular model
  • Educational pricing begins at $299
  • Includes a free year of Apple TV+

What’s the Difference between the 7th-Generation iPad & 8th-Generation iPad?

seventh and eighth generation ipad

If you were given two iPads to inspect, one seventh-generation and one eighth-generation, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them (provided you didn't read the model numbers on the back). That's because this year's base model iPad is identical to last year's in every regard, except for one major difference.

First, let's go over what these two iPad generations have in common. The seventh- and eighth-generation iPads both feature 10.2-inch Retinal Displays, and are compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. Both can be purchased in 32 or 128 GB configurations, offer all-day battery life, and include an 8MP Wide back camera, front FaceTime HD camera, and Lightning connector. They're even offered in the same colors; your choice of Silver, Space Gray, or Gold. 

A12 Bionic Chip with Neural Engine

a12 chip

The difference between these two iPad generations is in processing speed and power. The seventh-generation iPad featured the A10 Fusion Chip, whereas the eighth-gen includes the A12 Bionic Chip with Neural Engine. The A12 Chip is constructed with a four-core GPU and six-core CPU, and can process up to five trillion operations per second. This enables a 40 percent faster CPU and graphics up to two times faster than those offered by the A10. Besides being faster than the seventh-gen iPad, according to Apple, the eighth-gen is also up to two times faster than the top selling Windows laptop, three times faster than the best selling Android tablet, and six times faster than the top selling Chromebook. 

Who Should Buy the 8th-Generation iPad? 

ipad 8th gen features

This model is great for those who aren't in the market for Apple's higher-end, more expensive iPads like the iPad Pro or iPad Air. Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned today that 53 percent of people who purchase iPads are first time iPad buyers, and the eighth-generation iPad would make a perfect first iPad for this market. Those who are new to Apple and buying an iPad to replace an Android tablet, Chromebook, or Windows laptop will be thrilled by the high-quality graphics and processing speed offered by the eighth-gen iPad. Although the latest iPad costs more than competing products, the price point isn't so high that it's insurmountable to those ready to make the switch, particularly for those making the purchase at the education discount price. 

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is an SEO Content Strategist and Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.