Skip to main content

The 3 glaring issues stopping me from loving the iPad (2022)

Apple’s latest ‘entry-level’ iPad is arguably the most controversial tablet it has ever made. It just doesn’t feel like the low-cost, no-brainer, and ever-reliable iPad that we’ve grown to love over the years. The asking price of $450 is a deterrent from the get-go, and Apple realizes that, too, which is why the aging $329 model is still on the shelf.

In his iPad (10th Gen, 2022) review, Digital Trends’ Joe Maring highlighted the new and improved design, the vibrant screen, a sufficiently fast processor, and good battery life. I’ve cultivated similar feelings about the tablet after using it for over a week. But I just can’t get over the compromises that Apple is serving on the 2022 iPad’s platter.

Cheaping out on Wi-Fi — just why?

2022 Apple iPad
Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

If you go through the spec sheets of the iPad Pro, Air, mini, and the new vanilla iPad, you’ll notice a small difference in the Wi-Fi capabilities. All four tablets support Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and can latch on to the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz bands. But the core difference is the lack of simultaneous dual-band connectivity.

A router – an antenna fitted inside a receiver device like the iPad — that supports “simultaneous dual-band” connectivity allows the device to connect with the 2.4GHz and 5GHz waves at the same. This dramatically increases the bandwidth and offers more reliable connectivity that is ideal for gaming and video streaming.

Apple has quietly robbed the new iPad of this crucial connectivity feature. In a test run at his home, Digital Trends editor Joe Maring recorded a peak throughput of 138Mbps on the 2022 iPad and 303Mbps on the iPad Pro while hooked to the same Wi-Fi network. On another test, the iPad Pro was pulling in 208Mbps while the baseline iPad managed just 121Mbps.

Someone holding the iPad (2022) with the display turned on.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

How many dollars Apple saved by using a downgraded antenna on the 10th-gen iPad is beyond my comprehension, but it is a maddening omission.

Apple — with all that fancy iPadOS trickery and the upgraded Magic Keyboard — is making a case for the iPad to also serve your basic computing chores. Depriving it of a crucial connectivity feature that has a tangible impact on the entertainment and computing experiences on the tablet is extremely disappointing.

The Apple Pencil situation is hell

An Apple Pencil with its charging cap off.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The 2022 iPad is the only tablet in Apple’s current-gen tablet portfolio that doesn’t support the second-gen Apple Pencil. Apple assumes that the smaller 8.3-inch screen of the iPad mini deserves Apple Pencil 2 compatibility, but for reasons known only to Apple’s engineering shamans, the 10.9-inch panel on the 2022 iPad is unworthy of it.

Instead, you are limited to using the first-gen Apple Pencil. It’s a disgustingly frustrating trade-off, a nightmarish design situation, and a shameless way of milking $9 from the buyer’s pocket for a USB-C to Apple Pencil adapter.

The Apple Pencil adapter for the iPad (2022).
The tiny, white specimen of Apple’s $9 greed. Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The second-gen Apple Pencil charges magnetically and has an ergonomic flat profile that also doubles as a button for tricks like changing the brush. But it’s really the charging situation and how it pans that is a pain in the neck.

The first-gen Apple Pencil has a Lightning connector at the top, which means you can’t just plug it into the 2022 iPad’s USB-C port. Instead, you have to splurge extra cash on the USB-C to Apple Pencil adapter to juice up the stylus.

That charging system was already bad and looked horrific when viewed from Apple’s own industrial design lens. Adding a dongle to the mix makes the whole setup seem even wonkier and an aesthetic disaster.

The iPad (2022) with an Apple Pencil plugged into it using a USB-C cable and adapter.
I won’t be proud of this charging design fiasco. Joe Maring/Digital Trends

It’s almost as if Apple is exacting cruel vengeance on its own buyers for demanding a USB-C connector that eases the port situation and being forced to abandon it by 2024.

Even from a blunt perspective, why on Earth are customers limited to using an old-generation stylus when a new one is on the shelves, especially when you’ve already hiked the price of the tablet by over 30%?

The Magic Keyboard ain’t that magical

iPad and Magic Keyboard connectors.
Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

Hands down, the new Magic Keyboard Folio is the best one that Apple has made to date. The function row key is a fantastic quality-of-life addition, the key travel is satisfactory, and the trackpad is sufficiently wide. But there are a few caveats that are mind-bendingly frustrating.

First, this keyboard costs $249 but doesn’t offer a backlit system. For comparison, the $299 Magic Keyboard for the 11-inch iPad Pro serves that convenience and also throws in a passthrough USB-C charging to the mix. Plus, that magnetically levitating design is ridiculously cool.

