The sixth-generation iPad of Apple is still the best tablet value in the market. For 329 dollars the consumers get a light and high-quality tablet with millions of apps, presently with a faster processor and Apple Pencil support. It is great for creative work and content consumption. But the company wants to compete with Chromebooks and laptops in schools and that needs an addition of expensive accessories that significantly hike the cost.

There are actually two ways to look at the new iPad. One is the way most people would look at it, and the other is the way Apple wants the people to look at it. If the consumers were just handed a new iPad, they would say that it is a great all-purpose tablet with cool creative features.

The sixth-generation iPad priced at 329.99 dollars at the Apple Store looks exactly similar to the fifth-gen model, to the point at which it fits in all of the same cases and accessories. The two generations of tablets are exactly of the same weight and size: 1.03 pounds for the Wi-Fi model or 1.05 for the cellular unit and 9.4 by 6.6 by 0.3 inches.

The tablet is not formally ruggedized or water-resistant. It has no IP rating, although the company claims that it is tough. In comparison with some of the tougher Chromebooks in the market, though, like CTL’s models for the schools or the new Lenovo 100e/300e/500e, though, it is still breakable. A lot of that just is the slippery nature of the iPad and the fact that it is glass face does not have a clamshell to protect it. That is a part of as to why Apple suggests a new 99 dollars Logitech rugged keyboard case for using the iPad in schools. The case attaches physically a keyboard and secures the tablet, but it boosts the cost by 100 dollars. Of course, consumers could even get cheaper cases. The least expensive decent cases are priced at 10 dollars to 15 dollars, but they do not include the keyboard that schools would need to use for writing assignments and filling forms.

The form factor of the iPad must be familiar. It is a glass and metal slab with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor/home button below the screen. Unlike the recent iPhone models, the company has kept the headphone jack. The tablet appears in gold, silver, or gray.

The iPad makes use of an A10 processor, similar model as is in the iPhone 7. That is a step up from the A9 in the fifth-generation iPad and it actually shows on benchmarks: On Geekbench 4, there is 3512 single-core and 5934 multi-core, in comparison with 2548/4435 on the fifth-generation. Now, that is still short of the results that are on iPad Pro devices that have even a more powerful A10X processor.

The faster processor does not alter the speed of the basic UI; apps launch and swap at about similar speed on both the tablets. But consumers could definitely experience the difference between A9 and A10 while running augmented reality (AR) apps. On the fifth-generation iPad, AR apps tend to judder and stutter a little whereas, on the sixth-generation iPad, those same apps run much more smoothly.