Apple today unveiled a new iPad Air that looks very similar to the company's iPad Pro. It's a significant design change from the current Air, which was brought back to life last year to sit between the iPad and iPad Pro. Last year's Air has thick top and bottom bezels and a button for Touch ID, but this new iPad Air has much thinner bezels around the display.
Apple's new iPad Air looks like a refresh to the iPad Pro design and will be available next month priced at $ 599.
For this new iPad Air, Apple is using a larger 10.9-inch 2360 x 1640 liquid retina display that is fully laminated with True Tone support and anti-reflective coating. To push this display in, Apple moved the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to the power button on top. This makes it the first iPad with biometric data in the power switch.
In the new iPad Air, Apple is making some big changes to the chips that power this tablet. It's powered by Apple's A14 Bionic, a 5nm chip with a six-core CPU (two high, four low) and 11.8 billion transistors. Apple promises a performance improvement of 40 percent compared to the last iPad Air and improved graphics support thanks to a new quad-core GPU.
Apple says it's the "most advanced chip" it has ever made, and it even includes special machine learning accelerators that apps can use. Apple unveiled a variety of apps at its press event today and promised that app developers can leverage the power of this new chip for their apps.
New Touch ID on the power switch.
Apple is also switching to USB-C on the iPad Air, similar to the iPad Pro, and supports charging at 20W and data transfer at 5Gbps. Wi-Fi 6 is also included, and optional LTE models will be available. Apple promises 60 percent faster LTE connectivity.
On the camera side, Apple is even borrowing the 12-megapixel rear-view camera from the iPad Pro and upgrading it with improved video stabilization in the air. A front-facing 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera is included. It has intelligent HDR and supports 1080p 60fps video recording.
This new iPad Air supports Apple's Magic Keyboard.
This latest iPad Air also supports the $ 129 (new) Apple Pencil that attaches magnetically to the tablet. Apple's $ 299 Magic Keyboard accessory also plugs into this iPad Air, making it even more similar to Apple's iPad Pro. The new iPad Air will also support Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio for $ 179 and new Smart Folio covers for $ 79.
Apple has significantly updated the iPad Air to bring most of the iPad Pro features at a cheaper price. The iPad Air still lacks the refreshing 120 Hz display of the iPad Pro, Face ID support and the new lidar camera. If these are all things you can do without, then the iPad Air looks like a solid alternative.
According to Apple, the new iPad Air will be available in five colors next month: silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue, priced at $ 599.