APPLE ANNOUNCES UPDATED IPAD AND REDESIGNED IPAD AIR
10 years have passed since the iPad became a fundamental part of our lives; and now, amidst the odd nature of 2020, Apple has recently announced two important things regarding this beloved gadget. First, there is a newly redesigned iPad Air 4, and then we have an updated iPad 8 for the days to come.
Here, we'll have a friendly overview through the things that have raised our brows the most regarding these two very different pieces of tech!
Regarding the Updated iPad
Despite the K-12 graphic design and overall marketing discourse around this accessible iPad ($329.00), it really can perform some serious tasks. So don't let that Apple's strategy fool you.
Let's start with some specs
First thing's first, when choosing your iPad you can pick from either 32GB or 128GB capacities. We highly recommend you to simply go for the 128GB since the true potential of these sort of devices has to do a lot with the apps you install in them beyond the built-in features. This will raise the price from $$329.00 to $429.00, but it is worth it. Regarding the colors, we love Space gray because it seems more durable or at least more discreet when it comes to usage-related stains. Of course, barely no one uses an iPad without a protective something around it.
Size and weight are pretty much the same varying by 5 grams between the solely WiFi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models. The overall layout and interface is the iPad's expected standard, and the screen is a crisp 10.2" Retina Multi-Touch display with LED-backlit and IPS technology. It has a 2160 x 1620 pixels resolution at 264 PPI, 500 nits of brightness and a fantastic oleophobic coating that makes it quite resistant to fingerprints. Although, we still think that having a proper screen protector is always the safest way regarding our beloved tech gadgets. And if you are willing to take some notes, this particular iPad supports 1st generation Apple Pencils.
The most interesting feature about this update is the A12 Bionic chip, which has a 64-bit architecture and a Neural Engine. This is where the true power resides, making it capable of delivering a boosted performance so your beloved apps and games will run in a smooth way. Oh, and you can pair your favorite wireless console controller with bluetooth (as long as it is PS4 or XBox) for an even better gaming experience within the iPad's ecosystem. Related to this, we wouldn't feel comfortable if skipping to note Apple's Arcade; a casual gaming place with no ads nor in-app purchases after one single subscription.
Portable Imagery Studio
It is true that shooting with an iPad isn't the most inconspicuous task to pull-off, so it can also work as your imaging processing portable station. But if you are in the need of shooting with it, you'll still have some mid-term capabilities thanks to the built-in 8MP camera which features Five- element lens with a fixed aperture value of f/2.4. This also comes with an interesting Hybrid IR filter, Backside illumination, Auto focus, HDR, Tap focus and many other imagery related goodies.
If you are willing to shoot some video, the recording quality is alright with 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps, slow motion video support for 720p at 120 fps, Time-lapse and video image stabilization as well as body and face detection. But remember, the true imaging power of the iPad happens after paired-shooting with your iPhone for further processing with the iPad.
Front cameras are now more important than ever! And Apple knows this for sure. The recently updated iPad comes with a FaceTime HD Frontal Camera which has some similar specs to the rear one (expect for the photo rendition which is just 1.2MP), meaning that even their most basic iPad will perform decently when video-calling your loved ones thanks to its 720p HD video recording and backside illumination.
Turning it into a Comfortable Working Environment
No matter the tablet's size, there's no way one could compare the comfort of working with a dedicated laptop or desktop. Therefore, spending too much time with a tablet is a bit tiring when you think about it. Therefore, being able to seamlessly connect a full-sized smart keyboard is quite a joy. Simply attach it and start typing like if you were interacting with a regular laptop or computer.
But Wait, There is More!
The new iPadOS 14 delivers a unique experience that enhances the particular features of the iPad. State of the art note-taking technology makes handwriting as powerful as typed text and as convenient as long-trusted paper formats. The precision in it is amazing, even when it can't connect to the Apple's Pencil (2nd Generation), the shape recognition will make your notes and drawings more precise, and now we can hand write in any text field with Scribble.
Regarding Privacy, this iPad continues to offer transparency and control over our data. A very important thing especially if you are thinking about investing in one for your children. The new iPad has been updated with everyone in mind. And it will deliver 10 hours of battery life, augmented reality capabilities and many other amazing things packed in a thin, light and durable design.
And remember that you can get up to $205.00 toward a new iPad by using Apple's Trade In program. With it, you'll help the planet stay healthier while keeping your data secure and safe.
On the Brand New iPad Air
Now let's talk about the one you came for! The iPad Air 4, which basically allows us to do regular computer-related stuff, but in a more versatile way. Honestly, with apps and intuitive websites, fewer and less people have the actual need of a fixed or dedicated laptop or computer.
