iPad 8 vs iPad 9: the changes in Apple's cheap tablet — 2022

iPad duel in Apple's entry range. And we say input because calling it low-end does not fit one hundred percent with what these tablets represent. In this article, we compare the 8th generation iPad with the 9th generation, also known as iPad 2020 and iPad 2021, although officially Apple does not add anything to the word iPad. What has changed from one to the other? Is it worth taking the leap if you already have one? We answer these and many other questions.

Specification table

Although it is clear that there are more subjective aspects in devices like these, it is more than convenient to know first what these devices offer us on paper. In this comparison table you can see what its raw specifications are like.

iPad 9 and iPad 8

CharacteristiciPad 2021 (9th gen)iPad 2020 (8th gen)
-Space Gray
-Space Gray
-Pink gold
Dimensions-Height: 25.06 cm
- Width: 17.41cm
-Thickness: 0.75cm
-Height: 25.06 cm
- Width: 17.41cm
-Thickness: 0.75cm
Weight-WiFi version: 487 grams
-WiFi + Cellular version: 498 grams
-WiFi version: 490 grams
-WiFi + Cellular version: 495 grams
Screen10.2-inch IPS Retina display with anti-fingerprint coating and True Tone technology10.2-inch Retina with IPS technology
Resolution2,160 x 1,620 at 264 pixels per inch and 500 nits brightness2,160 x 1,620 at 264 pixels per inch and 500 nits brightness
Number of speakerstwotwo
ProcessorA13 Bionic with 2nd gen Neural Engine.A12 Bionic with 1st gen Neural Engine.
Ability-64 GB
-256 GB
-32 GB
-128 GB
Frontal camera12 MP ultra wide angle lens with f / 2.4 aperture1.2 Mpx lens with f/2.4 aperture
Rear camera8 Mpx wide angle with f / 2.4 aperture8 Mpx wide angle with f / 2.4 aperture
biometric systemsTouch ID (on Home button)Touch ID (on Home button)
other sensors-Three axis gyroscope
-Ambient light sensor
-Three axis gyroscope
-Ambient light sensor
SIM cardIn WiFi + Cellular version:
-Nano SIM
In WiFi + Cellular version:
-Nano SIM
connectivity-Bluetooth 4.2
-WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac; 2.4 and 5 GHz with speeds up to 866 Mb/s
-WiFi + Cellular versions with Gigabit class LTE of up to 27 bands.
-Bluetooth 4.2
-WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac; 2.4 and 5 GHz with speeds up to 866 Mb/s
-WiFi + Cellular versions with Gigabit class LTE of up to 27 bands.
AutonomyUp to 10 hours of WiFi browsing or video and music playbackUp to 10 hours of WiFi browsing or video and music playback
Compatibility with official accessories-Apple Pencil (1ª gen.)
-Smart Keyboard
-Apple Pencil (1ª gen.)
-Smart Keyboard

And despite the fact that in future sections we will delve more into these specifications, at first there are several aspects that at first we consider as the more important to consider:

    Size:The issue of size is always remarkable and in this case we find exactly the same dimensions and screen size, with a different weight that makes the 2021 model lighter in WiFi version, while the 2020 model is lighter in WiFi + Cellular, although for practical purposes it is almost negligible. Screen technology:In addition to the aforementioned 10.2-inch size, these screens offer the same resolution, although with some notable differences such as the anti-fingerprint cover and the True Tone that the 9th generation model incorporates and not the 8th. Processor:the brain of every electronic device and that in this case does not coincide, the 2020 model having an A12 compared to the A13 of the 2021 iPad. Storage capacity:important also if you are going to store files and apps on the iPad. In this case we see how the 2021 model exactly doubles the capabilities offered by the 2020 one. Battery:another fundamental aspect to choose one or another device and in these, at least on paper, they start on equal terms offering identical autonomy. Accessories:another outstanding section in which these teams coincide again by offering identical compatibility with official Apple accessories (and also with those of third parties).

aspects in which they are similar

Below we review the sections in which these iPads are very similar or, in some cases, are completely identical. In this way you will already be able to know in which aspects you will not notice a difference between using one or the other.

Same design, with a single and slight difference

Whichever way you look at them, these iPads look identical. They both share that classic form factor of Apple tablets with a back with the brand logo as the protagonist and the camera in the upper left. Volume buttons on the sides and lock/unlock on the top.

On the front we find some pronounced frames with the screen in the center and the classic home button at bottom center. A design that is obviously far from the formats used by Apple in the rest of the iPad ranges, but in the end it is still subjective, so although it may be seen as old, there will be those who value this design.

iPad 2020 and iPad 2021

The only difference we mentioned in the header is in the rose gold color , which is available for the 2020 model, but not for the 2021 model. Of course, the silver and space gray colors are exactly the same on both devices. Therefore, in the end the resemblance is practically total.

