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Posts tagged with "ipad air"

iPad Air 2022 Review: Refined Balance

The new iPad Air.

The new iPad Air.

The last time I wrote about the iPad Air in October 2020, I explained how its fourth-generation model intrigued me again. A year and a half later, here I am, once again fascinated by the iPad Air, captivated by its hybrid nature caught between a base model iPad and the aspirations of an iPad Pro.

Here’s why: while the new iPad Air, which goes on sale this Friday starting at $599, doesn’t break any ground for the Air line, I believe it has reached its most balanced state yet.

The new iPad Air catches up with the iPad Pro and iPad mini in supporting 5G networking; it’s the final iPad in the lineup to get Center Stage; like the iPad Pro, it now comes with an M1 chip and the same 8 GB of RAM. The 2022 iPad Air refines what Apple started with the relaunch of this model in 2020 and achieves a balance of features, size, and price that makes it the ideal iPad for most people.

The iPad Air and the features it adds compared to its previous-gen model are, at this point, known quantities. The design, 10.9” display, and implementation of Touch ID are unchanged from the 2020 version; I covered Center Stage (we even built a custom app for it), the M1, and 5G in my 2021 iPad Pro review; the Magic Keyboard, Apple Pencil, and Smart Folio covers are the same ones we’ve been using for years.

The same is true regarding how I see Apple’s pitch for the iPad Air as a product: it’s a distillation of the most essential traits of the Pro line, made accessible to more customers at a lower price point. I wrote this in 2020, and it still applies to the new iPad Air:

While the 10.9” Air won’t replace the 12.9” iPad Pro as my primary machine, I’ve been impressed by this iPad for a different reason: the iPad Air democratizes the notion of “pro iPad”, bringing key features of iPad Pro to more customers, while at the same time looking ahead toward the future of iPad with hardware not seen on the current iPad Pro lineup. The iPad Air sits at the intersection of old iPad Pro features trickling down to the rest of the iPad line and new ones appearing on this model first.

If the “new” features of the iPad Air aren’t new at all and if the strategy behind this product hasn’t changed since 2020, I could reasonably wrap up this story here, right?

Well, not quite. Something happened recently that allowed me to evaluate the new iPad Air from a fresh perspective: Silvia started using my iPad mini and fell in love with it. So when I received a review unit of the new iPad Air from Apple last week, I asked myself: could I use the iPad Air as my secondary iPad, replacing the iPad mini for reading, chatting on Twitter and Discord, and watching YouTube videos, plus doing the occasional note-taking and having a small extra monitor for Universal Control?

I had been feeling like the iPad mini was a bit too small for my hands anyway (hence why I was okay with Silvia taking it); perhaps the new iPad Air could be a good opportunity to reassess its capabilities as a general-purpose tablet for people who want just one iPad in their lives as well as folks who, like me, work on a 12.9” iPad Pro but also want to complement it with a smaller, more focused iPad.

So that’s the experiment I’ve been running for the past six days. Let’s see how it went.

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Apple’s New iPad Air Adds the M1 Chip, Center Stage Support, and 5G Connectivity

Today’s Peek Performance Apple event included a new iPad Air that replaces the model that was released in the fall of 2020 and features an M1 chip, 5G connectivity, and an Ultra Wide front-facing camera.

The new Air comes in five colors: Space Gray, Starlight, pink, purple, and blue. The chip has been upgraded from the A15 to the M1, bringing it in line with the chip used in the iPad Pro. Apple also upgraded the front-facing Ultra Wide 12MP camera, so it now supports Center Stage, allowing the camera to keep participants in the camera frame during FaceTime and other video calls. The Air adds 5G connectivity and a USB-C port that’s two times faster than before too.

Other than the new colors, the design of the iPad Air remains the same with a Touch ID top button, 10.9” diagonal Liquid Retina display that features 264 pixels per inch and Apple’s True Tone technology, but not ProMotion. The iPad Air comes in 64GB and 256GB storage configurations like the model it replaces too.

With the move to an M1 chip and support for Center Stage, the gap between the iPad Air and the 11” iPad Pro is smaller than ever. Perhaps the narrowing of the gap is temporary and we’ll see it widen again when the iPad Pro is next updated. However, the two iPads are so close in specs now that the new Air is probably the better choice for most users, especially if they can get by with 64GB of storage.


You can follow all of our ‘Peek Performance’ Apple event coverage through our event hub, or subscribe to the dedicated RSS feed.


iPad Air Review: Forward-Looking

The new iPad Air.

The new iPad Air.

Ever since its launch in late 2015, the 12.9” iPad Pro has been my primary computer. The combination of a large display – the largest Apple makes for iPads – with software that properly takes advantage of it (see: Split View, multiwindow, multicolumn) makes the 12.9” Pro an ideal blend of laptop-like usability and tablet modularity. If you’re looking for power and flexibility, the 12.9” iPad Pro is the ne plus ultra of the iPad line.

Before the iPad Pro, however, it was the iPad Air 2 that convinced me the iPad could be a suitable replacement for a MacBook. In my review of the iPad Air 2 in early 2015, which I published just a few months before the iPad Pro’s debut, I called the device a “liberating” experience, noting how it struck a balance of high portability and versatility that enabled me to get more work done from more places. In spite of the iPad Pro’s superiority – especially in terms of display size – I’m always going to have a soft spot for the iPad Air as the device where my modern iPad journey began.

