What’s New in iOS 10 and the New iPads

By Jesse Feiler

iOS 10 and the new iPads have some really great features. You have some fantastic options for just the right iPad so that it fits your personal and work needs. Check out the new features.

  • Size: The iPad is available in various sizes, depending on the version of iPad. Here are the three basic sizes, by iPad type:
    • iPad: The first iPad (the 2010 model) featured a touchscreen that measures 9.7 inches diagonally as do the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, and iPad Air 2. The iPad itself is slightly larger to accommodate the edges (bezels, to be specific). (The formal names of iPad 3 and iPad 4 are iPad 3rd Generation and iPad 4th Generation.) As of this writing iPad 4, iPad Air, and iPad Air 2 are on sale.
    • iPad mini: Along with the iPad 4 in October 2012, a smaller version, the iPad mini, made its debut with a screen measuring 7.9 inches diagonally. Versions iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 4 are currently on sale. They differ in memory size and processor type.
    • iPad Pro: In November 2015, the larger iPad Pro appeared, with a screen measuring 12.9 inches diagonally. A 9.7-inch version of the iPad Pro appeared in March 2016.

Dimensions of devices are typically shown in the units of measurement commonly used in a region. This means, for example, that the basic iPad is shown on Apple’s U.S. site as being 9.4 inches (240mm) high and 6.6 inches (169.5mm) wide. In metric-system countries, both dimensions are given, but the order is reversed. When it comes to screen sizes, however, the dimensions are given in inches.

  • Screen resolution: In addition to screen size, screen resolution has evolved so that Apple’s Retina display, which supports very-high-resolution graphics, now appears across the line. (The name derives from the concept that individual pixels on the screen are so small that at normal viewing distance, they can’t be distinguished.)

The Retina display has many more pixels to use in display images. Thus, the iPad versions starting with iPad 3 display 2048×1536 pixels in 9.7 inches, but earlier versions displayed only 1024×768 pixels in the same space. That translates to 264 (pixels per inch — ppi) in Retina display versions and 132 ppi in earlier version. The more pixels in the same space the sharper the image. It may also be easier to read. The iPad mini adopted Retina displays with iPad mini 2.

  • Apple Pencil: With the release of iPad Pro, Apple introduced Apple Pencil, which lets you draw and write on the iPad screen with a familiar pencil-style tool rather than with your finger. The Apple Pencil contains a batter and sophisticated processing powers that make the experience of using it very much like (and sometimes better than) traditional pencils.

Third-party pencils and drawing tools exist, but Apple’s integration of Apple Pencil is remarkably smooth; the product has taken off quickly among graphic artists, illustrators, and designers. As other people have discovered its usability for marking up documents, it is becoming more and more common in business environments.

It’s easy to pair an Apple Pencil with an iPad Pro — you just connect it and it draws power for its battery very quickly. That pencil becomes paired with that iPad Pro until you connect it to another one.

From a practical point of view, Apple now has two main iPad lines: models that support Apple Pencil (at the time of this writing, iPad Pro 9.7 and 12.9-inch models) and models that don’t (iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4). When you combine Apple Pencil with an iPad, you get a remarkably powerful combination for many purposes.