iPad Air release date, price and specs – say goodbye to the iPad 5!
Apple’s iPad Air is official – and below is everything you need to know about the most important iPad update since 2010
In the wake of Apple’s iPhone 5S launch speculation inevitably turned to what the company’s next-generation iPad(s) would be like. Ahead of launch, the iPad 5 – or at least when we thought that was what it was called – was dubbed the most important iPad update since Apple introduced the first iPad way back in 2010.
Great balls of fire: iPad Air explodes in store, which is then evacuated
Oh dear. We've previously heard plenty of stories of iPhone handsets spectacularly exploding, bursting into flames or electrocuting people, but now it appears the new iPad Air tablet also has the potential for such instability.
However, while stories associated with incendiary iPhones can usually be traced back to a dodgy, third-party charger, it seems unlikely such a cause will be discovered in this case as the volatile iPad in question was an official display model in an Australian Vodafone store.
According to the report in Syndey's Daily Telegraph, an iPad Air on display in a Vodafone shop in Canberra caught fire. A Vodafone spokesperson said it started when a "burst of flames" shot from the charging port.
Allegedly, the spontaneous combustion continued with so much smoke and so many sparks that the local fire brigade was called in to deal with it as the store was evacuated.
The iPad Air was completely destroyed in the incident, the Daily Mail posted a picture of the device which shows it well and truly burnt to a crisp. No-one was hurt by the exploding iPad.
The reports reveal that an Apple rep has since visited the store to recover the charred slate for testing, presumably to see if it was posessed.
Apple has not yet commented on the incident.
While it's certainly an interesting story, unless a lot more iPad Airs burn up this way we're going to go ahead and assume it's a one-off.
iPad Air Usage 5X more than iPad 4 on Opening Weekend
The new iPad Air launched last week and as per usual, Apple’s slate has been flying off shelves around the globe ever since. Is there more demand for the Air than last year’s iPad 4? In a word: Yes –– a whole load more!
According to Fiksu, an American marketing technology company, iPad Air adoption rates are 5X greater than 2012’s iPad 4 and just under 4X that of the iPad Mini.
Whether it was the allure of the 9.7-inch screen and slimmed down chassis or better marketing techniques on behalf of Apple, studies confirm that the latest edition to the Apple family has definitely earned its place.
The iPad Air was being used by 0.88 percent of its users this weekend, compared to the iPad 4’s 0.15 and the iPad mini’s 0.22 on their opening weekends.
In addition to Fiksu’s reports, Mixpanel has released numbers that back up the idea that early adoption to the iPad Air is higher than the releases of previous iPad models.
Mixpanel’s numbers show that usage of the iPad Air account for 1.54 percent of their client’s application usage. The iPad 1 and iPad 2 generations show lowest usage across the board – although that’s hardly surprising.
Last year over 3 million Apple tablets were sold at the release of the iPad 4 and iPad mini, and it would appear that the iPad Air will go on to surpass this figure.
Analysts predict an epic Q4 for Apple with sales of its iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S tipped to go through the roof. Tim Cook said he wanted an iPad Xmas, and judging for these market tips it looks like the big man could get his wish.
iPad air on sale today
It’s finally here – the iPad Air goes on sale today. The release saw hundreds queuing outside Apple stores all over the world, with intrepid friend of KYM Ian Betteridge taking this pic of the queue outside the brand’s flagship Regent Street store.
Guess where I am? pic.twitter.com/JeEv7ngSqu
— Ian Betteridge (@ianbetteridge) November 1, 2013
At £399, the Air is all about catching the top-end of the existing market for tablets, the Telegraph notes. Judging by the queues and sellmymobile.com research showing nearly one in six people plan to trade in their current tablet off the back of the Air’s release, it’s one that is working.
Colin White, managing director of sellmymobile.com said: “The new iPad Air sees one of the most significant changes to the iPad’s hardware that we have seen in a while – it’s light, thinner, faster and as tablets continue to increase in popularity, it’s not surprising that gadget-obsessed Brits are starting to upgrade them in the same way that we have seen with mobile phones in the past.
"As they cash in on old devices they are able to then upgrade to the latest model."
— Ian Phillip (@mr_phillip) November 1, 2013
The iPad Air
But it’s not called the iPad 5 –– it’s called the iPad Air. The reason for the name change, according to Apple, is that THIS iPad represents a new beginning for Apple’s iPad business.
It’s a stroke of marketing genius, according to the Telegraph's Matt Warman, who believes Apple was right to rebrand the iPad as the "ipad Air" because it suggests existing owners are missing out.
If it’s a deliberate strategy, it certainly worked to convince Marc Flores of TechRadar, who writes, "Go ahead, throw your money at Apple."
So should you buy an iPad Air? “If you're in the market for a new tablet, the answer is yes," he says, "If you're even considering a new tablet, the answer is yes.”
As our friends over at PC Pro say of the slimmed down frame “it really is a massive improvement”. The real issue though, is the price – Warman warns that with a number of well-received rival tablets, such as the Tesco Hudl, “Apple must be wary that consumers will deem cheaper rivals good enough”.
“If market share continues to fall, even if Apple continues to make enormous profits, shareholders may yet demand cuts in prices to sustain Apple’s dominance”, he added.
