iPad Air – features, release date and price [video]
The iPad Air is the latest addition to Apple’s iPad family. While there are no revolutionary jumps forward in features, as the name suggests, Apple is hoping the lighter weight and slimmer body will appeal to our increasing appetite to use tablets out and about.
Designed to keep Apple at the top of the 10-inch tablet market, the Air costs £399 for its wi-fi-only version and is set to take on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (£339, 32GB) and the Transformer Pad, the new hybrid from Asus (£430, 32GB). We take a look at its key features.
Apple iPad mini 2 - features, release date and price of Apple’s new 7.9-inch tablet
iPad Air – first look video
iPad Air – four key features
A superfast processor - just like the iPhone 5S, the new iPad is powered by a 64-bit A7 processor. Its predecessor was already very nippy, but the Air is supposed to be twice as fast. We’re looking forward to seeing exactly what difference the A7 chip will make when we get it into our lab for full testing, but it helped the iPhone 5s rank as the fastest phone we’ve ever tested.
Picture perfect - it wouldn’t be a tablet upgrade without improvements to the front and rear cameras. Your snaps should look better than ever taken through the upgraded lens on this tablet. The rear camera features an improved aperture for low-light photo-taking – this should mean that if you’re taking pictures in dim conditions, in a bar for instance, it should cope better than ever.
Weighs less - the previous iPad weighed in at 654g. The iPad Air has slimmed down to just 469g. Apple is calling it the lightest full-sized tablet in the world.
Slimmer, sleeker design – not only will this tablet be faster it’ll also be 20% thinner than the previous iPad. In terms of looks, the new iPad has taken its lead from the iPad Mini with a narrower bezel that should make it easier to hold.
Which? expert verdict – ‘everything you’d expect from an iPad upgrade’
The newly christened iPad Air is slimmer, lighter and faster than its predecessor. Throw in a couple of nifty upgrades like its rear camera’s improved low light performance and you’ve got (nearly) everything we’d expect to see from a new iPad. It’s certainly not groundbreaking, but it is an impressive tablet that will ensure Apple can compete against the likes of Samsung and Google.
The classy colours and svelte dimensions ensure this iPad maintains the premium look and feel which is central to the iPad’s identity. Rivals might be able to mimic and even improve upon the technology inside, but few have ever created a tablet that looks as good as the iPad.
And it’s not all about looks. The faster processor should mean that this iPad is able to keep up with the likes of the Nexus 10 and Samsung Note 10.1. Although it has to be said that most users won’t notice the increase in speed as the previous version was already more than fast enough for everyday web browsing and video streaming.
Those who were expecting a fingerprint scanner will be disappointed as it didn’t make an appearance in this year’s announcement. This is surprising considering the technology is already in action on the iPhone 5S.
So is it worth buying? If you’ve got the iPad with Retina display (aka the iPad 4) then it’s probably not worth upgrading. But if you’ve got an iPad 2 or are yet to jump into the tablet market this should prove to be a great option – if you don’t mind the high price tag. The iPad Air is a high powered and well-designed tablet, but if you’re looking for value, as ever with Apple products, this isn’t the tablet you’re looking for.
Jessica Moreton – Senior Technology Researcher-Writer
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