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Apple iPad Air 2 rumor round-up: design, specs, price and release date

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Apple iPad Air 2 rumor round-up: design, specs, price and release date

New iPad models are coming before the year's end – that's one thing we're pretty sure about. It is a safe assumption to make given the fact that Apple has been refreshing its tablet lineup at least once a year. What we have zero clue about, however, is what the next generation of iPads will look like and what sort of features they might have to offer. Except that we kind of lied. Rumors about the successor to the Apple iPad Air, which is referred to as the iPad Air 2 at this time, are starting to accumulate, and in this post, we've put together all that has been said so far about the upcoming slate. 

Design


Last year, the iPad Air amazed us with its slim profile, and its weight of just one pound (roughly 469 grams) made it the lightest "full-sized" tablet at the time of its release. But Apple is not going to stop here, it seems. Rumor has it that the iPad Air 2 will be even thinner and lighter. That's not too hard to believe with all the leaked iPad Air 2 dummies stacked up against the current iPad Air model. Exact weight and thickness figures are not yet known, but if Apple wants to dethrone the current leader in the field, the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet, it will have to deliver a slate thinner than 0.25 inches (6.4 mm) and/or lighter than 15.03 ounces (426 grams). 

Judging by the said leaked photos, we can also assume that the iPad Air 2 will have an aluminum-made back, just like every other iPad before it. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. It is great to know that the next-gen iPad will adopt the premium, zero-compromise build quality of its predecessors. 

Still, we are expecting to see a few design tweaks here and there. First of all, it appears the hardware mute switch is going to be dropped, presumably in favor of a software one. On one hand, this should make an iPad Air 2 cheaper to build, and there will be one less thing on it that could possibly break, but on the other hand, folks used to having the said switch are likely not going to be happy about its removal. Also, the grills for the stereo speakers at the tablet's bottom are to be given a cosmetic redesign, and the hardware volume buttons are to be made flush with the tablet's side.

One more thing we have to mention is that the iPad Air 2 is expected to get Touch ID – a fingerprint scanner built into its home button. The feature, which made its debut on the iPhone 5s, is used to replace the user's lock screen PIN and to authorize purchases from the App Store. But with iOS 8, which is definitely going to run on the next iPad, Apple is extending Touch ID's functionality further by allowing third-party apps to access it. This would allow fingerprint-based authorization to be implemented into apps as an alternative to the now-standard username and password. 

Display


This is said to be the screen for the Apple iPad Air 2

This is said to be the screen for the Apple iPad Air 2

We have no reasons to believe that Apple would alter the size and proportions of its tablet's display. In other words, we're expecting to see a 9.7-inch LCD display with a 4:3 aspect ratio on the front of the iPad Air 2. As for its resolution, we have no idea whether we'll see a boost or not, and the rumor mill is mum on the matter. Therefore, chances are that the iPad's pixel count will remain at 1536 by 2048, for a pixel density of 264 ppi. 

With the rumors around the iPhone 6 and its sapphire display, one might assume that the iPad Air 2 would have its screen treated to the same scratch-resistant material. However, no rumors or leaks indicate that Apple is considering a sapphire glass screen for its tablets. That's why we're assuming that the next iPad will have its display protected by a scratch-resistant glass piece identical to the one on the current model. 

Hardware specs


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict that the iPad Air 2 will bring some serious upgrades under the hood, all the while retaining its great power efficiency. Most importantly, the tablet will be powered by an Apple-designed, 20nm A8 system-on-a-chip, or at least that's what the rumors claim. The silicon is expected to be of the 64-bit variety, just like the A7 found inside the iPhone 5s and iPad Air. What's more likely to raise an eyebrow, however, is that the CPU on the SoC might reach speeds of up to 2.6GHz. We've also heard rumors of a 2.0GHz top clock speed for the A8. Which is the more likely figure of the two? Well, one guess is that the A8 in the iPhone 6 will max out at 2.0GHz, while the Air 2 could offer the higher clock frequency. On a related note, the A7 has its limit set to 1.3GHz for the iPhone 5s and 1.4GHz for the iPad Air. As for the iPad Air 2 and its storage capacity, we're expecting to have four options to pick from – 16, 32, 64, and 128 gigabytes. Storage expansion via any kind of memory card will be, as always, out of the question.

