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Apple iPad Air Announced

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Posted by Tsepz_GP

Almost exactly a year after we saw Apple open the gates for the entrance of the chic, but unchanged fourth generation iPad, the Cupertino-based company is back with another 9.7-inch tablet offering. Bound to spar with dozens of considerably better prepared rivals, this time around it should be noted that it was in Apple's interest to up the ante and not chase enticing margins. Unsurprisingly, this is exactly what the tech giant has done, for the iPad Air, in particular, comes packed with a bunch of new goodies that are bound to take the fancy even of the more devout Android followers out there.

Design: say hello to the new iPad

The most telling difference between the iPad Air and the iPad 4, or any other iPad for that matter, is the decidedly different looks. Sure, this is still an iPad through and through, with a full metal body and all, but we're definitely loving the serious kink towards the iPad mini's design. Best of all, perhaps, is the fact that Apple has also put the iPad Air through some much needed dieting, which has resulted in a slimmer profile and less bulk, making the newest iPad admittedly more compact than its predecessor. If it is figure that you demand to hear, the iPad Air is just 7.5 millimeters thin, making it thinner than the previous model. Bezels have been shrunk by 43 percent compared to the iPad 4. But the more amazing fact about the new iPad's proportions is its weight. Or lack of it, to be more specific. At roughly around one pound (about 469 grams), the iPad Air is the lightest tablet of this size.

For those who have been hoping the iPad Air to come in gold, we bring bad news. As before, the new iPad model will be available in only two color variants – silver and white or space gray and black.

The mandatory specs bump

Apple has chosen the Apple A7 chip for the iPad Air

Apple's tradition of straying away from the specs race is well known, though only the initiated would mistake that for a weakness – if anything, the iPhone 5s has already proven that its seemingly frugal dual-core 64-bit Apple A7 chipset is powerful far beyond what many thought possible. This very same technology has been transferred to the iPad Air as the 64-bit Apple A7 powers Apple's new slate, backed by the M7 coprocessor, and we feel fairly certain that the new slate will not be found wanting on the performance front. Compared to its predecessor, the iPad Air is up to twice as fast, be it when it comes to raw computations or graphics performance. At the same time, battery life has not been affected in any way, with 10 hours of active use being promised by Apple.

Of course, Apple's refusal to get sucked into racing with Androids (and now, Windows Phones) is not just the stubborn refusal of a child, it's actually firmly rooted in fact. Having control over both the software and hardware has ensured that even the latest Apple hardware can hold its ground and multitask effectively (well, as effectively as iOS would allow you, anyway).

Something that hasn't been altered, however, is the screen as the iPad Air has the same 9.7-inch Retina Display found on its predecessor. But was a change necessary? Well, not really. With a resolution of 1536 by 2048, the tablet is still well capable of pleasing the eyes of consumers and critics alike.

Turning the iPad Air around reveals a 5MP iSight camera with auto-focus. Yup, it is pretty much the same one we know from the iPad 4. Here a resolution bump or the addition of a flash would have been more than welcome, yet Apple has decided to leave the tablet's snapper as it is. The front-facing FaceTime HD camera, on the other hand, has been improved with larger pixels and better backside illumination technology for clearer selfies and video chats. Speaking of video, the iPad Air sports dual microphones, yet Apple did not clarify whether these are to record stereo sound or for noise cancellation.

Further enhancements under the hood include the improved Wi-Fi radio, which now features MIMO antennas. Thanks to this upgrade, up to twice as fast 802.11n data rates can be achieved, at least in theory.

iOS 7 on the big screen

That the iPad Air ships with iOS 7 loaded and ready to go is no surprise to anyone. After all, this version of Apple's mobile platform has been pushed to both iPhones and previous-gen iPads already. What's quite fascinating, however, is the broad range of software one is provided access to - over 475 000 apps, to be precise, all optimized for the 9.7-inch touchscreen on the iPad Air. iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, all of which are free for all iPad Air buyers, are the icing on the cake.


Posted by Burgaz
Well I love my iPad Air... It doesn't hurt anywhere near as much as my old one when I accidentally drop it on my face when using it in bed!

Posted by hihihans
I wondered why they reduced wait instead of increasing the battery

Posted by Tsepz_GP

On 2013-11-15 08:14:48, Burgaz wrote:
Well I love my iPad Air... It doesn't hurt anywhere near as much as my old one when I accidentally drop it on my face when using it in bed!

Ouch! I've had all my phones since the X10 do that but never my iPad that's got to hurt! Glad you're enjoying your iPad Air.

Posted by Burgaz
Can't really fault it... Although I haven't actually noticed that many differences between the Air and the Retina other than size and weight. And I'm loving Ocean Horn. Long gaming sessions don't make my arms ache as much anymore 😉

Posted by Tsepz_GP
That's excellent, when you say iPad Retina which one did you have? The iPad 3 or iPad 4? Did your previous iPad have the Lightning Connector? Isn't there a major difference in UI speed and smoothness?
I've got the iPad4, the one with A6X chip and Lightning connector, I'm wondering if I can really justify getting an iPad Air when it doesn't seem that different spec wise to the 4.

How's battery life so far?

Posted by Burgaz
Yes mine had the lightning connector. Not a major difference to be honest. I suppose I did start to notice some slight lag after the iOS 7 update on my old iPad, which has gone on the Air and browsing photos and videos is definitely smoother. Also apps load faster, if only slightly. Biggest difference I did notice was with things like DJ 2 app loads tracks waveforms much much faster.

Battery life hasn't changed much I don't think? I try to fully discharge before doing a full re
Charge when ever possible. I'm not really noticing any difference. Still needs charging after a day of reasonably heavy usage.
[ This Message was edited by: Burgaz on 2013-11-15 12:41 ]

Posted by Supa_Fly

On 2013-11-15 11:12:57, Burgaz wrote:
Can't really fault it... Although I haven't actually noticed that many differences between the Air and the Retina other than size and weight. And I'm loving Ocean Horn. Long gaming sessions don't make my arms ache as much anymore 😉

Personally I think I'll get the iPad Mini Retina. For some reason my elbows would cramp up after just 2hrs of using the iPad 2 whilst lying in bed on my side or on my back with knees up which really REALLY hurt. The weight I doubt was the problem but the angle of holding it within my hands or something.

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