Now that the news from Apple’s latest keynote address has taken a bit of time to settle down and sink in, we thought it would be useful to have a more in-depth look at their latest addition to the iPad range: the iPad Air.
The biggest and most obvious change to the iPad Air from the previous generation iPads is the brand new design. The new design came as no surprise, and brings the iPad Air in line with the look and feel of the iPad mini that came out last year.
The screen is the same 9.7″ retina display that the previous iPad had, but the rest of the body is completely different. The aluminium unibody design will help to keep the weight of the iPad Air down , but at the same time it should feel sturdy and solid in your hand.
The side bezels are thinner than those at the top and bottom of the device (a la iPad mini), and this helps to give the iPad a much more modern and sleek look.
Two colour choices are available – a white and silver model, and a black and space grey model. Both of these are the same colour options that the new iPhone 5s comes in, but Apple didn’t go as far as giving the white and gold option for the iPad Air as well (thank goodness!).
The iPad Air now weighs less than 0.5kg (469g for the WiFI device and 478g for WiFi + Cellular). This is a huge difference from the previous iPad which weighed in at 662g. This should mean it will be much more comfortable to hold for extensive periods of time – for example when you are reading a book or watching a movie on it.
Expand the box below to view a table that highlights the differences in the tech specs from the previous iPad model.
|iPad (4th Generation)||
|Colour Options||Black||Space Grey/Black|
|WiFi + Cellular||WiFi + Cellular|
|Size and Weight||Height:241.2mm (9.5”)||Height:240mm (9.4”)|
|Width:185.7mm (7.31”)||Width:169.5mm (6.6”)|
|Depth:9.4mm (0.37”)||Depth:7.5mm (0.29”)|
|Weight:652g (WiFi Only)662g (WiFi + Cellular)||Weight:469g (WiFi Only)478g (WiFi + Cellular)|
|Wireless & Cellular||WiFi802.11a/b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz)Bluetooth 4.0
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)*
UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)*
LTE (Bands 4 and 17)*
|Wi‑Fi (802.11a/b/g/n); dual channel (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and MIMOBluetooth 4.0
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz);
CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900 MHz)
LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26)
|Display||9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology2048-by-1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch||9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology2048-by-1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch|
|Processor||Dual-core A6X with quad-core graphics||A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor|
|Cameras||Front facing FaceTime HD camera (1.2MP photos and 720p video)iSight camera (5MP photos and 1080p video)||Front facing FaceTime HD camera (1.2MP photos and 720p video)iSight camera (5MP photos and 1080p video)|
|Battery life||42.5-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer batteryUp to 10 hours||32.4-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer batteryUp to 10 hours|
|Sensors & Location||Three-axis gyroAccelerometerAmbient light sensorDigital compassAssisted GPS and GLONASS**(WiFi + Cellular only)||Three-axis gyroAccelerometerAmbient light sensorDigital compassAssisted GPS**(WiFi + Cellular only)|
The new A7 processor included in the new iPad Air will mean apps run much faster, and games should be more responsive. It also supports OpenGL ES version 3.0, enabling detailed graphics and visual effects that were once possible only on desktop computers and games consoles. And the A7 chip features 64-bit architecture, which should lead the way for even more robust and powerful apps. In addition, a brand new chip, the M7 coprocessor is included which measures motion from your iPad Air by pulling data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass. This means apps can give you a better experience based on the movement of your device. This activity is normally the job of the main processor, but by having a separate dedicated chip it makes the iPad Air more efficient at it, and also saves on power.
There are now 2 WiFi antennas in the iPad Air, using MIMO technology (multiple-input multiple-output). With dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802.11n Wi‑Fi and MIMO, Apple are reporting that download speeds can reach up to 300 Mbps — which is double the data rate of the previous-generation iPad.
The previous-generation iPad had support for 2 LTE bands, but that has been expanded to support for 14 bands in the iPad Air. This is great news to anyone hoping to make use of the new LTE/4G services of Vodafone, O2 and 3 in the UK which all use LTE bands that were not covered by the previous iPad or iPhone 5.
The iPad Air now has two microphones. They work together to capture better sound by suppressing audio from background noise. This should help to improve FaceTime calls, and will help Siri to better recognise what you are saying.
The previous iPad had a more powerful battery, but that increased the size and weight of the device. So the new iPad Air has a less powerful battery in order to account for the reduction in size and weight. However, improvements to the processor and the inclusion of a brand new coprocessor means that the iPad Air still gets the same 10 hours battery life despite the smaller battery.
On the whole, the new iPad Air looks to be a good improvement over the previous generation. However, there is some disappointment that Apple decided not to give the iPad Air the new TouchID fingerprint reader that was included in the new iPhone 5s. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why they might have done this (except to save it for future hardware updates), as the A7 processor is the same as the one that is in the new iPhone 5s.
New covers and cases
Obviously Apple haven’t missed a trick, and have created new versions of the Smart Covers and Smart cases to fit the new iPad Air. Nothing of any note here really, but if you are planning on splashing out then at least it is good to know that Apple have your back when it comes to protecting your new baby…
With everything considered, we feel that the new iPad Air is a great addition to the iPad line and we hope that we can get our hands on one to try out when it releases in November!