Apple just dropped a handful of products direct to its website without an event. The glossy marketing pages for the new M2 iPad Pro, 10th-generation iPad, and Apple TV 4K highlight all the hot new features, but there are lots of little details that could be important to you if you look more closely. Here are a few of the little things you might have missed in the flurry of announcements Tuesday.
The 10th-gen iPad has a landscape-oriented camera
The 10th-generation iPad is the first to put the front-facing camera along the long edge, so it sits on top when your iPad is in landscape orientation. Given the preponderance of keyboard docks for iPads, it seems silly that the front-facing camera is set along the short side, at the top when it’s in portrait orientation. You’ll find yourself constantly looking over to the side during Zoom meetings or FaceTime calls.
While the new iPad Pro still has a portrait-oriented camera, we think that’s just because the body hasn’t been changed at all–the landscape-oriented camera is probably going to come to all iPad models as soon as each one gets a substantial design update.
There’s no more Space Gray iPad
The regular iPad has come in silver and space grey for years. The new 10th-generation model has four vibrant colors in addition to silver, but the Space Gray color is gone. Fortunately, you can still get the 9th-gen iPad, iPad Pro, and iPad Air in Space Gray.
Apple Pencil requires (and comes with) a $9 adapter
While the 10th-gen iPad has a similar design to the iPad Air, with flat sides, no Home button, and Touch ID on the side button, it does not support the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil. Rather, you still have to use the first-gen Pencil, which charges by plugging in a Lightning connector underneath a cap at the end awkwardly into your iPad’s charge port.
But wait, doesn’t the new iPad have a USB-C charge port? Yes, it does! So now the first-gen Apple Pencil comes with a USB-C to Lightning adapter, which you can plug into a Lightning cable, and plug your Pencil into that to charge.
In fact, first-gen Apple Pencils come with two adapters now, because there’s a Lightning-to-Lightning adapter that allows charge it with a Lightning cable, too. If you have a first-gen Apple Pencil already, you can buy the USB-C to Lightning adapter separately for $9/£9.
Bluetooth 5.0, 5.2, 5.3…
Apple products have had Bluetooth 5.0 for some time, but they are starting to transition to Bluetooth 5.2 and up, as evidenced in the new iPhone 14, AirPods Pro, and Apple Watch Series 8, which all support Bluetooth 5.3. It’s a bit of a menagerie with the new products: The new Apple TV 4K still has Bluetooth 5.0, the 10th-gen iPad has Bluetooth 5.2, and the M2 iPad Pro has Bluetooth 5.3.
Why does this matter? It doesn’t at the moment because Apple isn’t doing anything obvious that requires the newer standards. But LE Audio is the next big thing in Bluetooth audio, and it requires at least Bluetooth 5.2.
The M2 iPad Pro is Apple’s first Wi-Fi 6E device
Speaking of newer wireless standards, the new M2 iPad Pros are the first Apple devices to support the Wi-Fi 6E standard. There aren’t a lot of Wi-Fi 6E routers in use just yet, but it’s nice to have some future-proofing when you’re spending so much on a tablet.
The 10th-gen iPad doesn’t support mmWave 5G
If you opt for the cellular model of the new 10th-generation iPad, you’ll be glad to know it supports 5G. But note that it only supports the sub-6GHz bands, not mmWave. If you want that super-fast (and short range) mmWave 5G networking, you’ll have to get an iPad Pro.
The cheaper Apple TV 4K doesn’t have Ethernet or Thread
We’re in the strange position of actually recommending the more expensive version of the Apple TV for once. Both models get double the storage of the previous generation, which most people won’t even need. But the 64GB model ($129) does not have Ethernet nor Thread wireless networking. Getting double the storage, Ethernet, and Thread only costs $20 more ($149), so you might as well go for it.
The new Apple TV 4K is smaller and fanless
Though it looks about the same in photos, the new Apple TV 4K is smaller than the previous model. It’s down to 3.66 inches square (from 3.9) and 1.2 inches tall (from 1.4 inches). That brings the volume down to about 16 cubic inches, from 21 cubic inches, or about 23 percent smaller. It weighs half as much too: 7.5 ounces instead of 15 ounces. And it’s now entirely fanless, though at no point would the old Apple TV 4K’s fan spin up enough to be audible, even in a silent room.
The Siri remote is now USB-C
The 10th-gen iPad isn’t the only product to make the leap to USB-C—the Siri Remote for the Apple TV 4K how has a USB-C charging port, too. Oh, and there’s no longer any charging cable in the box, so you’ll have to use one of the two dozen USB-C cables you have lying around the house to charge the remote every few months.
Apple’s transition away from Lighting and toward USB-C will likely continue throughout the next year or so. Here’s a list of all the products Apple will eventually need to change over or discontinue in order to comply with an upcoming EU regulation.