iPad Air vs iPad 4: What’s the difference?

Vs Paul Briden 15:52, 23 Oct 2013

How does the iPad Air compare to the iPad 4?

With the latest iPad we have a new name, the iPad Air, but aside from the nomenclature what kind of changes are we looking at from the iPad 4 and why is the iPad Air “better”?

Direct spec comparison

Device Apple iPad Air Apple iPad 4
Dimensions 240x169.5x7.5mm,478g 241.2x185.7x9.4mm,662g
Display 9.7-inch IPS LCD Retina,2048x1536 pixels,264ppi 9.7-inch IPS LCD Retina,2048x1536 pixels,264ppi
Camera 5-megapixel iSight 5-megapixel
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB
Processor, RAM, Graphics Apple A7 dual-core 64-bit,M7 Motion,1GB RAM Apple A6X dual-core 1.4GHz, 1GB RAM
Operating System iOS 7 iOS 7
UI N/A N/A
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0,Wi-Fi,GPS, Lightning,Optional 4G/3G Bluetooth 4.0,Wi-Fi,GPS, Lightning,Optional 4G/3G
Battery 11,560mAh 11,560mAh

Build and design

Apple’s iPad Air is drastically different from its predecessor on the outside. The whole aim of the game for Apple this time around has been to make the device smaller, lighter, thinner and more manageable while retaining the larger screen size.

It has a completely new bodyshell inspired by the iPad Mini.

It is virtually the same height (240mm) and still made of aluminium, however, it’s noticeably narrower from edge-to-edge at 169.5mm to the iPad 4’s 185.7mm, has a much thinner bezel on either side of the display – reduced by as much as 43%, according to Apple, and it’s much thinner at only 7.5mm to the iPad 4’s 9.4mm.

Weight and balance have also been improved with the iPad Air living up to its name at 478g (469g for the Wi-Fi only model) compared to the iPad 4’s hefty 662g.

Not only is the end result easier to operate and carry around, but it looks much sharper to boot, while keeping Apple’s high-grade build quality with a reassuringly solid fit and finish.

Colour options have changed slightly, instead of black or white you can now choose between space grey (with a black fascia) or silver (with a white fascia).

Display

Apple received plenty of acclaim for the full-size iPad’s Retina display, so logically there’s very little reason to switch things around at this stage. As a result, the iPad Air carries exactly the same display setup as the iPad 4 with both sporting a 9.7-inch IPS LCD Retina panel at 2048x1536 pixels and 264 pixels-per-inch (ppi), producing rich, sharp and bright visuals.

Storage

Both devices have the same set of storage options – 16GB at the lower price end, 32GB and 64GB in the middle and a top-tier 128GB option for all you film, game or music enthusiasts.

Processor and performance

Another major differentiator is the processing power. The iPad 4 uses Apple’s A6X dual-core chip clocked at 1.4GHz with 1GB of RAM. Meanwhile, the iPad Air uses the new A7 chip, also dual-core and sporting 1GB of RAM, but this time it’s 64-bit which opens up faster speeds, particularly with optimised 64-bit apps and content such as Appel’s iWorks suite.

Software

With both tablets being on Apple’s latest iOS 7 software there will be no difference in the end user experience and both devices have been optimised with the operating system and its apps to ensure the slickest performance possible.

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Can anyone give the specs on the A7? Otherwise it just looks like nothing changed.

No. Apple never release specs on their chips. You have to wait for the phone to be jailbroken for a coder to actually run diagnostics on the unit and find out.

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