Apple has unveiled a fourth-generation iPad Air with design cues taken from the iPad Pro.It includes thin bezels, a USB-C port and Magic Keyboard support for $599.There’s also an updated entry 10.2-inch iPad with an A12 chip for $329.
Apple is stepping up competition in mobile tablets by bringing some of the iPad Pro’s features to lower-cost models. The company has unveiled a fourth-generation iPad Air for 2020 that borrows the Pro’s thin-bezel industrial design and key features while lowering the price.
The Air’s 10.9-inch display doesn’t offer the 120Hz ProMotion of the Pro, but it still offers TrueTone and other higher-end features. It also finds a way to eliminate the thick bezels of the previous Air without using FaceID — instead, there’s a fingerprint reader built into the power button. It also comes in five colors.
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The USB-C port from the Pro also makes its way to the Air with support for 4K monitors. You’ll see the same 7MP front camera and stereo speakers, but there’s just one 12MP rear camera. Magic Keyboard and second-generation Apple Pencil support are present to turn your iPad into more of a productivity tool.
Apple notes that the new iPad Air is its first device to ship with an A14 processor. The six-core design one of the first 5-nanometer chips on the market, and promises up to 40% faster performance compared to the previous generation, and up to twice the graphics performance. You can also expect an improved neural engine with machine learning acceleration.
The new iPad Air comes with iPadOS 14, which adds Pencil features like handwriting-to-text conversion and smart selection.
Apple will start the iPad Air with a $599 price and make it available in October.
If you prefer a lower-cost alternative, Apple has also launched an 8th-generation standard iPad (pictured above) that uses the familiar 10.2-inch screen and Lightning connector, but leaps to a much faster A12 chip versus the A10 in the 7th-generation model. It still supports the first-generation Apple Pencil and keyboard accessories.
The new base Apple iPad starts at the same $329 price ($299 for schools) and will be available September 18.
Apple isn’t shy about boasting about its tablets’ performance compared to the competition. It maintains that the entry-level iPad is up to three times faster than the “top-selling” Android tablet, six times faster than the best-selling Chromebook, and two times faster than the most popular Windows laptop.
The actual advantages will likely vary, and we’d expect higher-end rivals to be more competitive. Even so, Apple’s stance is quite clear: it believes it’s offering not just the most powerful tablets on the market, but some of the most powerful mobile computing hardware you can find.