The next entry-level iPad might not have a headphone jack

By: Michael Korgs | 05.08.2022, 11:39
The next entry-level iPad might not have a headphone jack

Apple has removed the headphone jack from its entire iPhone line and several iPads, such as the iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad Mini. It appears Apple will also remove the headphone jack from the entry-level iPad: according to alleged renderings of an upcoming low-cost model redesign, the 3.5mm connection is about to go as well. There's no sign of it on either side of the device.

According to MySmartPrice, the CAD renderings are from a case maker working on iPad accessories for Apple's tenth-generation iPad. It's a significant makeover from the original iPad design, which has been untouched for years; in 2017, Apple increased the display size by a little bit while making other internal hardware improvements. It looks like things are about to change, with the new iPad adopting the same flat-sided design as recent iPhones, iPads, the 14-inch / 16-inch MacBook Pro, and 2022 MacBook Air. Both 9to5Mac and MacRumors shared images of them. However, as is always the case, take these easily faked pictures with a grain of salt.

The Home button is still there, which means the huge bezels above and below the screen stay as well. The display should be larger than the existing 10.2-inch iPad, according to MySmartPrice, and there's a modified camera on the back of the device similar to that found on the iPhone X. The new iPad features USB-C connectivity, which would bring Apple's tablet lineup full circle.

The renders also include quad speakers, which makes a little hesitant about what we're seeing: currently, only the iPad Pro has four speakers, so if this pans out, the base-level iPad would be ahead of both the iPad Air and Mini in terms of sound.

This seems improbable to me, but it might also be Apple's reasoning for eliminating the headphone jack from a product that is frequently used in schools and other situations where affordable wired headphones are necessary. This is a decision that many teachers and parents would not agree with, and part of me hopes what we're seeing isn't true – at least in this regard. But if it is, you'll be able to use a USB-C-to-3.5mm Adaptor as a fallback option.

The 10th-generation iPad is expected to be introduced this fall, but it's uncertain whether a new design would come with a greater price tag than the current $329. Will Apple remove the 3.5mm connection from its entry-level iPad and leave Macs as the only hardware in its lineup to still have one? We should hear something in the next few months on that subject.