Apple today announced its 2020 refresh of the iPad Air with some major design and internal upgrades. As rightly pointed out in leaks, the iPad Air 4 comes with a design language that’s very similar to the first-generation iPad Pro. This means it has slimmer bezels surrounding its display which has allowed Apple to bump the display size to 10.9-inches from 10.5-inches found on the existing iPad Air.
New Design and Colors
As a part of the design refresh, Apple has also done away with the Lightning connector and switched to USB-C on the new iPad Air. Interestingly, the new iPad Air features a Touch ID scanner that’s integrated into the power button which is now located at the top edge. This is the first time that Apple has used such a solution as the iPad Pro lineup makes use of Face ID. The new Touch ID experience should be better than before thanks to a faster Secure Enclave processor as well.
As a part of the updated design, the iPad Air now features “two speaker audio” setup in landscape orientation. Apple will also offer the iPad Air in five different finishes including space gray, silver, rose gold, green, and sky blue. There’s a Smart Connector on the tablet as well which means it is compatible with Apple’s Magic Keyboard with trackpad.
The new iPad Air comes with a 10.9-inch fully laminated Liquid Retina display with all key features like True Tone, anti-reflective coating, and P3 color gamut support. The new iPad also supports Apple Pencil which can also be magnetically attached to the tablet as well.
A14 Bionic Chip
Surprisingly, Apple is using its 5nm A14 Bionic chip inside the new iPad Air. The company has been using its iPhone lineup to debut new A-series chips but this is the first time in nine years that it is not doing so. The A14 Bionic chip is a powerhouse that’s based on the 5nm fabrication process and packs 11.8 billion transistors. It comprises of a 6-core CPU that’s up to 40% faster than the previous iPad Air and a new 4-core GPU that offers a 30% increase in GPU performance. The new 16-core Neural engine is also faster and can process 11 trillion operations per second. There are also second-generation Machine Learning accelerators that make ML computations 10x times faster which should make apps that rely on CoreML notably faster.
At the rear, the new iPad Air has a 12MP f/1.8 shooter that offers better stabilization and dynamic range. This is the same camera that Apple is using on the 2020 iPad Pro announced earlier this year. At the front, there’s a 7MP shooter offering Smart HDR and better low-light performance.
Price and Availability
The new iPad Air is available for $599 making it slightly more expensive than the outgoing model. The Wi-Fi + Cellular model starts at $729. The tablet will be available in 64GB and 256GB storage options. However, for the upgrades that it brings to the table, the price bump does make sense. The new iPad Air will go up for sale next month.