iPad 2022 may bring Apple closer to an all USB-C future — but there's much more

Apple iPad 2021 review
(Image credit: Phillip Tracy/Laptop Mag)

Apple retains a stranglehold on the tablet market in 2022 and that is in no small part due to the base iPad, which at $329 is the most affordable tablet in Apple's lineup and the best selling tablet worldwide in Q1 2022. 

All of that is in spite of some decidedly dated elements to its design, with the iPad mini and iPad Air joining the iPad Pro in moving to USB-C. With rumors that 2023 may be the year that Apple gives up and move the iPhone to USB-C, getting one more device checked off the list wouldn't be too surprising. 

USB-C isn't the only piece upgrade mentioned in this rumor that comes from the team at 9to5Mac. A chip upgrade, a larger display and a 5G connectivity boost are all apparently on the table for the tablet as well and all of that would make for a massive upgrade for the most popular tablet in the world.

While it likely won't be warmly welcomed by everyone, the move to USB-C is one of the biggest changes as it represents the last piece iPad to make that move and hopefully portends the same for the iPhone soon as well. With laptops, monitors, tablets, wireless headphones and so much more now reliant on USB-C, it will simply everything if Apple makes the move as well.

From physical connectivity to wireless connectivity, the cellular iPad will reportedly adopt 5G, just as we saw with the new iPad Air this year. This was inevitable as 5G moves from the high-end to an expected feature for mobile devices. 

The biggest physical change outside of the port swap is a potential upgrade in screen size to either 10.5 or 10.9 inches, 9to5Mac indicates its sources are unsure on that point, but did claim that the wide color gamut and the boosted brightness we've seen on the Air and Pro models are not going to trickle down to the base model.

The standard iPad won't be making the leap to the M1, again no real surprise there, instead, it will take on the A14 chip found in the iPad Air 2020. It's not a night and day difference from the A13 in the current model, but it is a 5nm chip versus 7nm, so it's a more significant bump than a typical year-to-year update. 

As always, despite 9to5Mac having a solid track record, these are simply rumors and should be taken with a grain of salt until any official announcements from Apple. The one missing element here is any mention of a design change to finally shed the home button, their sources had nothing on that change and while these updates are excellent, that would be the icing on the iPad 2022 cake.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.