Software


So as we already mentioned above, the iPad Air 2 should ship with iOS 8 out of the box. The update brings a ton of improvements and new features, such as the upgraded Spotlight Search, more functional notifications, on-screen keyboard with word predictions, support for third-party widgets and keyboards, a superior messaging experience, and a whole lot more. Feel free to read our iOS 8 preview and our list of new features in Apple's mobile operating system

In addition to all this, the iPad Air 2 is expected to get a split-screen feature. This would give users the option to run multiple apps simultaneously, side by side. How do we know? Well, even though Apple has not confirmed the existence of split-screen functionality in iOS 8, bits of code found in the system's beta version suggest that such a feature is indeed being developed. In fact, we have already seen a video demonstration of what it may look like.


Price and release date


Apple has always priced its 9.7-inch iPad models at $500 for the base model, with 16 gigabytes of storage and Wi-Fi-only internet connectivity. We doubt that the iPad Air 2 would be an exception, so if you want one, you'll have to set at least half a grand aside. The 32-, 64-, and 128-gigabyte Wi-Fi-only models are most likely going to be priced at $600, $700, and $800 respectively. If you want cellular connectivity as well, that would probably cost you an extra $130. Our guess is that the iPad Air 2 will be announced this fall, probably in October, just like the case was with the iPad Air and the 4-th generation iPad. Then really soon after that, the new iPad model should be released in the U.S., so we're likely looking at a launch date during the first week of November.


18 Comments
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posted on 24 Jul 2014, 07:16 1

1. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3312; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Any Windows machine crushes this piece of something something dark side.

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 07:22

2. bucky (Posts: 1574; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


You have to take an iPad for what it is. Light work and all media consumption. I'm shopping around for a good price for a surface pro 2 right now.

However, if you're consuming media nothing beats the battery of a tablet.

posted on 25 Jul 2014, 02:21

17. techperson211 (Posts: 710; Member since: 27 Feb 2014)


Boring.... An oversized iPod touch again with no functionality to take advantage. Oh wait taking pictures and video while in a concert. Stupidity at its best.

posted on 27 Jul 2014, 08:23

18. Onlinector (Posts: 12; Member since: 10 Jun 2014)


And you call yourself a tech person?oh,dude im crying for your stupidity,If the ipads make you mad,Why did you even clicked on this link?an oversized ipod touch?Really?lolz..

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 07:48 2

3. droidbricker (Posts: 2; Member since: 17 Sep 2012)


You are correct! I underestimated you MS shills! Microsoft products are massive bricks that would definitely crush a beautifully designed device like the iPad Air if they ever collided.
To learn more about what happens when two objects with different masses collide, Google, errrr Bing (lol) "Conservation of Momentum".

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 09:06 1

4. Iodine (Posts: 509; Member since: 19 Jun 2014)


Well if the information about the new A8 SoC is correct, it could get dangerously close to the ultra book level of performance. Maybe not a dealbreaker, but another advantage of PC will be destroyed.

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 09:29

5. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3312; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


iOS won't be able to take advantage of that power.

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 09:48 1

9. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 850; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Yes it will, and it will have a ton of content tailored to take advantage of it, from incredible entertainment to enterprise apps, games built specifically to squeeze every bit of that A8 power out and look stunning on the Retina display, it's rather amazing to use an iPad as everything is beautifully tailored for it, this must make you very mad I guess, hence why you're here.

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 09:52

10. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3312; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Yes I'm mad because I can't understand what's so amazing about tablets. I have used them a lot and every time I touch one I get reminded how comfortable and fast PC's are to use.

