The latest iPad is stunning. The tenth-generation model has great design, a much bigger display, a fast processor and an edge-mounted Touch ID sensor. It even has a front-facing camera in an especially useful position, on the long edge, which is arguably better than other iPad models. All at a fraction of the price of the iPad Air, which it largely resembles.

But there’s one element that disappointed on its announcement: the stylus compatibility is restricted to the first-generation Apple Pencil, not the superior second-gen version.

Now, a teardown video from iFixit explains why this might be. It could be because that superior placement of the front-facing camera in the long edge of the tablet, making it better for video conferencing, for instance, is behind it.

The teardown shows that inside the iPad, the camera elements sit exactly where the tiny wireless charging coil that recharges the Apple Pencil second-generation on the other iPad models, would typically sit.


Of course, Apple engineers think long and hard about these things, so there may be more to the absence of Pencil 2 support than this, such as wanting to keep some elements exclusive to its pricier iPad models.

This new iPad, let’s remember, has the same USB-C connector found on every current Apple tablet, apart from last year’s ninth-generation iPad which remains in the range. Moving from Lightning to USB-C means that you need an adaptor to charge the Apple Pencil, which has a Lightning connector built in.

But it raises a question: assuming Apple decides as the rest of us have done, that a landscape front-facing camera is better on an iPad, how will the company solve the problem on other models?

The most obvious solution is to move the Pencil placement to one of the shorter sides, but that would mean a shorter Pencil to match. Rumors of one of these did surface last year so perhaps what was dismissed as a fake was in fact a prototype? Or perhaps Apple could redesign the Pencil to put the magnet and charging mechanism further down the stylus, and therefore allow an off-center charging coil to work on future tablets.

It’s an intriguing conundrum. Meanwhile, please check out the iFixit teardown. It’s here:


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