It Looks like an iPad Pro
Well, it does look like the iPad Pro with that beautiful and modern design. And it is basically like having a lighter version of the iPad Pro, but at a friendlier price. The new iPad Air comes in five different colors which are Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green and Sky Blue. Our favorite, just like in the case of the iPad 8, is the Space Gray. We simply love dark stuff.
You can either pick from a built-in capacity of 64GB ($599.00) or 256GB ($749.00). If you are planning on a casual usage, we think that the 64GB could be just fine, but take into account that apps updates and iOs upgrades are always going to be chunkier than the previous iteration. Remember that thanks to the Files app, you can access and manage whatever you have stored in your personal iCloud Drive, as well as any other external storage device, or third-party cloud services such as Box or Dropbox.
With a generous size of 9.74 inches (247.6 mm) x 7 inches (178.5 mm) x 0.24 inches (6.1 mm), we think is the sweet spot between being too large or too small. It is perfect and it has a 10.9" screen which we'll discuss further in a bit. The model which runs only with WiFi weighs 1.0 pound (458 grams), and the one which also includes cellular capabilities is just 2 grams heavier.
On the Screen
These folks are famous for always pushing the limits and for delivering unbelievable visual experiences. And with the Liquid Retina display, the iPad Air 4 is no exception to that rule. Beyond the fancy name, this is a 2360 x 1640 pixel resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi) screen, with a wide color arrangement and a true tone display. Using it is quite an experience thanks to the LED-backlit Multi-Touch nature of it and the IPS technology. As the iPad 8, it is fingerprint resistant due to the oleophobic coating, but it also is a Fully laminated display with anti reflective coating guaranteeing just 1.8% of reflectivity. Last but not least, it also comes with 500 nits of brightness and unlike the iPad 8, this one does support the almighty 2nd generation Apple's Pencil.
Apple has gotten rid of the home button, and instead they have incorporated their TouchID technology in the top button for a fast, easy and of course secure authentication. They promise that it will be extremely fast and accurate, and thanks to our overall increase in face mask usages, it seems that this is the best way to go.
Some users rather stick with FaceID, but due to the masks, Apple is still having some problems to overcome this aspect of our contemporary human nature. When first setting it up, it will ask you to roll your finger or thumb through the whole surface. This is just a one time thing; and allows the iPad Air 4 to give you access in a faster way by just placing any part of your finger from there on.
A14 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture and Neural Engine
There is pretty little to say about this beyond the known performance this chip delivers. Although, it is quite a surprise to have the same processor of the iPad Pro on this cheaper version of it. Such a move makes us feel quite intrigued about the next processor that Apple will come with.
In simple words, this chip makes iPad Air faster than most of the average laptops and computers on the market today. Thanks to its 5-nanometer process technology, the chip is capable of packing more transistors in a very small and reduced space. The result, as you might already be guessing, is an increased performance and better experience. But how much? Well, according to Apple we will experience a 40% increment in overall speed when compared to the previous A12 Bionic Chip. Which is still a pretty good one to be honest. But Apple seems to know no limits.
Therefore, your new creative studio will have 40% faster CPU performance, meaning 30% faster graphics and 10x faster machine learning.
On Sitting Down
On screen keyboard in the iPad Air 4 is sleek, but sometimes we need something more physical for heavy writing usages. And thankfully, it can be used with the Magic Keyboard, unveiling all its potential. It truly has the power of a computer, and the portability of an iPad. And it wouldn't be a creative environment without the ease of being able to use the beloved second generation Apple Pencil.
And if you like us are big fans of the universal nature of USB devices, now Apple has given us a treat with this. The built-in USB-C port takes this device to new places and it expands its current frontiers. Connect anything that you want to it, and it will integrate in a smooth way. Immediately, we are thinking about the possibilities regarding tethered photography and video shooting as well as file management by using a USB-C adapter for regular USB drives.
And last but not least, the photography related part. The new iPad Air 4 comes with a limited camera ecosystem when compared to the iPad Pro (which features a wide-angle lens and more imaging power too). But it still offers two pretty decent cameras.
In the back, a 12MP one with Focus Pixel and an f/1.8 fixed aperture five optical elements lens. And in the front, a 7MP FaceTime HD camera (with a fixed aperture of f/2.0) for high quality video calls. Serious photographers won't be thinking about using this piece of gear for taking photographs though, but as a creative tool as the aforementioned tethering usages, or all the creative power the A14 Bionic chip could give to your image development workflow.
Oh, and if you are considering getting the new iPad Air 4, you can get up to $250 toward it when using the Apple Trade In program. Just remember, this is currently aimed for the US only.
Said that, which of them both do you think suits your needs the most? The updated iPad or the new iPad Air 4?