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 10:08

11. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 850; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Then you are not using the tablet for what it's meant for. You seem to be expecting the tablet to be the same as a PC. The 1st thing one must realize is that a tablet is not a PC replacement, not even a fully fledged laptop replacement, an iPad/tablet is a go between, between a smartphone and a laptop.

Tablets have the compactness and simplicity of a smartphone yet they offer a much larger display, incredible battery life (I'd say the best battery life of any gadget used heavily), and power to do more.

Tablets are great for content consumption, online shopping, document editting and light document creation, online banking etc... I know many people who carried laptops who have stopped as they didn't require ALL that power all the time, they now leave the laptop at home, use it for when it's really needed and then use the tablet for most other stuff.

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 10:50

12. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3312; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


"Compactness of a smartphone"? The simplicity yes, but you'll need a bag to carry a tablet. Can't fit in your pocket. Tablets are useless devices with full of compromises.

All those things you mentioned are a lot better to do on a PC because of the seamless multitasking, keyboard, mouse and literally instant speed.

Why would I carry two devices that do the same thing with me? Smartphone and a tablet I mean. Tablets don't really have the power to do more. They have the same internals which are used in smartphones and run the same OS just blown up.

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 11:05

13. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 850; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


You're not understanding what I'm saying. When I talk bout compactness I'm talking about a tablet being lighter, slimmer and generally more convenient to carry than a laptop.

Tablets use the same internals as smartphones yes, but more than often the internals run at higher clocks and have higher thermal limitations and their batteries are much larger, this is one of the best parts. I know when I'm traveling I enjoy reading books and papers, browsing etc... Doing this on a smartphone is possible but it's better on a tablet and at the same time I don't have to be carrying a large laptop, on top of that I save my phones battery, as the tablet can run a good 12hours of usage with no problem.

Tablets do have the power to do more, the larger screen, the larger battery, it gives them greater endurance. They are the best for content consumption, if you are happy with your smartphone and PC then I'm happy for you, to YOU the tablet is useless, but to many of us they are useful, especially when travels a lot and isn't at one place all the time, it's taken away the burden of lugging a laptop and having to boot up windows every time I just want to read the newspaper, make a bank transaction while I'm on a call and so on.

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 12:15

15. pulkit1 (Posts: 344; Member since: 03 Jul 2014)


there are almost 7 billion people in this world , each with different likes and wants . How the hell can you speak for all of us . If it does not work for you that does not meant its a useless product .

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 12:13

14. pulkit1 (Posts: 344; Member since: 03 Jul 2014)


Well it can if you have proper apps apart from coding iOS has all the apps that you need , the only problem is small display is not suited for video editing .

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 09:45

8. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 850; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Lol, that's why the PC industry is seeing a massive drop in profits and a shrinking in their industry.

You can blabber on and on on how much more your Windows machine does, in the end the iPad is a brilliant piece of tech for what it does, it does it very well and in an extremely efficient manner, if you can point me to a battery powered Windows machine that is as compact as an iPad, has as many optimized apps as an iPad, can last as long as an iPad on one charge with heavy usage I'll be impressed.

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 09:33

6. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 850; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Awesome, looking forward to this, I've had my iPad 4 WiFi + LTE for nearly two years now, it has served me well, still looks new and the battery life is still so ridiculously long, going to be hard to leave it for something newer but I want to get a iPad Air 2 WiFi + LTE 64GB or 128GB (if it's the right price), to replace my iPad 4, I hope the Air 2 has at least 2GB RAM and multiwindow multitasking.

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 12:17 1

16. pulkit1 (Posts: 344; Member since: 03 Jul 2014)


Agreed man , i have had my iPad 2 for more than 2 years and still i use it everyday . i will upgrade this year .

posted on 24 Jul 2014, 09:42

7. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 850; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


...........delete

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