Apple has given the iPad Air, the company’s most popular tablet, a complete refresh. The Cupertino tech giant took the wraps off the fourth-generation Air today during an online event which showcased the completely redesigned device and all the features associated with it.
The new iPad Air marks the first time an iPad outside of the Pro line has received smaller bezels. The Air now ships with a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display which just means smaller bezels and curved corners are in tow. With the iPad Pro, Apple stuck a bunch of sensors in the top bezel to power Face ID. Because the Air is a cheaper tablet, however, the company opted to simply reengineer Touch ID to fit in the power button at the top of the device.
Touching a bit more on the display, the new Air has a resolution of 2360×1640, True Tone, and proper lamination so it doesn’t feel like there’s a gap between your finger and the pixels. It definitely looks like an iPad Pro on the outside (especially since it also has flat sides and a raised camera bump) so if you’ve been looking to get the Pro look for less, the Air may be what you’ve been waiting for.
Under the hood, Apple is debuting its new A14 Bionic processor. According to the company, it’s packed with 11.8 billion transistors for improved performance and efficiency. It uses a six-core CPU for a 40 percent boost in speed and a quad-core architecture for the graphics which leads to a 30 percent improvement gen-over-gen. The chip is coupled to a new 16-core Neural Engine which is twice as fast as before. Overall, the A14 looks to be a beast of a processor, as is ever Apple A series chip.
The new iPad Air also comes with a USB-C connector. It’s the first iPad to ship with such a connector since the iPad Pro switched to it over Lightning in 2018. You also get Wi-Fi 6, 60 percent faster LTE, a 12MP rear camera, a 7MP FaceTime HD camera, and stereo speakers which likely sound incredible if the Pro line is anything to go by.
Of course, the new iPad Air also comes with iPadOS 14 which Apple touted heavily onstage during its keynote. The new software update includes plenty of upgrades for Apple Pencil (side note: the second-gen Pencil with its magnetic side is compatible with the new Air), new widgets for the home screen, tweaks to how apps are laid out, a new universal search field, and various UI changes. Obviously, you won’t have to buy the iPad Air to get the update – Apple is releasing it to everyone tomorrow.
“Today we’re excited to introduce a completely redesigned and far more powerful iPad Air, debuting Apple’s most powerful chip ever made, the A14 Bionic,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With its gorgeous new all-screen design, larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, next-generation Touch ID, and a massive boost in performance with A14 Bionic, the new iPad Air brings customers powerful pro features at an even more affordable price. Along with major upgrades to the iPad Pro and eighth-generation iPad this year, and the powerful new features of iPadOS 14, this is our strongest iPad lineup ever, giving our customers even more ways to enrich their daily lives.”
The fourth-gen iPad Air will go on sale this October for $599. That gets you 64GB of storage. For 256GB, it’s $749. Cellular models will obviously cost even more. It’ll ship in five different colors: Space Gray, Sky Blue, Silver, Rose Gold, and Green.