For the past few days, I’ve been testing Apple’s latest iPad Air, which comes out this Friday starting at $599 for the 64 GB, Wi-Fi model. While the 10.9” Air won’t replace the 12.9” iPad Pro as my primary machine, I’ve been impressed by this iPad for a different reason: the iPad Air democratizes the notion of “pro iPad”, bringing key features of iPad Pro to more customers, while at the same time looking ahead toward the future of iPad with hardware not seen on the current iPad Pro lineup. The iPad Air sits at the intersection of old iPad Pro features trickling down to the rest of the iPad line and new ones appearing on this model first. This makes the iPad Air a fascinating device to review, as well as a compelling alternative to another iPad of similar dimensions: the 11” iPad Pro.

Five years after the iPad Air 2, I’m intrigued by an iPad Air again. Let me explain why.

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Apple Begins Taking Pre-Orders for the New iPad Air

Alongside pre-orders for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, Apple opened up pre-orders for the new iPad Air today. First introduced by the company at a September 15th event, the iPad Air features the A14 Bionic SoC, a Touch ID power button, support for the second-generation Apple Pencil, USB-C connectivity, Magic Keyboard support, new case colors, and other updates. Availability for the iPad Air will begin next Friday, October 23rd.

For a complete rundown on the features of the new iPad Air, check out the overview we published here.



Apple Debuts ‘Make a Film with iPad’ Advert

Coinciding with Sunday’s Academy Awards Ceremony, Apple debuted a new iPad advert with a focus on making films. The advert features students from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) as they prepare and shoot films for a school project. Also featured in the advert is Martin Scorsese, with audio excerpts from his 2014 commencement speech to the NYU Tisch School of the Arts serving as the narration to the advert.

iPad is the ultimate tool for independent filmmakers. It lets them chase their ambitions and dive deeper into the work they’re so passionate about. Learn how students at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts relied on the power and versatility of iPad to write, produce, shoot, score, and edit their films in a matter of days.

Like most of Apple’s recent adverts, they’ve set up a page on their website with more information about the advert and those featured in it. As noted on the page, the apps featured in this advert are Final Draft Writer, FiLMiC Pro, Garageband, and VideoGrade.

We’ve embedded the advert below, but you can also view it on Apple’s website and on YouTube.

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The iPad Air 2’s Extra GB of RAM

Display aside, another hardware change that I noticed in my iPad Air 2 is the extra RAM Apple put in this year. Pocket Gamer’s Mark Brown ran some tests:

To see how things have changed, we rebooted an iPad Air and an iPad Air 2, and then loaded monster memory hog XCOM: Enemy Unknown. We then started opening and using apps to see how much we could get done before iOS forcibly removed XCOM from memory.

Apple’s handy OS X tool Instruments lets you keep an eye on what your iPad is doing, so we could see the exact moment that XCOM was killed off like a Sectoid on the receiving end of a shotgun.

Check out his gallery of screenshots to see how much an extra GB of RAM can help. In my case, the iPad Air 2 keeps more Safari tabs in memory without aggressively reloading when I switch between them, and apps generally stay active for longer periods of time. The end result is a faster experience as I see less apps being removed from memory – a change that I particularly appreciate when I’m switching between Safari and a bunch of other apps for research or file management tasks.

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The iPad Air 2 Display

Since getting my iPad Air 2 last week (I upgraded from an iPad mini), I noticed two things about the display: if I get closer to it, I can (almost) discern pixels again; and, it’s considerably better than the iPad mini when used under indoor lighting.

Dr. Raymond M. Soneira of DisplayMate notes in their in-depth analysis of the display:

A major innovation for the iPad Air 2 (that is not fully appreciated) is an anti-reflection coating on the cover glass that reduces ambient light reflections by about 3:1 over most other Tablets and Smartphones (including the previous iPads), and about 2:1 over all of the very best competing Tablets and Smartphones (including the new iPhone 6). We measured a 62 percent decrease in reflected light glare compared to the previous iPads (Apple claims 56 percent) and agree with Apple’s claim that the iPad Air 2 is “the least reflective display of any Tablet in the world” – both are in fact understatements.

While the anti-reflection coating doesn’t do much in direct sunlight, in my experience it has an effect for working with the iPad indoors. As for the pixels, it’s not a big deal because I wouldn’t normally get my eyes close to display (so in normal usage, the Retina display still looks fantastic), but I’d definitely welcome a Retina HD iPad next year.

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New iPads and the Apple SIM

A major change in the new iPads that Apple didn’t mention on stage today is the Apple SIM, which will come preinstalled on the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. As we mentioned in our overview, the Apple SIM will be initially limited to the US and the UK.

Ina Fried writes:

The cellular-equipped versions of the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 can be bought with a single SIM card that supports multiple carriers, meaning that customers don’t have to decide at the time of purchase which cellular carrier they want. Customers buying previous versions of the iPad were bound to one carrier from the outset, since the SIM card was only compatible with that service.

Over at Quartz, Dan Frommer argues that the Apple SIM could potentially be a big deal on the iPhone and even disrupt the wireless industry:

It’s early, but it’s easy to see how this concept could significantly disrupt the mobile industry if Apple brings it to the iPhone. In many markets—especially the US—most mobile phones are distributed by operators and locked to those networks under multi-year contracts. People rarely switch operators, partially out of habit and satisfaction, but mostly because it’s annoying to do so.

There have always been rumors (see: 2010) of Apple setting itself up as a MVNO to change the way customers “interact” with carriers. It’s interesting that Apple has started to experiment with Apple SIM on the iPad and I’m curious to see if and how this will expand worldwide.

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