Today Apple unveiled its fifth generation full-size iPad, though it doesn’t go by the iPad 5 name as we had thought. Being lighter and much thinner than the iPad 4 before it, Apple decided to give it the name ‘iPad Air’.
As is Apple tradition, the new iPad Air costs exactly the same as every iPad before it, though there are of course differences and improvements which make it a more worthy purchase over previous models. If you’re debating iPad 4 or iPad Air after seeing today’s announcement, here are the key differences between the two.
Size and shape
iPad Air: 240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm, 469g
iPad 4: 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4 mm, 652g
This is precisely where the iPad Air gets its name. It’s 28% lighter and 20% thinner than the iPad 4, weighing in at half a kilo which makes it the lightest full-size tablet (according to Apple). The weight difference is quite impressive and thanks to the adoption of the iPad Mini’s curved design it’s also a much thinner tablet. Like the Mini, there are now dual speakers either side of the Lightning port on the bottom edge.
iPad Air: 64-bit Apple A7
iPad 4: 32-bit Apple A6X
The new iPad Air has Apple’s latest 64 bit A7 chip, the very same as the one in the iPhone 5S. The 64-bit architecture means double the CPU power, double the graphics performance and still 10 hours of battery life from a single charge.
iPad Air: Space Gray, Silver
iPad 4: Black, White
Rumours of a gold iPad were unfortunately unfounded, though Apple has switched up the colour of the casing itself to include the new Space Gray colour that came along with the iPhone 5S. In the past the iPad has always been silver with a choice of a black or white front, but now there’s a choice of two case colours to boot.
Accessories are perhaps Apple’s strongest suit, with thousands of third party manufacturers always jumping aboard the bandwagon with every new product release to provide new add-ons. This year Apple has tweaked the Smart Cover and Case Cover to suit the new design and there are undoubtedly more alternatives on the way from other manufacturers.
Much the same elsewhere
In terms of connectivity, cameras and storage, the iPad Air is much the same as the iPad 4 which came before it. You get the same 16, 32, 64 and 128GB options with Wi-Fi and 4G variants of each. The same duo of 5 and 1.2 megapixel cameras are present and are largely untouched, save for an improvement in low light shooting on the front camera.
Pre-orders for the iPad Air are now open online starting from £399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, with orders shipping and arriving in Apple stores from November 1st.