Apple iPad Air, iPad Mini Offer Twice The Performance


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

  • 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

  • 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.

22 thoughts on “Apple iPad Air, iPad Mini Offer Twice The Performance

  1. Isn’t the life cycle of an iPad a bit short? Didn’t the latest market-killer come out about 16 months ago? I’m a skeptic because what I’d pay for mere portability, I could use to make notable gains in my desktop setup. If I had an iPad, I’d probably end up sitting on the sonofaBush anyway.

    I know the drill: you buy all you can for your current platform and pray to get a few stable years from it. Gradually, first the apps and then the OS drop off the edge of the Earth. That’s happening too quickly with iPads. If you are well-off enough to upgrade casually, great, but $500+ is not small change to everyone. The rest of us need a bit more use from our tools. It also depends on how well the makers of your more serious plug-ins can play Version Catch-Up. If you’ve ever gotten caught in some bad pinch because of a sudden paradigm change, you got a taste of how the UnaBomber may have felt. So how are you feeling about your setup if you are an iPad 3 owner? Are you prepared to essentially freeze it and start treating it as a sound module and game pad within the next year or so? I’m serious, because pad-mania is an interesting bit of social and creative madness. We’re just at the first crest of their high integration into things. I wonder how it will be when its all on a watch and then on an earring. 😛

    1. “but $500+ is not small change to everyone. The rest of us need a bit more use from our tools”

      That’s true, but a lot of people pay $500 for an iPad today, use the heck out of it, and then sell it for $300 two years later for a net $200 upgrade for the latest one in 2015. Apple products have amazing resale value, it’s really quite easy to roll over your old for the new once you ”buy in”.

      If you flat old sold the iPad Air for $300 in two years, in the end it would’ve cost you $200 for 24 months of usage, or about $8/month. That’s an amazing value in my opinion, I pay the same for Netflix which I barely watch! 🙂

      1. This is what I ‘m exactly doing.
        Sell the old one, pay extra 100-150 euro and get the new one. Stay up-to-date. It’s like a rental service. I pay some rent each year for getting the new machine.
        And someone else with a low budget (a student, a retired lady who uses it only for news) gets my old ipad and use it.
        By the way, let’s include time value of the money and make it $10/month which is still far more less than the real value of an ipad for me. Making music on a tram, instantly downloading a new album, reading all these newspapers, watching videos…And doing all these with such a portable device like ipad mini is priceless! I put my old one to local online marketplace. Don’t care about retina but getting the A7 for Auria and all those beautiful synths released lately

    2. Not really dude, in the keynote they made it clear they are still selling iPad2s which means app developers are going to keep supporting iPad2.

    3. > So how are you feeling about your setup if you are an iPad 3 owner?

      I feel just fine. Considering that Apple is still selling the iPad 2, I expect to get at least two more years out of my iPad 3. I might get three.

    4. I’ll sell my old one and end up paying around $250 net for a new one. I still have my old iPad 2 around as a dedicated synth/music machine, though, because it has a 30-pin.

  2. I’m guessing this iPad also doesn’t have flash…I really hate that. There are so many websites that I have to go on and then I’m not able to do anything because it requires flash…I also think they’re a little to expensive. Not everyone is rich you know. Some of us have to actually struggle to get money.

    1. Then don’t buy an ipad, flash was also omitted for a reason, becuase it causes a huge battery drain. People Praise the $500 analog synths for being so amazingly affordable but complain that a computer with the best touch screen on the market for the same price is highway robbery. Remember how much the lemur cost? remember how it only did one thing? People take the technology and the build quality in ipads for granted, If you want an affordable tablet but the nexus, you want a professional audio platform that out performs 3000+ dedicated hardware, buy an ipad.

    2. This is a music site. Called Synthtopia. If you look for dope synths on your touch screen go for IPad. I f you go for lousy flash based webbrowsing every cheap android tablet will do good. But dont expect android to give u dope synths and music apps as this is happening in the IOS environment. Also if you are price wise dont expect high end for cheap

      1. If someone is really looking for a dope synth, he / she should go in a music shop, or on a webiste like Thomann. I swear there are synths that are wayyyyy ‘doper’ than the fake ones you can buy for your iPad.

        1. Exactly the reason i have an ipad and mock my loser roommate who mindlessly hates anything apple, bought a similarly priced sony android tablet, but couldn’t connect to a digital piano/midi keyboard. That ain’t happening with android any time soon.

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