New iPad (2018) Vs iPad (2017): What’s the Difference?

By Novak Bozovic / April 5, 2018

As you probably know, Apple has recently introduced a new iPad generation. You must have noticed that the new device looks close to identical to the previous generation but it holds a much lower price. That’s because the Cupertino-based company has decided to play it safe and to retain the old design which, frankly, looks amazing. However, a number of subtle changes are the reason why the new iPad has become more affordable than before, as noted in our review of the new iPad (2018). If you’re confused by this situation, don’t worry – TechNadu is here to help. Let’s take a look at the differences between the new iPad and last year’s generation.

iPad (2018) Vs iPad (2017): Differences & Similarities

We’ll start with from the basics – by telling you where the new iPad (2018) fits into the current lineup of Apple’s tablet devices. By understanding its place, you will understand where this model fits in (when it comes to targeted groups of users).

Where the New iPad (2018) Fits In?

A couple of years back, we had a single iPad with each new generation coming year after year. However, that’s no longer the case. Today, we have several iPad Mini devices, as well as a couple of high-end tablets called iPad Pro. So, here’s the place for the new device:

As you can see now, the new iPad is a successor to the last year’s iPad. Therefore, we will continue talking about the differences between these two.

External Appearance

New iPad 2018 Design
iPad (2018) iPad (2017)
Dimensions 9.45 x 6.67 x 0.29 in 9.45 x 6.67 x 0.30 in
Weight 1.05 lb 1.03 lb
Build Front glass, aluminum body Front glass, aluminum body
SIM Nano-SIM / Electronic SIM card Nano-SIM / Electronic SIM card

The physical appearance of the new iPad (2018) and its similarity to the previous generation is what creates the most confusion. If you look at them, you see a few subtle differences. The new device has a prominent set of speakers at the bottom, and the area around the back-facing camera is a tad different. By taking a look at the table, we can see that these two models are close to identical. The new iPad is unnoticeably thinner and lighter. Aside from that, Apple didn’t introduce any other changes.

Display Features & Quality

New iPad 2018 Screen
iPad (2018) iPad (2017)
Display Type LED-backlit IPS LCD, 16M colors LED-backlit IPS LCD, 16M colors
Size 9.7 inches 9.7 inches
Resolution 1536 x 1048 pixels (264 ppi) 1536 x 1048 pixels (264 ppi)
Protection Oleophobic coating Oleophobic coating
Other Apple Pencil support No Apple Pencil support

The latest model is trying to offer the best possible features for the price. Starting at $329, this didn’t leave Apple too much space for improvements.  As you can see, Apple didn’t add any improvements to the last year’s model. However, this doesn’t mean that we’re talking about a bad display. It still manages to reproduce colors in a brilliant way, and it displays text in a clear and crisp manner. Additionally, it should be also mentioned that the screen isn’t laminated so you’ll see a small fraction of space between the screen and its coating. However, this isn’t something that many users will notice.

Internal Specs & Performance

New A10 Fusion Processor
iPad (2018) iPad (2017)
iOS Version iOS 11.3 iOS 10.3, upgradable to iOS 11.3
Chipset Apple A10 Fusion Apple A9
CPU Quad-core 2.34Ghz Dual-core 1.84GHz
GPU PowerVR Series 7XT Plus PowerVR GT7600

Finally, we come to the most noticeable difference between the new and last year’s iPad. Apple has managed to keep the old price while making sure the new iPad (2018) is powered by the A10 chipset. You should know that we are not talking about a small upgrade here. The A10 comes with 40% CPU and 50% GPU gains over the A9 – making this a huge generation jump. The best thing is that you’ll feel this difference as you open applications and especially during some ‘heavier’ tasks like video and photo editing.

If we look down the line, we will see these two devices going separate ways. Due to its older processor, the 2017 iPad will most probably support iOS 13 or even iOS 14 with some restrictions - and that's about it. However, this won’t be the case with the 2018 iPad which should receive updates at least 4 years from now. Finally, there is also a hidden gem in having a device with the A10 processor. Thanks to this technology, the new iPad received upgraded 4G support with faster download and upload speeds.

Camera Performance

New iPad 2018 Camera
iPad (2018) iPad (2017)
Primary 8MP (f/2.4, 31nm), autofocus 8MP (f/2.4, 31nm), autofocus
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, HDR (photo/panorama) Geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, HDR (photo/panorama)
Video 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 30fps 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 30fps
Secondary 1.2MP (f/2.2, 31nm) 1.2MP (f/2.2, 31nm)

For several years now, Apple has been keeping the same sensors in all iPad cameras – at least when it comes to iPads in the same price range. Therefore, it’s not as surprising to see that the new iPad is still using the technology available several years back. Still, this shouldn’t be a big problem since the majority of us don’t exactly use our iPads to take amazing shots.

