Apple iPad Air is now official with lighter and slimmer design, upgraded hardware

Apple iPad Air is now official with lighter and slimmer design, upgraded hardware
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.

Apple iPad Air is now official with lighter and slimmer design, upgraded hardware

The mandatory specs bump


Apple has chosen the Apple A7 chip for the iPad Air

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.

Apple iPad Air is now official with lighter and slimmer design, upgraded hardware

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.

Price and release date


We talked a lot about tradition, and Apple's adherence to it, so it should come as no surprise that the new iPad Air will carry a premium price tag as always. The tablet starts at $499 for a base model with Wi-Fi connectivity and 16GB of storage. 32-, 64-, and 128-gigabyte variants are priced at $599, $699, and $799 respectively. Naturally, a 4G LTE iPad Air model is to be released alongside its Wi-Fi-only counterpart, starting at $629. Expect the iPad Air to hit the shelves both online and in Apple's retail outlets on November 1 – just in time for the holiday shopping spree.

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59 Comments

1. Ninetysix

Posts: 2933; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

Where's the gold color version? The best just became better.

7. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

true but really that sounded so fanboyish!!

2. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

And nary a fingerprint-scanner to be found... They weren't kidding about those supply issues.

21. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Apple does it on purpose. IPad mino didn't have retina so a later one can have retina forcing users to pay $ for it.

53. Finalflash

Posts: 4062; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Who cares, they pulled an iPhone 5 again. Shafted iPad is now the lower end iPad, either pay them the money or be shafted LOL.

3. akbarkool

Posts: 42; Member since: Nov 06, 2012

Lumia 2520

4. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

lol good one!!

5. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

No, this is the iPad Air article. I think you're looking for the Lumia 2520 article. Sorry, PhoneArena CAN be a little confusing sometimes.

11. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Go away you troll.

6. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

Is this the iPad 5 or is it separate?? Anyway it now is definately iPad for full sized tablet but android still runs phone and 7 inch tablets. Well done apple you have actually surprised us!!

9. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

iPad 5 = iPad Air

45. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Ya. It looks like they are going with the Google Nexus naming. (Or you could say like the Apple computer naming) Device family, year released. Makes it confusing but I agree with the move.

18. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Biggest surprise is that the new Mini is identical to the Air spec-wise (except screen-size, of course) for $100 less.

20. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I know! I might pick one up for my father on Black Friday.

24. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Who do you think you are? Darkjedii?!

31. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Are you stupid?

28. itreday

Posts: 68; Member since: May 24, 2012

Also add the fact that the mini has a better screen as far as pixel density. It makes it a better product all around.

8. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Not going to lie, it's beautiful. iPad Mini 2 has a Retina resolution. o:

46. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

At $399. That's insane. Anyone who buys that is a serious sucker. Also, talk about fragmentation. Add yet another screen size to the Apple portfolio.

49. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

Not insane... it's one of the thinnest 7' tablets out there with a massive resolution. Talk about fragmentation -- Latest OS in over 70% of its products including updated apps.

10. ijklmnop

Posts: 18; Member since: Oct 10, 2013

Lumia 2050 FTW

12. ijklmnop

Posts: 18; Member since: Oct 10, 2013

*2520 :p

22. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

You corrected yourself a minute later, meaning you could've just as easily edited your original comment, and we'd be none-the-wiser to your original mistake.

13. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Reported for trolling.

50. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

Lol...

14. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Another over size ipod touch. And half of a regular consumer still won't know the difference.

19. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

Lol, this 'Oversized iPod touch" is still the best tablet...that is coming from the guy who adores android but has to admit the only other tablet that comes close os the Nexus 10!

58. solomonsteve

Posts: 79; Member since: Dec 19, 2012

Its not the best tablet to me. Its just an over-sized ipod touch ,thats all. Surface Pro 2 is far better

23. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

You didn't see the keynote I suppose. iPad Air is fu----g beautiful.

29. greathero1

Posts: 584; Member since: Jun 13, 2008

Why must you repeat the same lame comments over and over again? You've been here 2 1/2 years and you would think at some point you would get tired of saying the same stuff over and over again. I mean, really?

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