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Apple announces new iPads bringing Pro features to lower-cost tablets

Today at its virtual event, Apple announced new iPads. Starting with the base model, it introduced a new eighth-generation iPad. Pretty much the only new feature is that it includes an A12 Bionic processor, with Apple promising that it's twice as fast as the top-selling Windows laptop, three times as fast as the top-selling Android tablet, and six times as fast as the top-selling Chromebook. Of course, these aren't necessarily comparatively priced devices.

The new iPad Air is more interesting, because it's using the design from the iPad Pro, with its flat sides and lack of a home button. In fact, it's actually keeping Touch ID though, by moving the fingerprint sensor to the power button. After all, in an age where wearing masks are so common, it wouldn't be smart to release a product that requires facial recognition.

With the iPad Pro design, it comes with USB Type-C connectivity, meaning you can plug in a USB drive. It has a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with a 2360x1640 resolution, so that's the area where the iPad Pro still has an advantage. In fact, the iPad Air even supports the newer magnetic Apple Pencil, which charges wirelessly.

And then there's the new A14 processor, which is actually making its debut today. It's the first time that a new Apple Silicon processor has debuted in an iPad instead of an iPhone since the A5 in the iPad 2. It's a 5nm chipset with 11.8 million transistors, and it offers a 40% increase in performance over the last iPad Air. It's got a six-core CPU, and an upgraded neural engine.

The eighth-gen iPad starts at $329, and you can pre-order it today with availability on Friday. The new iPad Air is coming next month, but starts at $599.

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