Apple has announced their latest iPads, and pretty much all the rumors turned out to be true… well, everything except the rumor going around that there would be colored iPads a la the iPhone 5c. Oh, and there is no fingerprint sensor either, but no one seems to care that much. But wait, no Kardashian Gold colored iPad – common Apple!
The new iPad Air is just what we thought it would look like, however, we didn’t think that Apple would really call it “Air”. In any case, design wise, the iPad Air is essentially a larger version of the iPad Mini. But in comparison to its predecessor, this new iPad is just 7.5 millimeters thin and weighs just one pound. That means that it’s 28% lighter and 20% thinner than the previous generation iPad model. Of course, Apple is still including the same amazing 9.7″ Retina display, but they were able to reduce the overall width of the iPad and its bezels.
Wi-Fi performance has also been improved with support for dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and MIMO, and there is also support for more LTE Bands. Under the hood, the Air is packing in a faster 64-bit A7 chip, yet the battery life on the iPad Air is claimed to be the same as its predecessor – up to 10 hours.
We would have liked to have seen even better battery life, and even a lighter body weight, but the improvements are still a welcome and much overdue update for the iPad. Overall, the iPad Air is not completely a new product, but at least we got a new name – and a fairly significant addition to the iPad family.
Pricing for the iPad Air begins at $499. Meanwhile, Apple plans to continue selling the iPad 2 for $399. you might be wondering why Apple wouldn’t drop the price down on the iPad 3 or 4 instead of continuing to sell the iPad 2? Well, it’s probably all part of their strategy of making sure that folks pony up the extra cash for an iPad Air if they want a 9.7″ Retina display.
Apple has also updated the iPad Mini with a Retina display, which the iPad Mini really should have had when it was first released. So yeh, we all knew this was coming too. The Mini has also been updated with a faster 64-bit A7 processor. Notably the new iPad Mini with Retina display is a tiny bit heavier than the ‘older’ iPad Mini – weighing .75lbs vs the original Mini’s .69lbs. But perhaps the most exciting news for the iPad Mini is that you can now pick up the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, without the retina display, for just $299 – making it the most affordable iPad yet.
Apple has also announced new smart covers and smart cases for the iPad Air and iPad Mini. They are unsurprisingly pretty pricey, but it’s clear that Apple is committed to making more and more of their own accessories.