Biometric system: Touch ID

Face ID is still exclusive to the iPhone and iPad Pro from 2018 onwards, maintaining the classic fingerprint reader for this range of iPad. Of course, unlike the most recent 'Air' and 'mini' models that incorporate it in the unlock button, it is still housed in these on the home button .

Its effectiveness is the same in both devices, being tremendously useful for being able to register several fingerprints and use them in multiple situations. Although, yes, the usual drawbacks are also present; like when you have a dirty or wet finger, which makes detection difficult. Functionally it still serves to unlock the iPad, but also to avoid typing passwords or making payments using Apple Pay.

Touch ID on iPad

Connector and compatible accessories

The puerto Lightning it is also shared by both, being a more than well-known standard and suitable for charging the device, but it has its negative aspects. One of them is the low data transfer speed that prevents many external drives from being compatible even with adapters.

Spinning with it, there are official Apple accessories fully compatible with them, as is the case with the Smart Keyboard or the classics smart covers . The Magic Keyboard with trackpad, reserved for the 'Air' and 'Pro' range, is not compatible with any, although it is possible that some manufacturer may offer this type of accessories through Bluetooth .

It is precisely this connectivity that allows these iPads to be used with external mice and keyboards to be connected this way. In the same way that you can use a 1st generation Apple Pencil in any of them, being incompatible with the 2nd generation model of the stylus.

iPad con smart keyboard

How are these iPads different?

Given the similarities, it's time to see what the real differences are between these two devices. They are the ones that in the end will serve to see the evolution from one to the other, so we could really say that this comparison is really important.

Screen with more than interesting advances

both ride 10.2-inch IPS panels . And yes, the resolution is 2160 x 1620 at 264 pixels per inch in both cases. Even at the maximum brightness of 500 nits they match. This could perfectly be a similarity between both devices, but there are two features that the 2021 model has and that the previous one does not have that, at least in our opinion, are more prominent than they seem.

We start talking about the true tone technology . What this does is adapt the color and brightness of the screen to the surrounding light circumstance, thereby favoring a more natural view of the content and helping the eyes not get too tired. To this is added the panel antireflejos that at first glance is almost negligible, but that is very noticeable when comparing a device that does not have it with another that does.

iPad 2021

Being honest, we do not believe that perhaps these two characteristics are extremely decisive to opt for the 2021 one over the 2020 one, but the fact of having them is something that is better valued when enjoyed. Even at the tactile level, it is noted that in a certain way the most recent model is handled more smoothly thanks to the anti-glare panel, although this is ultimately a matter of personal sensations of each one.

Processor, do you notice the generational jump?

Going from the A12 Bionic to the A13 Bionic, chips respectively from these iPads, is a generational leap that should be noticeable a priori. And the truth is that at a technical level there are important advances from one chip to another, but nevertheless they have a greater relevance when it comes to perform heavier tasks , something for which neither of these two iPads are really intended. In fact, if you are looking for the highest power, it is possible to find iPads from other ranges that perform much better.

These iPads are intended for a less demanding public looking for them to be able to have a very portable device with which to play multimedia content, browse the internet, check social networks and even perform office tasks. In fact they are known as the student iPad for being excellent digital notebooks at a good price.

ipad 9 2021

Is it possible to carry out tasks like editing video with apps like Luma Fusion? Yes, but obviously with lower performance and time than would be achieved with a higher category iPad with a more powerful processor. Therefore, if you are going to perform tasks of this type sporadically, you may not have so much problem, but if you want to do it more regularly, they would fall far short of your needs.

Identical autonomy, sure?

We have seen in the comparison table that, according to the data provided by Apple itself, both devices offer identical results in autonomy. However, based on the experience that we have seen from previous generations of iPads that also coincided, something tells us that the iPad 2021 will perform a little better in this regard .

And no, not by divine magic, but by the processor that we previously mentioned. One of the great competitive advantages that Apple has with its devices is that they design hardware and software themselves, so in the end they can afford smaller batteries with boosted performance thanks to their processors. Therefore, as the A13 is more efficient than the A12 already was, it is expected to find differences in favor of the 9th generation iPad.

And about the exact duration of these, we really must say that it is all very subjective. The hours indicated by Apple for browsing are not too showy either, since on a rare occasion in normal use we can imagine a person consuming web content for 10 uninterrupted hours without performing another task. In our own experience, we can say that by doing a mix of several tasks, you could get to the end of the day without a problem.

Basic iPad

Now, if the use is very intensive and heavy tasks are added like those mentioned in the previous section, in the end the battery will decrease. In any case, we cannot say that this is a negative point in any of the cases.

Double the memory in the iPad 9

No more no less. While the 8th generation iPad released in 2020 has a choice of 32 or 128 GB capacities, the 9th generation model offers 64 or 256 GB. This change has been very appreciable after years in which users were already demanding more base capacity, since 32 GB in these times seemed scarce for most.

