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Apple Announces 10.2-Inch, A10-Powered 7th Gen iPad: Launching Sept. 30th for $329
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[Image: iPad_7_Car_678x452.jpg]

As part of today’s fall keynote presentation for mobile devices, Apple took the wraps off of the latest iteration of their entry-level iPad. Now entering its 7th generation, the new iPad continues to retain most of the classic tablet’s design elements and features, however strictly speaking, Apple has finally moved past the tablet’s classic 9.7-inch size. As part of an effort to align the entry-level iPad with Apple’s higher-end iPad Air, the company has ever so slightly enlarged the tablet, with the latest model filling out to 10.2 inches diagonal.

Size increases aside, however, the latest iPad still takes up the same spot within Apple’s lineup as the previous iPad model. With Apple holding to the $329 retail price for the base 32 GB model ($299 education), this is Apple’s entry-level iPad, optimized for content consumption and some very light content creation. The latter, in turn, actually gets a small boost in this generation, with the addition of Apple’s Smart Connector, allowing the tablet to be used with Apple’s matching Smart Keyboard.

In the case of the 7th generation iPad, taking a quick look at the specs actually tells us most of what we need to know about Apple’s new tablet. In short, Apple has made the tablet a bit larger than its predecessor, but little else. Based upon the same A10 SoC, same 32.4 Watt-hour battery, and the same camera modules, there’s not a whole lot new for the new iPad beyond its size. So by and large, the 7th generation iPad is pretty much a side-grade to the previous iPad.

The important part for Apple here is that the latest model of the tablet, besides being a bit larger overall – with size continuing to be important to consumers – is that this aligns the design of the iPad with the new iPad Air (again). Specifically, the 7th generation iPad gets the same 250.6mm x 174.1mm footprint as Apple’s higher-end tablet. This means that the two tablets can share a lot of accessories that are designed to match the size of a tablet – case in point, Apple’s Smart Keyboard, which fits both the iPad and the iPad Air. The iPad is still a good 23% thicker, so cases and the like will still need to take this into account, but it means the iPad Air is no longer alone with its slightly enlarged footprint.
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