Apple iPad Air is now available and shipping in the UK
The Air is the 5th iPad release and comes a year after the 4th generation iPad was released.
So how much smaller is the Air?
Old: 241mm x 186mm x9mm – 650g
New: 240mm x 170mm x 7.5mm -450g
The weight has been slashed by 200 grams, that’s a significant cut representing close to 30% off the original unit. The unit is now 1.5 mm thinner and 16 mm slimmer. The battery life has been expanded to 10 hours. The bezel is the big change. It’s 43% smaller and 20% thinner and the 28% weight reduction transforms the device. The Apple A7 64 bit chip that first surfaced in the new iPhone 5S provides what Apple call Desk Top power. This powers the iPad and it performs significantly faster than the version 4.
Apple’s iPad Air has some new powers compared to its predecessor – chief among those is the new A7 64-bit processor, and the M7 motion coprocessor that goes along with that. This means that like its cousin the iPhone 5s, it’s a “forward thinking” device, but it also brings benefits right away, thanks in large part to Apple’s own redesigned first-party apps.
When using the new iLife and iWork suites, performance is considerably bolstered by the 64-bit retrofits they got with their recent redesigns – everything feels faster and more responsive. 64-bit processing doesn’t mean that every app necessarily gets a 2x boost in performance over those made for the traditional 32-bit architecture used in previous iPads, but it does mean that software made for those processors will feel even more instantly responsive than it has in the past.
Also new to the iPad Air are dual microphones which help out with sound quality on audio and video FaceTime calls, and the motion coprocessor means that you’ll start to see more activity tracking built into the iPad, too. It may seem an odd feature for a tablet, but the iPad is designed to go with you where you go, and it might be even more representative of your general activity level since it won’t be triggered so easily as a phone worn close to the body.
Cameras also get an update with the iPad Air, which is to be expected. The real gem here is the FaceTime HD camera that offers 1080p video calling instead of 720p on the last model, which does make a difference. It also has a new 5-megapixel shooter that gets bigger pixels on the sensor, which does lead to better photos. You will feel no less ridiculous taking photos with a 9.7-inch tablet than you did before, however, but if that’s the type of photography you go in for, you’ll be better served with this device.
The iPad Air may be a lightweight device physically, but it’s a heavyweight when it comes to performance. Benchmarks tell only one side of the story, and the one that most users will be more interested in is around how the tablet work under normal, everyday usage conditions. Put simply, Apple’s latest iPad soars.
Put simply, Apple’s latest iPad soars.
Other performance tweaks from the A7 include support for OpenGL ES version 3.0 graphics, which makes it possible to build effects into games that were previously only available on the desktop. This iPad is a really strong gaming advice I learned based on my testing with Batman: Arkham Origins on the tablet, and you really get the sense that developers are just cracking the surface when it comes to what they can do with these new graphics capabilities.
The iPads now ship with the iLife and iWork suite of Apple applications. This gives you your work and play with iPhots, iMovie and GarageBand as well as Pages, Numbers and Keynote. This is a big change as these used be sold separately for a handful of pounds. Any software addict will now save around £70 compared to buying them from the iStore. This is also part of Apple dig at Microsoft in saying that you can live without the Office Suite. The iCloud storage lets you share your work between your MAC and your iPad is what should be a seamless way. We have read a few reports about compatibility issues and changes to the feature set. We need to run a longer and more detailed test to learn the details.
The iPad Air is a huge improvement over the iPad 4th-gen. Its smaller form factor is the best currently available by far and it provides a great blend of portability and usability. The bundled software makes it the best, most powerful and productive tablet on the market by a long way.
The iPad AIR is available from Taybridge Consulting or from any other Apple Authorized Dealer.
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