Rumor: The next budget iPad to have flat edges, but the home button stays

Apple’s $329 iPad could adopt a squared body style with sharp edges like other models, but a Touch ID home button and those thick borders will apparently stay.

A top-down view of a white work desk with a your male's hands holding Apple's ninth-generation iPad in hands with the default home screen shown on the display
What about those thick borders?
  • What’s happening? Claimed schematics for an upcoming revision to the $329-inch iPad suggest the device will switch its rounded edges for sharp ones like other models. But at the same time, the home button and thick borders around the display won’t be swapped for a modernized appearance. There’s speculation out there that the improvements could lead to a price increase.
  • Why care? The $329 iPad is a well-balanced device in terms of features and price, but Apple should do something about its outdated design. It’s disappointing that the upcoming revision to the device won’t get rid of the home button. And because there won’t be Face ID, those thick borders will likely stay.
  • What to do? Imagine an upgrade budget iPad with flat edges, USB-C, a better screen with a larger 11-inch canvas, Apple’s A14 Bionic chip because these are the perks that the rumor industry is betting on for a tenth-generation model.

The budget iPad could get a redesign

MySmartPrice has received alleged renders of the next $329 iPad from a case maker. The schematics show a device measuring 248.62mm tall, 179.50mm wide and 6.98mm thick, making it a bit wider and slightly thinner than the current model.

Alleged CAD render of the tenth-generation budget iPad revealing sharp edges, USB-C and a rear camera bump
Image: MySmartPrice

Assuming those schematics are legit, the device could also receive a design change and other improvements, such as four speakers instead of two, a pill-shaped camera bump on the back and USB-C instead of Lightning for data and charging. However, a Touch ID home button will be retained, as will those thick borders running around the display. Read: How to connect iPhone to iPad to transfer photos

The report claims Apple won’t add Face ID to this iPad and adopt a fullscreen front design, but we understand why: Doing so would inevitably raise production costs and push the price up. But instead of retaining the home button, Apple could’ve borrowed the iPad Air’s solution which embeds a Touch ID fingerprint reader into the power button at the top of the device.

Will the next budget iPad cost more than $329?

The current ninth-generation model starts at $329 for the 64-gigabyte version ($479 for 256 gigabytes of storage). It comes in silver and space gray and features a 10.2-inch Retina display, a Lightning port and Apple’s A13 Bionic chip.

The tablet has a 12-megapixel ultra-wide front camera with the Stage Center feature, an eight-megapixel shooter out the back, two speakers and two mics. Evidently, some of those features could benefit from hardware updates.

But if some of the improvements through to come to the budget iPad¬†indeed include USB-C, an updated rear shooter with a new camera bump housing, four speakers, a larger 10.5-inch display and 5G connectivity, as rumored, then we could be in for a price increase. It doesn’t seem realistic though to provide all those improvements without passing at least some of the added production costs to the consumer.

Case in point: iPad mini 6

On the other hand, Apple did precisely that with the iPad mini, adding many new features and an updated fullscreen design without raising the price. In an ideal world, Apple would tuck all those great tablet features inside its most affordable model while keeping the price intact. But we don’t live in a perfect world.

At any rate, it shouldn’t be long before Apple shows its cards. With the company expected to unveil the next iPad Pro sometime in October, the next budget iPad could easily be part of that announcement.