Just yesterday, Apple introduced the upgraded and renamed version of its flagship 10-inch tablet. This time last year, the top tablet model received only a minor increase in performance. However, this year's version receives a significant design change along with a few other enhancements that should carry it through until next year's announcement.
In the weeks before Tuesday's announcement, the Apple rumor mill was buzzing with rumors that the new full-sized iPad would receive a full redesign. As we learned today, those rumors were true and then some. The new iPad Air is the first real redesign to the 10-inch iPad tablet since the iPad 3 included a Retina display.
The iPad Air is 20 percent thinner than its 9.5mm predecessor, coming in at a svelte 7.5mm thick. This is partly due to the flat-backed design that is a mirror of the iPad Mini. The weight is also significantly less than the last iPad model, weighing in at only one pound. Apple reports that this new weight makes the iPad Air the lightest full-sized tablet in the world.
Apple has copied the hearty internals of its new iPhone 5s by including the same A7 system chip. The new chips reportedly increase the iPad Air's computational and graphical performance by almost 100 percent. The new system chip also introduces support for 64-bit architecture, which allows Apple to future proof its devices going forward. These changes are also expected to increase overall battery life significantly.
The A7 system chip also includes the M7 Motion Coprocessor, which deals primarily with the tablet's accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass, freeing up the A7 chip to work on primary OS activities. This feature seems to be more of a bonus feature of upgrading to the A7, more than a feature, because how many people go for a run with their tablets?
Other new features on the iPad Air include an increased Wi-Fi performance and dual built-in microphones aimed at increasing audio quality.
Apple is yet to place a premium on the camera quality of the iPad when compared to the iPhone, and this year is no different. The iPad Air's camera resolution stays at a measly 5 megapixels. However, the FaceTime camera received a significant upgrade to a FullHD 1920 x 1080 resolution.
At this time, real numbers on the battery life of the iPad Air are pure speculation and word of mouth from Apple. According to the information provided, the new iPad Air will still get 10 hours of battery life, which is the same as the larger previous version. Keep in mind that the decrease the iPad Air's width also includes a decrease in physical battery size, so these figures could fluctuate.
The new Apple iPad Air will be made available in stores on November 1 with no word on pre-orders. The base model iPad Air 16GB Wi-Fi tablet has a listed price of $499 and subsequent models will increase in price to upwards of $930 for the iPad Air 128GB LTE tablet.