What just happened? Apple's just released its newly redesigned 10th-generation iPad without the usual fanfare, even though it marks one of the most substantial redesigns in years for the entry-level Apple tablet. Pre-orders began today, with devices shipping and hitting retailers on October 26, just in time for the release of iPadOS16. Pricing starts at $499.

Apple quietly dropped a press release today unveiling the latest entry-level iPad. Rumors suggested that Apple would launch the new iPad any day now, without the press show fanfare customarily associated with its flagship product launches.

Apple's 10th-generation iPad receives the most substantial redesign in several years. Taking design cues from the iPad Pro and Air lineups, the new iPad features an all-screen design and flat-edge casing. Engineers dropped the home button to make room for the symmetrical bezels, and Touch ID moved to the top power button, similar to the iPad Air. The redesign has a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display packing in a 2360x1640 resolution, True Tone technology, and 500 nits of brightness.

Updated cameras include a 12MP back camera with 4k video, 240 fps slo-mo, and a 12MP ultra-wide front camera. The upgraded front camera is housed in the landscape edge and offers a 122-degree FOV with support for Center Stage, Apple's technology for keeping users centered in view as they move around.

The new iPad also adopts a USB-C port for charging and accessories, likely another acknowledgment of the changes wrought by regulatory agencies seeking to consolidate charging standards. The entry-level iPad was the last iPad model still utilizing Apple's Lightning port.

The new iPad also upgrades wireless connectivity with support for Wi-Fi 6 and 5G for cellular models. It will continue supporting a physical SIM card and eSIM with on-device activation. Powering all the features is the A14 Bionic CPU. Apple is promising up to 20 percent CPU performance and a 10 percent improvement in graphics processing over the A13 in the 9th generation iPad.

Apple is also releasing a Magic Keyboard Folio explicitly designed for the new iPad. The keyboard features full-size keys with 1 mm of travel. It has a large trackpad with support for click-anywhere and Multi-Touch gestures. The detachable keyboard magnetically connects to the Smart Connector on the edge of the iPad. It also includes support for Apple Pencil (1st gen).

Lurking quietly in the background of an already relatively quiet launch is iPadOS16. Apple is promoting its new tablet OS release alongside the release of the new iPad. It arrives on October 24, a couple of days before Apple starts shipping the latest iPads.

Pre-orders for the 10th-gen iPad are available from the Apple website, with shipping and in-store purchases starting October 26. The Wi-Fi-only model starts at $499, with the Wi-Fi + Cellular version going for $599. The new iPad will be available in 64GB and 256GB configurations in your choice of blue, pink, yellow, or silver.