8th Gen iPad

A New iPad Rumor Shows a Major Upgrade, But I Have Major Doubts

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8th Gen iPad

Photo Source: 91mobiles.com

You know what they say about things that look too good to be true. That’s how I feel about the new 8th Gen iPad rumor making the rounds right now. However, the source has been right before, so this rumor is at least worth paying attention to.

Ok, so 91mobiles says that they have a good source who provided them with design schematics for the upcoming 8th Gen iPad, which is supposedly being released within the next two weeks. This device has been mentioned several times recently along with a new iPad Air. However, there haven’t been many leaked details about the base model device up to now, other than the fact that the screen may grow to 10.8″, from the 10.2″ that it hit last year.

That 10.8″ screen size detail is also a part of this rumor and it doesn’t sound unreasonable. It’s the rest that I’m not so sure about. Basically, this report says that the base model iPad will get the iPad Pro slim bezel design, USB-C, the rear Smart Connector, a magnetic charger for the Apple Pencil 2 and Face ID. If this were true, it would be a massive upgrade at the low-end of the iPad lineup. That said, with all of these added features, how could Apple maintain the low end price point?

So we’ve been getting pretty consistent reports about an iPad Air upgrade with most of these same features. However, only one report I can recall predicted Face ID added to that device. Most of the leaks and rumors have consistently stuck with TouchID. And now we hear that the base model iPad is getting Face ID, along with a bevvy of other iPad Pro features? That really doesn’t make any sense, so one of these reports is wrong, at least on that detail.

So let’s compare the two devices. This level of redesign with a few key concessions makes sense for a mid-tier device like the Air, because Apple can charge $599 and up for it. After two years of the current iPad Pro design, they can produce a device with these specs and hit that mark with a solid margin. Also, they won’t be cannibalizing that many iPad Pro sales. The people like me who want Pros are still going to buy them. This is about giving buyers who want more than the base model iPad a reason to spend the extra money.

If you look at how Apple has been handling the iPhone the last two years, this iPad upgrade doesn’t really fit the strategy the way that the rumored Air does. The iPhone 10R and 11 had the same look and many of the same features as the iPhone XS and 11 Pro, but with enough concessions to make them available at a competitive price. They have sold very well because of that balance. But the low-end iPhone SE that Apple recently released still has a Home Button and TouchID. The low price point was possible because they reused a design that goes back three device generations.

There is no way Apple could charge $329 for the iPad speced out above and make the kind of profit margin that they want from it. Not today, at least. So my theory of this leak is that it may be legitimate, but that it isn’t the device that’s coming in two weeks. That, or this is really the Air and it is either getting Face ID, or these schematics were from a prototype that had it. We all know Apple prototypes multiple versions of devices, so it’s certainly possible.

If we stick with the base model iPad, these could be schematics of a later version that would be released late next year, or early the year after. By that time, Apple should be able to gain more efficiency in producing this design. Maybe they can also get the price of Face ID low enough, as well.

I just don’t think Apple wants to abandon the $329 entry price for the iPad, but they would have to with this hardware, this year. That’s why I ultimately don’t believe we will see this device as an 8th Gen iPad in the near future. Maybe Apple will surprise me in nine or ten days, but I just don’t see it happening right now.

James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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