Logically it will depend on the use of each one and if you use cloud storage services such as iCloud, but being able to count on a greater margin in the 64 GB offered by the most recent model is great news. And it is that not only does the fact of storing documents, photos and files take up space, but the apps and games themselves can take up a lot and that is where having greater capacities is positively valued.

A very good change in the front camera

While the rear camera remains exactly the same in both cases, something that might not be important since it is not so common to take photos with an iPad, we cannot say the same about the front. This is essential to make calls with good quality and if you are used to making video calls (whether to friends, family or professionals in work environments), the iPad 2020 camera may fall short in quality.

In the 2021 model, not only has the lens been improved, but a ultra wide angle to which is added a function that until the presentation of this iPad and the 'mini 6' was exclusive to the 'Pro': the centered framing . What this does is, via software, rotate the camera to always place you in the center of the call and even being able to zoom out if suddenly more people join the call and you want them to also be visible to the caller.

Although if this point is not important to you, logically it will not be a sufficient reason to choose the iPad 2021. In any case, it is still one of the most notable differences in the end.

Here we leave you a comparative table of its complete benefits in photo and video in case you were interested.

ipad camera

specsiPad 2021 (9th gen)iPad 2020 (8th gen)
photos front camera-Photos with ultra wide angle of 12 Mpx with aperture of f / 2.4
-Zoom out x2 (optical)
-Centered framing
-Retina Flash (with screen)
-12 Mpx wide-angle photos with f / 2.4 aperture
-Retina Flash (with screen)
Videos front camera-Recording in 1080p (Full HD) at 25, 30 or 60 frames per second
-Extended dynamic range up to 30 frames per second
-Cinema quality stabilization
-Recording in 720p (HD)
-Cinema quality stabilization
Photos rear cameras- 8 Mpx wide-angle photos with f / 2.4 aperture
-Close-up zoom x5 (digital)
- 8 Mpx wide-angle photos with f / 2.4 aperture
-Close-up zoom x5 (digital)
Videos rear cameras-Recording in 1080p (Full HD) at 25 or 30 frames per second
-Close-up zoom x3 (digital)
-Slow motion in 720p (HD) at 120 frames per second
-Video time-lapse with stabilization
-Recording in 1080p (Full HD) at 30 frames per second
-Close-up zoom x3 (digital)
-Slow motion in 720p (HD) at 120 frames per second
-Video time-lapse with stabilization

Other aspects to highlight

Beyond important differences and similarities, there are other factors that we believe, despite being less relevant, may be of equal interest. Below we analyze some of them.

How long will they update their software?

These iPads will share the same software, which is none other than that of iPadOS . At the time of publishing this comparison, both mount iPadOS 15 with identical functionalities. Apple makes few distinctions between iPad ranges with its software, but in this case the indifference between the system that mounts one and the other is even more evident, since functionally they allow the same thing.

Apple is increasingly prolonging the update times of its devices and based on what we have seen lately, we could expect these iPads to continue to be updated 4 or 5 more years minimum . Although, yes, in the case of the 9th generation model it is expected to have at least one more year of life than the previous one due to the generational difference of the processor.

Box contents

In this section you will not find too many differences in either of the two. Removing obvious things like that in 2020 the iPad of that year will come to you and in 2021 yours, both are accompanied by the classic Apple user guides and manuals, as well as a full charger .

And we emphasize the full charger because, unlike the iPhone, in these cases you will find the cable de Lightning a USB-C and a power adapter with USB-C input . It should be noted that there are no headphones, covers or other elements, something that no iPad ever brings, but that we believe is not bad to remember and even more so if you never bought one.

About the price of these tablets

The comparison in this case is confusing, since officially these iPad have cost the same when they were released. Nevertheless, Apple has discontinued the 2020 model and this makes it only available through other stores in which they have units left in stock. Therefore, the price may vary, since it is expected that these stores will lower the price in favor of selling it as soon as possible and giving priority to the most recent model.

Officially the 9th generation iPad is sold for €379 in its most basic version of 64 GB with WiFi connectivity, although this price varies if we go to the 128 GB and/or WiFi + Cellular versions. Regarding the prices of the iPad 2020, for the reason that we previously mentioned, it may vary. You can take a look at Amazon, which is usually a good indicator in this regard.

iPad 2020 buy it at Consult iPad 2021 buy it at Consult

Last conclusions

Is it worth the jump if you have the 2020 one? This is a more than obvious question that you may have if this is your case and our answer is the following: no. And a resounding no. We do not want to detract from the improvements of the iPad 2021, especially in the field of the front camera or battery, but in the global calculation there are few things that change. If with the device you currently have you feel that you need more, perhaps the 'Air' or 'Pro' range could be the one for you.

But if you don't have either and you need an iPad to perform basic actions with, either of these is a great option to get into iPadOS. In this case, we do see the best option in the iPad 2021, especially due to availability, but if you find an interesting offer for the 2020 model, we recommend you not reject it, and we say this for the same reasons stated in the previous paragraph.