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New iPad Air goes official with latest A12 chip, slim and light look, but no Face ID

New iPad Air goes official with latest A12 chip, slim and light look, but no Face ID
Apple has just quietly unveiled two brand new iPads: the long-awaited refresh to the iPad mini and the new iPad Air, which borrows many of the great features from the iPad Pro, including a similar, 10.5-inch screen with True Tone, a thin and lightweight design, and top-tier performance with the latest Apple A12 chip at a much more affordable, $500 price. And nope, there is no USB-C port on these two new iPads.

So to put all the models in context, we now have the following iPads on offer:

  • iPad (2018): prices from $330
  • NEW! iPad Mini (2019): prices from $400
  • NEW! iPad Air (2019): prices from $500
  • iPad Pro (2018) 11": prices from $800
  • iPad Pro (2018) 12.9": prices from $1,000

And in case you were wondering, neither of these two new iPads has Face ID, the secure identification system that Apple uses on its latest iPhones and iPad Pros. Instead, the new iPads use the familiar Touch ID fingerprint recognition.

Both new tablets also support the Apple Pencil, but with a catch: they support the first-gen Pencil, and not the modern second-gen Pencil, so the coolest new features of the stylus like magnetic snapping to the tablet, wireless charging, and tapping the pencil to activate special features are not available. That's a strange decision on Apple's part, but we guess it's another way to differentiate the much pricier Pro models. The new iPad Air also supports the Smart Keyboard for faster typing (the mini model does not support the Apple-made keyboard).


The new iPad Air comes with the slogan that "power isn't just for the pros", likely a reference to its more bearable price compared to a Pro version, and here are its main highlights:

  • Apple A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • 10.5-inch LCD Retina Display with True Tone and wide colors
  • Support for Apple Pencil (1st gen) and Smart Keyboard
  • 1-pound weight and slim, 6.1mm body
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Space gray, silver and gold color options


New iPad Air (2019) vs iPad Pro vs iPad


With so many different iPad models, you might be getting lost. We know that we are! So, let's clear things up and see how this new iPad Air is different from the iPad Pro. And what about the differences compared to the cheap, $330 iPad?

Here is a short summary.

Compared to the iPad Pro, the new iPad Air (2019) LACKS the following features:

  • ProMotion (120Hz refresh rate) 
  • Quad Speakers
  • Face ID
  • Air has A12 chip, while Pro has the more powerful A12X  


And compared to the affordable, $330 iPad, the new iPad Air (2019) has the following advantages:

  • Bigger screen with True Tone, smaller bezels, lighter and thinner design
  • More powerful A12 chip vs A10 chip on the $330 iPad
  • Compatible with Smart Keyboard ($330 iPad is not)

There are other tiny differences that you probably would not care too much about: the new iPad Air seems to have a slightly less capable camera, an 8-megapixel f/2.4 main shooter, compared to a 12MP f/1.8 camera on the iPad Pros. The number, however, might not be the biggest difference, as the hallmark Smart HDR feature of the latest iPhones and the iPad Pros is not available on this here new iPad Air. It can also only record 1080p Full HD videos, while the iPad Pros can capture footage at 4K resolutions, and you are also missing the Quad LED flash that you have on the Pro models.

And then the front camera seems to be the same, but on the Air you do not have support for Portrait Mode for selfies, nor Portrait Lighting, nor Animoji. 

There also does not seem to be much of a change in terms of battery life, and Apple says the new iPad Air will last you for up to 10 hours of screen time, pretty much as long as any iPad ever.

Prices and Availability



The new iPad Air is available in two storage options: 64GB and 256GB, and as always with Apple product you do not have the option to expand that storage. You will see the detailed prices for all available models below, but it's easy to remember that the base iPad Air now costs $500, while the extra charge for the 256 gig model is $150 on top of that.

You will also have a model with cellular connectivity. It will work via eSim and will support Gigabit-class LTE speeds of up to 866Mbps. 

You should also know that the iPad Air (2019) is a dual SIM device that has both a nano SIM card slot plus support for eSIM, much like Apple's latest iPhones.

And ere is how prices for the new iPad Air break down:

  • $499 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model
  • $649 for the 256GB Wi-Fi model
  • $629 for the 64GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model
  • $779 for the 256GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model


Again, it also supports Apple Pencil (1st gen) and the Apple Smart Keyboard, but those are not included in the box and you need to buy them separately. Apple charges $100 for the Apple Pencil and $160 for the Smart Keyboard.

The release date for both new iPads including this here iPad Air is set for today, March 18th for the United States, Canada, the UK and most Western European countries, so you can get order one right away. China, Mexico and many countries in the rest of the world will be able to buy one starting exactly a week from now.

Related phones

iPad Air (2019)
  • Display 10.5 inches
    2224 x 1668 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A12 Bionic
    3GB RAM
  • Storage 256GB,
  • Battery 8134 mAh
  • OS iPadOS 13.x

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