This week Apple announced the iPad Air, the 5th generation of its ultra popular tablet line, calling it the "biggest leap forward in a full sized iPad". But how does it improve over its predecessor : the iPad 4? That's what we're going to find out today by comparing the two on the basis of design, performance, display, camera, battery life, colour and storage & pricing and see if it is worth the upgrade. So let's get started!!
This is where the new iPad stands out from the previous 3 generations. It's the biggest change to the iPad's design since the iPad 2. As the name emphasizes the iPad Air is really thin and really light measuring at 7.5mm and 470 grams as compared to the iPad 4's 9.44mm and 650 grams. That's about 20% thinner and 28% lighter. The bezel surrounding the screen is also thinner, shrinking by 43% and closer in proportion to the bezel on the iPad mini. Apple claims it to be the thinnest full sized tablet in the world.
The iPad Air is powered by a 64 bit Apple A7 SoC first seen on the iPhone 5S as compared to iPad 4's A6X chip. That amounts to twice the CPU performance and 8 times the graphics performance. That is some serious improvement in the performance sector. The iPad 4's A6X was clocked at 1.4 GHz however the clock speed on the Air is still unknown but as seen on the iPhone 5S the A7 blows everything away! Just like the iPhone 5S the A7 here is also accompanied by the M7 motion co-processor. The RAM is still unknown but we're betting on 1 GB as seen on iPad 4.
The iPad Air shares the same 9.7 retina display that we have seen on the iPad 4 with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels. That's 224 pixels per inch which is still pretty good for a tablet of this size.
Both iPad Air and iPad 4 sport a 5mp iSight camera capable of 1080 video and a 1.2mp front facing HD Facetime camera. However iPad Air is supposed to have better backside illumination and better image processing.
Like every previous version of the iPad, the Air provides the same 10 hours of battery life but in a thinner and lighter frame. So no improvements here. But seeing Apple's previous record, we didn't really expect any improvements in battery life.
Both the iPads come in white and black however the front and back on the iPad Air have a slightly different shade hence the name 'white and silver' and 'black and space gray'.
Storage and pricing
Both iPads come in 16 GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB variants. Apple has decided to sell its latest flagship at the same price as the iPad 4 i.e. starting at $499 for the Wi-Fi one and $629 for Wi-Fi + LTE.
Where the new iPad really improves on the last flagship is the design and performance. It is a thinner, lighter and a much more powerful iPad at the same price. Considering the same price the iPad Air is a good update on the iPad 4 and would appeal to those who like to carry along their tablet with them all day.
The iPad Air will be available in 41 countries across the globe on 1 November. However the Indian consumers would have to wait a little longer to get their hands on the ultra thin and ultra light iPad.