We should also note that even though the camera performance is the same as before, there are some improvements. Thanks to the A10 chip, you can now record video in slow-motion. Other modes have been slightly improved as well, like the creation of panoramic scenes. However, these changes are very subtle.

Battery Life

New iPad 2018 Battery
iPad (2018) iPad (2017)
Battery Type Non-removable Li-Ion (32.4 Wh) Non-removable Li-Ion (32.9 Wh)
On-Screen Time Up to 10h (multimedia) Up to 10h (multimedia)

Last year’s iPad continued the tradition of bringing a 10-hour battery life – which is Apple’s claim. It addresses watching multimedia on your tablet and browsing the Web. In real life, this depends on what kinds of tasks you do. For example, video editing or playing ‘heavier’ games will most certainly drain the battery faster. The same applies to the new iPad (2018). Numerous tests by independent reviewers showed that you won’t be surprised by the new iPad when it comes to its battery. If you think about it for a second, this is a good thing. The new device is much more powerful than before in terms of processing power, yet it doesn’t drain the battery faster than before.

Capacity & Price

New iPad 2018 Pricing
iPad (2018) iPad (2017)
Capacity 32GB or 128GB 32GB of 128GB
Price 32GB – From $329; 128GB – From $429 32GB – From $293

If you take a look online, you will see that many are saying that the new iPad (2018) is the most affordable device of this type – and that’s true. The main goal of Apple for this year’s iPad was to keep the price of $329 for the base Wi-Fi model while upgrading its specs and bringing in a few extras as well. Let’s take a closer look at how the new iPad is priced based on different capacities (internal storage) and connectivity types.

The most affordable model of the new iPad (2018) brings 32GB of storage and Wi-Fi connectivity, and it’s priced at $329. If you want to include cellular connectivity, this will cost you $459 in total. Now, if you want 128GB of storage and Wi-Fi only, this device is priced at $429. If you include cellular connectivity in addition to Wi-Fi, that would be $559. It’s not hard to imagine that the top-tier device won’t be a popular pick. Apple is aware of that, which is why it’s marketing the price of $329 pretty heavily.

New iPad (2018): Additional & Unique Features

If we want to compare the new iPad 2018 vs iPad 2017, we should forget about some of the most exciting features that the new device brings. That is Apple Pencil support and a broad support for education apps. Let’s take a closer look.

Apple Pencil Support

Even since the Pro line of iPad was introduced, Apple has been marketing their Apple Pencil as the perfect tool for interacting with the new devices. Reserved for the top-tier iPads, this stylus brings a wide set of options that digital illustrators appreciate the most. However, you shouldn't think of this tool as something that only experienced artists should use. You can use Apple Pencil with the Notes app to quickly write notes and create simple drawings. In addition, this is a helpful tool for annotating images and documents and even drawing technical documentation in iOS CAD applications.

New iPad 2018 Apple Pencil Support

The truth is that thousands of apps support Apple Pencil, and the use of this tool has never been broader. On top of all this – it works with the new iPad (2018). On the downside, you need to pay $99 since Apple Pencil isn’t included in the box.

Education Apps

Apple is doing its best to show us that the new iPad (2018) is an amazing tool for education. On one hand, that’s because the new iPad is more affordable than before (students can get it even cheaper) and brings Apple Pencil support. On the other hand, it comes with thousands of first-class apps that help your children learn more about their surroundings – in a unique way.

New iPad Augmented Reality

Along with the new iPad, you will receive updated versions of Apple’s Keynote, Pages, and Numbers apps that now support Apple Pencil for annotation, sketching, and doodling notes. There are also new and improved apps like Tunes U and Schoolwork that can be used to distribute course materials and set assignments to students. And last but not the least, the new iPad continues iOS’ endeavor of supporting AR (Augmented Reality) apps. These are using your new iPad’s camera to place virtual objects into your surroundings. To see what we mean, take a look at apps like Complete Anatomy, JigSpace, and Sky Guide AR.  All of these are amazing examples of how AR can be used.

Where to Buy the New iPad?

In case you have an older iPad that shows signs of age, or if you want to join the iOS bandwagon, now is the best time to do that. You can order the new iPad via Apple or BestBuy, where you get to pick from all available capacities, connectivity types, and carriers. Finally, you should know that your new device has enough power to serve you perfectly well several years down the line.

Final Thoughts

Dear readers, this is where we conclude our comparison of the new iPad (2018) vs iPad (2017). We hope that we managed to provide all the answers you were looking for. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, don’t hesitate to post a comment below.

We would appreciate if you could share this article online and help us reach those confused about buying the new iPad. Thanks!

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