Still a great tablet, but showing its age

2021 iPad Review

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2021 iPad Review

While us tech nerds love to debate whether or not the iPad Pro could replace your laptop, most people tend to stick with the entry-level iPad. It makes sense. The device may not offer the flashiest design or the most powerful performance, but it’s nearly identical where it matters — the software experience and integration with Apple’s wider ecosystem.

For 2021, Apple has updated the entry-level tablet once again. The new device offers the same design, same display, and same support for only the first-generation Apple Pencil. So what’s new? Well, it has a new processor and a new front-facing camera. That’s about it.

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While a little boring, the processor bump is still a welcome change, even though it indicates that Apple will probably keep this design around for at least another year or so. But given the fact that the design is getting a bit long in the tooth, should you buy the 2021 entry-level iPad? I’ve been testing the device to find out.

2021 Apple iPad

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Apple iPad (2021) design

If you’ve seen Apple’s cheaper tablet before, you know exactly what the 2021 model looks like. The device keeps the same design as the previous generation, with its larger forehead and Touch ID button at the bottom. It doesn’t have flat edges, like all other recent iPad models, and it doesn’t support the second-generation Apple Pencil — so you’ll have to deal with plugging the Apple Pencil into the Lightning port.

Speaking of the Lightning port, that’s another holdover from the iPads of old. The entry-level iPad is now the only one to not offer a USB-C port. I assume that will change when Apple finally gives the device the design refresh. At least, I hope so.

None of this is to say that the device looks bad. It’s just…dated. It still offers Apple’s classic aluminum unibody build, and is clearly well-made. It’s still thin and light, and easy to carry around the house. And, it’s currently the only Apple tablet with a headphone jack.

In a world of edge-to-edge displays and flattened edges, it’s time Apple brings the most recent iPad in line with the rest of…