iPad Air 4 and iPad 10 are the Same

As Apple released its Fall 2022 product lineup and is struggling to drive customer upgrades, a Reddit user pointed out that the venerable 2020 iPad Air and the new 2022 iPad 10 are, essentially, the same product. But there's a catch. 

Redditor u/_Suspended_Account_ posted a full side-by-side comparison of the two devices and, despite being separated by two years of product design improvements and technological innovation, found that this year's new but complicated iPad 10 is actually worse than the 2020 iPad Air in one key aspect: it only supports the first-generation Apple Pencil (which requires charging via the iPad's lightning port), but ironically, the iPad 10 eschews the lightning port and trades it for a USB-C port instead. In addition to switching to USB-C, the iPad 10 has ditched the home button and the headphone jack, while gaining a slightly better camera (12 MP to the iPad Air 4's 7 MP lens). 

It's surprising that the iPad 10 only supports the lightning-required first-generation Apple Pencil, given that it would require a separate $9 adapter to charge the stylus in the new tablet. Reddit commenters were left to speculate the reasons why such a new machine would only support such an old and outdated pencil (replaced by the second-gen Apple Pencil over four years ago!), with remarks ranging from incentivizing the sale of "a huge stock of Gen 1 pencils" to reflections on the industrial architecture design featuring both speaker and camera placement.

Apple USB-C to Apple Pencil Adapter on the Apple Store
Source: Apple Store. Last accessed October 20, 2022

The new iPad 10 retails for $449, and significant available new and refurbished stock of the two-year-old iPad Air 4 can be found on a variety of storefronts, including Amazon, for prices between $350 to $430, at the time of writing, making both of these devices functionally at the same fundamental price point. The older iPad Air 4 also supports the newer generation Apple Pencils, without the need to purchase adapters, and retains the headphone jack. The two devices share the same processor, memory configurations, and cellular capabilities (with the new iPad 10 adding 5G support, which the iPad Air 4 lacks), which places them in roughly equal power and capabilities (with a couple of aforementioned tradeoffs). 

Technocery says: If you are able to find an iPad Air 4 for less than $400 and are in the market for a new tablet, considering picking it up over the new iPad 10. For those looking for current-gen devices, MacRumors has a great comparison of the iPad 10 vs. iPad Air 5.