The iPad (2022) in its Magic Keyboard Folio accessory.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Second, the new keyboard is not compatible with the iPad Air, which looks identical and also offers a 10.9-inch display. That incompatibility has to do with the iPad’s dimensions, which are deliberately off by a few millimeters on each side, compared to the iPad Air.

Size comparison between 2022 iPad and iPad Air

Just look at the difference in dimension between the 2022 iPad and the iPad Air, and try to convince yourself that it wasn’t a clever move to create a wall of incompatibility between the two tablets regarding the Magic Keyboard.

Then there’s the situation with keyboard shortcuts.

I am not sure if those roadblocks are baked in at a hardware level, but it’s somewhat confusing to see the same key combination doing its job on a Mac running the same app, but won’t work on iPadOS.  For example, the “Command + -” combination won’t scale down the Chrome window on iPadOS, but works just fine on macOS Ventura.

Looking over at the competition, the Surface Go Type Cover sold by Microsoft relies on a similar pin connector mechanism at the base, offers a great typing experience, has a great build quality, and is backlit. It currently sells for $100 a pop, which is only two-fifths of what Apple is asking. It also comes in a variety of colors and doesn’t get filthy as quickly as the white Magic Keyboard.

An excellent tablet burdened by corner-cutting

The iPad (2022) lying face-down on a pile of leaves.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The 2022 iPad is not a bad tablet by any stretch of the imagination, especially when you compare it to rival tablets in the $500 price bracket. Despite its aging processor, the iPad can still hold its fort against the best Android tablets. The build quality is great with a stunningly light profile, the screen is solid, and iPadOS 16 is loaded with quality features.

But you really have to ask if a fresh design packing a larger screen is worth the extra $120 over the previous-gen iPad, which Apple continues to sell. More than that, you need to properly assess if the compromises are worth paying that premium for.

If your iPad usage is limited to media consumption and using it as a secondary screen, mostly without any keyboard or Apple Pencil usage, go ahead and splurge. But if you’re looking at really pushing this machine to its limits, well, the accessory situation is bad, and slow Wi-Fi will definitely slow you down.

Of course, you will also be paying a much higher price for the bundle, and will somehow have to live with the downsides, too. If you really want an iPad-shaped computing machine, the iPad Air with M1 is a much safer and future-proof bet, for a small premium.

Editors' Recommendations

Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
YouTube gives iOS users another reason to pay for Premium
YouTube Premium on iPhone.

Subscription fatigue is real. But YouTube today just gave more reasons to pony up a few bucks every month for YouTube Premium, especially if you're on iOS. The big selling point for Premium, which costs $12 a month, is that you'll get rid of ads on your YouTube experience. That's worth it in and of itself. But you'll also get the ability to play videos in the background, download for offline viewing, and a subscription to YouTube Music Premium.

The new stuff adds on to all that.

Read more
My iPhone 14 Pro is amazing, but there’s one thing driving me crazy
A black iPhone 14 Pro lying on a table.

About a month ago, I made a big change with my iPhone. After using the behemoth iPhone 14 Pro Max since it launched in October, I stuffed it in my office drawer and switched to the much smaller and more manageable iPhone 14 Pro. Why, you might ask? I already wrote a separate article talking all about it, but it really boiled down to one big issue with the iPhone 14 Pro Max. More specifically, it was too damn big.

After being fed up with its size and weight, I replaced it with the regular iPhone 14 Pro — and it's a change I've been thrilled with. I'm now carrying an iPhone that's possible to use one-handed, slips into a pocket or bag with ease, and doesn't weigh me down throughout the day. But as much as I appreciate the more compact size, going to the smaller iPhone has come with a nagging consequence that's introduced a new annoyance into my day. And it's driving me crazy.
Where's the battery?

Read more
Surprise Apple sale brings big discounts on iPad and Apple Watch
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

There are plenty of great discounts on Apple devices over at Amazon right now. That means substantial price cuts on the latest Apple Watch range as well as plenty of iPads too. If you're keen to learn more, we're here to help. We've picked out some of our favorite Apple deals going on right now. Check them out below to see how you can save big on highly sought-after devices.
Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) -- $220, was $249

The Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) is a marvel at this price. Easily one of the best smartwatch deals, it covers everything you could need. You gain comprehensive yet easy-to-use fitness tracking thanks to Apple's Activity Rings system and steady stream of challenges and rewards. It's fast too thanks to having the latest processor. Despite that, you still get to enjoy a two-day battery life with the watch easily comfortable to wear all day long. It lacks the ECG and blood oxygen sensors of the Series 8 along with the always-on display, but that won't be an issue for everyone. The key thing is you get an excellent smartwatch at a great price.

Read more