The new iPad gets a new name. Referencing the newly slimmed profile and light weight, they’ve taken a cue from their MacBook line and called the new full-sized iPad the iPad Air. The Air has a 43% smaller bezel and is 20% thinner than the 4th generation iPad, and weighs just one pound. Of course it also has a 2048×1536 Retina display. They’ve packed in the A7 processor chip from the iPhone 5S, and supplied it with MIMO WiFi technology and expanded LTE support.
iPad photographers (yes, people do that; may as well get used to it, it’s not going away) will be pleased to learn that Apple has significantly upgraded the cameras in the iPad Air. It has two; a 5MP iSight camera on the back that can shoot 1080p HD video, and a HD FaceTime front-facing camera. It’s a fair bit better than the cameras in previous iterations of the iPad line, though it still pales in comparison to the cameras in the iPhone 5 line. Speaking of FaceTime, the iPad Air has dual microphones for improved audio quality as well. Naturally, Apple has worked hard to retain the 10 hour battery life you’d expect.
There is NO Touch ID in the iPad Air, which is a disappointment to some.
There is a new iPad Mini, and it lives up to the name more than the previous version did; it is literally the iPad Air shrunk further into a smaller form factor. All of the specifications and capabilities are identical except for size. And yes, this means the Mini finally has a retina display.
They were a little spare on the sizing details of the Mini compared to the Air, and that’s because they weren’t able to slim down the new Mini over the old. The size is more or less identical to the original Mini, except that it’s actually a little bit thicker and heavier than the original was. Considering the power packed into the small size, I doubt there will be many complaints, but it’s no surprise that they didn’t want to dwell on it during the keynote.
Pricing and Availability
The new iPad line will be available starting November 1st. The iPad 2 remains a part of the iPad lineup, making it the only remaining iPad available at retail that still features the old 30-pin connector.
The iPad Air is available in black or white, with silver or space grey finish, starting at $499 for 16gb WiFi.
The new iPad Mini is also available in black or white, silver or space grey finish, starting at $399 later in November for 16gb WiFi.
The last-generation iPad Mini has dropped to $299.