Apple Redesigns iPad Air, Updates Base-Model iPad

Originally published at: Apple Redesigns iPad Air, Updates Base-Model iPad - TidBITS

Apple has overhauled the iPad Air to resemble the iPad Pro and has upgraded the processor in the base-model iPad.

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I was comparing specs between the iPad Pro (2020) 11 inch and the new iPad Air 10.9 inch and except for the camera and FaceId vs TouchId, and the cameras, there didn’t seem to be much difference. The CPU on the new iPad Air 10.9 inch actually is newer. Is it faster?

Which makes me wonder - how close in specs is the new iPad Air 10.9 inch to the 2018 iPad Pro 11 inch?

I have a 12.9 inch 2018 iPad Pro. If I were using it instead of a computer the size seems nice, with the smart keyboard case.

But I use a Mac for my work, and find the 12.9 inch iPad Pro too large. 11 inch would have been better because I find it hard to use the 12.9 inch as a tablet, or carry around. It’s awkward to use, for example, on a train. Even as just a tablet sitting in my lap reading news I find it too large to hold comfortably.

Like I said, if it were instead of a computer I would go for it. But as a tablet, I find it too large.

I was thinking of maybe selling it and going for the 11 inch model iPad Pro but now wonder if the iPad Air 10.9 inch isn’t pretty much the same thing? I also wonder with the introduction of the iPad Air 10.9 inch what has happened to the resale value of my iPad Pro 2018.

Any thoughts?

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I was really looking forward to the update as I have a 12.5 in iPad and a 9.5 in iPad Pro and would like to combine the screen sizes to compromise in a 11 in or so. I would go for the iPad Air as I much prefer the Touch ID to the face scan, but I would really like more storage than 256 GB max for the Air.

On the Apple website, you can easily run a comparison chart of up to 3 current iPad models at once. See here.

Yes, I did that. That’s what prompted my question.

If you don’t care about the better display and cameras on the pro, the new iPad Air is definitely a great buy.

Thanks, Josh. I hope you’re right. I’d love to see TouchID come to the power button on the iPhone 12. Not instead of FaceID, but in addition to it. :slight_smile: Not sure I’d bet a lot of money on that wager though. :wink:

I don’t think we’ll know until we see reviews. FWIW, the A12Z in the Pro is an 8 core CPU, 8 core GPU, while the A14 is a 6 core CPU and 4 core GPU. It’ll be interesting to see if the 5nm vs 7nm process and more transistors yields similar performance from fewer cores.

I also wonder if the iPad Pro will get a processor bump in the near future.

If it does, I’ll be buying it.

I will buy the new iPad Air (I cancelled an order for an Air 2 weeks ago when the rumors of a new one appeared). I am unhappy about one aspect of the iPad Air, storage. 64GB is too little for me and the only option is to jump to 256GB for $150. This was the case with the iPhone 11 Pro but the 64GB was enough for me for a phone. So now the iPad Air is almost up to iPad Pro pricing.

I agree. My current iPad is an Air 2 with 128 GB, which is enough, but 64 would be too little. Still, the new Air seems to be a better value than the Pro.

One thing that I would have liked to see Apple change is the position of the front facing camera. If Apple really wants an iPad to be a laptop replacement, they should move that camera to the long side.

Meh. They are all too large. Where is an iPad Mini 6?

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Our friend Jason Snell has now posted a review of the fourth-generation iPad Air at Six Colors.

The fourth-generation iPad Air is now available for ordering online.

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And John Gruber has a review up at Daring Fireball too. He’s a little down on the lack of ProMotion and the use of TouchID when the iPad is using a keyboard.

I think the new iPad Air is particularly awesome if you can get by with just 64 GB. Then it’s a great deal.

If OTOH you need more storage than 64 GB, you might as well get the 128GB 11" Pro. For $50 more than the 256 GB Air you get brighter ProMotion display, FaceID, better camera, better speakers, and it’s A12Z will still outperform the Air’s A14 for multicore and GPU tasks.

I got the iPad Air 4 with 256GB. I kept wondering if I should get the iPad Pro instead since just a $50 difference. I replaced my 9.7" iPad Pro due to terrible battery performance (perhaps plugging it in all of the time wasn’t such a good idea). If I knew the iPad Air 4 pricing and storage options and difference in RAM two months earlier I wouldn’t have waited and bought the 11" Pro back then.

I am quite happy with the Air 4. It is the best Touch ID I’ve encountered. Very responsive and the screen will remind me of the button’s location. I used my Pro with a Brydge keyboard most of the time, I have switched to mostly using a keyboard less case. Even when I use the keyboard pressing the Touch ID is no big deal, but Face ID would be nicer.

I’m shortly going to be in the market for one of these machines but I am leaning Air over Pro. I don’t need the extra cameras, I’m fine with the 60 Hz display, and I can get by just fine with Touch ID on the power button. I really won’t be doing “Pro” things on the iPad but I’ll appreciate the extra power in the Air over the standard iPad, plus I’ll be getting the cellular model, so the price difference is $70 for 256 GB vs 128 GB on the Pro, not $50 like on the WiFi models.