Apple today announced iPad Air, the latest generation of its iPad line. The iPad Air is significantly thinner and lighter than its predecessors, while offering faster performance, faster networking and more free apps.
In addition to the iPad Air, Apple introduced a new iPad mini with Retina display and the same performance improvements.
The iPad updates are, arguably, incremental. But for mobile musicians, the series of incremental updates to the iPad over the last few years are starting to deliver a paradigm shift. GarageBand, for example, is free with the new devices and can handle up to 32 tracks.
Is that desktop power? No – but it’s still pretty impressive for a device that weighs a pound and can run wirelessly for 10 hours.
Here are the details:
iPad Air & New iPad Mini
The A7 chip in iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display offers 64-bit desktop-class architecture, advanced graphics and improved image signal processing from previous generations. With up to twice the CPU and graphics performance on iPad Air, and up to four times the CPU and eight times the graphics performance on iPad mini with Retina display, almost everything you do is faster than ever.
The A7 chip’s 64-bit architecture and support for OpenGL ES version 3.0 unlocks game console-like visual effects. The new iPads also feature the M7 motion coprocessor that gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass to offload work from the A7 for improved power efficiency.
Both new iPads feature two antennas to support Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology, bringing twice the Wi-Fi performance to iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display at up to 300 Mbps.
Cellular models also come with expanded LTE coverage to accommodate even more LTE networks worldwide, while continuing to deliver comprehensive support for other fast cellular technology around the world (DC-HSDPA, HSPA+).
iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display now have a ‘next generation’ FaceTime HD camera with improved backside illumination sensors, featuring larger pixels for better low-light performance. The iSight camera with 5MP sensor and advanced optics, combined with iOS 7 and the image signal processing of A7, further improves still image and video capture on iPad bringing faster auto-focus, up to three times video zoom, five times still zoom, better dynamic range and automatic image and video stabilization.
The iLife suite of creative apps, including iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand, and the iWork suite of productivity apps, including Pages, Numbers and Keynote are now free with every new iOS device running iOS 7, and are also available as free updates for existing users. All apps have been redesigned to match the look and feel of iOS 7, have been optimized to support 64-bit technology and include hundreds of new features.
iPad Air is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth generation iPad, and with a 43 percent narrower bezel the borders of iPad Air are dramatically thinner. iPad Air’s Retina display makes web pages, text, images and video look sharp, and the new power-efficient A7 chip allows the battery to be even smaller, helping reduce the overall volume by 24 percent from the previous generation while doubling its performance and maintaining its up to 10-hour battery life.
The new iPad mini with Retina display packs all the 3.1 million pixels (2048-by-1536 resolution) of iPad Air into its 7.9-inch Multi-Touch display, for a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.
Pricing & Availability
- iPad Air with Wi-Fi models will be available in silver or space gray starting on Friday, November 1, for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) for the 64GB model and $799 (US) for the 128GB model
- iPad Air with Wi-Fi + Cellular will be available starting on Friday, November 1 for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model, $829 (US) for the 64GB model and $929 (US) for the 128GB model.
- iPad 2 is available at $399 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $529 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model for either AT&T or Verizon.
- iPad mini with Retina display will be available later in November in silver or space gray. iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi models will be available for a suggested retail price of $399 (US) for the 16GB model, $499 (US) for the 32GB model, $599 (US) for the 64GB model and $699 (US) for the 128GB model.
- iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for a suggested retail price of $529 (US) for the 16GB model, $629 (US) for the 32GB model, $729 (US) for the 64GB model and $829 (US) for the 128GB model.
- Additionally, the original iPad mini is now offered at a more affordable price of $299 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $429 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model for either AT&T, Sprint or Verizon.