Over at Cnet, they conceed the iPad air is "thinner, lighter" and even more powerful - but where's the innovation? "We'd say Apple missed some opportunities to wow us with a tablet that could have perhaps had a larger screen with higher resolution, a higher-megapizel camera or laptoplike acessories", they write. By innovation, they mean changes such the gold iPhone 5S with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner, a feature the Air was rumoured to have. PC Mag has also picked up on the lack of Touch ID. For those concerned about security, they recommend securing the iPad with a "complex alphanumeric password" - that means something a little harder to crack than 123abc. "You can access this by opening Settings, tapping General, tapping Passcode Lock, entering your passcode (if you have one), and toggle Simple Passcode off. You can now enter a much longer and more secure passphrase."
As expected, the iPad Air has had a complete makeover and is now thinner (7.5mm), slimmer and lighter (1lbs) than its predecessor. It also features a design very similar to the iPad Mini. TouchID is not present, but it is rocking Apple’s A7 chipset and M7 coprocessor.
iPad Air is 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the fourth generation iPad, and with a 43% narrower bezel the borders of iPad Air are dramatically thinner.
The iPad Air also features Apple’s M7 coprocessor. Apple says the A7 processor inside the iPad Air is 8 times faster and has 72 times better graphics performance than its predecessor’s processor.
You also get an updated 5-megapixel iSight camera and a FaceTime HD front-facing unit. Apple says battery life has been extended to 10 hours.
"Even though it’s 20 per cent thinner and up to twice as fast as the previous-generation iPad, it still gives you the same incredible 10-hour battery life," said Apple. "That’s because the A7 chip isn’t just more powerful, it’s also more efficient. So no matter where you go with iPad Air, you’ll have the battery power to go even further."
You also get uber speedy data transfer rate on Wi-Fi thanks to the introduction of Apple's MIMO 802.11n support. The iPad Air and iPad Mini also support extended LTE bands just like the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.
“iPad created an entirely new mobile computing experience, and the new iPad Air is another big leap ahead. It is so thin, light and powerful, once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“iPad Air with its 9.7-inch Retina display weighs just one pound and packs the incredible performance of iOS 7 running on a 64-bit desktop-class Apple A7 chip, and delivers all-day battery life in the lightest full-sized tablet in the world.”
The iPad Air is available in Space Grey and Silver and will be available from November 1st. Prices start from £399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model. The iPad Air is available in four storage versions: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB.
iPad Air benchmarks emerge - blows the iPad 4 out of the water
The first set of benchmarks for Apple's new iPad Air (aka, the iPad 5) and its A7 64-bit processor have emerged showing a huge increase in performance over its predecessor.
Apple's allegations for double performance over the earlier A6X chip seem to be true, as the Geekbench scores show an almost 90% boost over the previous model in both single-core and multi-core tests.
The test also shows Apple's clockspeed for the iPad Air is higher than the same chip inside the iPhone 5S, at 1.4GHz instead of 1.3GHz, but this is the same clockspeed as the iPad 4.
Primate Labs' (creators of GeekBench) founder John Poole put finger to keyboard with a few thoughts on the results:
- "The iPad Air's A7 processor is running at 1.4 GHz, 100 MHz faster than the iPhone 5s' A7 processor. It's not clear if the iPad Air processor runs at a higher speed thanks to a larger battery (providing more power), a larger chassis (providing better cooling), or some combination of the two. I expect the new iPad mini's A7 processor will run at 1.4 GHz as well.
- The iPad Air is over 80% faster than the iPad (4th Generation), close to the 2x increase promised by Apple.
- The iPad Air is over 5x faster than the iPad 2, yet is only $100 more expensive. I do not understand why Apple kept the iPad 2 around, especially at a $399 price point. What market are they targeting?"
iPad Air confirmed with 1GB of RAM according to support chat
Since Apple launched the iPad Air it's been a subject of some discussion as to how much RAM is supporting the processor, but now we know it has the same 1GB as its predecessor thanks to a video chat with Apple support.
The word comes via CtechCN, which posted a screenshot of the video chat during which an Apple rep confirmed 1GB of RAM for both the iPad Air and iPad Mini 2.
That's about as close to official confirmation as you're going to get from Apple.
The company usually keeps tight-lipped on detailed specs and it remains to be seen what the full internal hardware breakdown looks like until certain tech sites get hold of the devices and tear them apart.
iPad Air advert features Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston
The iPad Air TV advert is here and it features narration from Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston. You don’t see much of the iPad Air in the advert, however, with the emphasis being mainly on sweet-looking apartments, pianos and a pencil –– which the iPad Air hides behind for the majority of the advert.
The general theme of the advert is focused on how the iPad Air helps people create things – poems, symphonies and, in the parody one, crystal meth.
There’s already a parody of the advert (see below) that takes the Bryan Cranston connection and adds in lots of jokes about the iPad Air being as addictive as Heisenberg’s famous blue meth, as well as plenty of references to Breaking Bad.
The iPad Air gets its official UK release date on November 1.
iPad Air: The 10 Most Significant Aspects of Apple's new iPad
The iPad Air is here –– don't call it the iPad 5! –– and it is the thinnest and most powerful iPad Apple has ever produced. The 9.7-inch iPad Air launched alongside a host of new hardware last night, as well as OS X Mavericks, and of course the iPad Mini (2) with Retina display.
Lauded as the most significant iPad update since 2010, Apple’s iPad Air is certainly powerful, rocking the company’s new 64-bit A7 chipset, but some features and attributes did not make the cut –– they’re reserved for the 5S.
Here’s our break down of the 10 most significant points about Apple’s new iPad Air.
The iPad Air did not ship with Apple’s TouchID fingerprint scanner, just as KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted. Ahead of launch multiple sources suggested both new iPads would ship with the iPhone 5S’ TouchID technology.
The reason for their omission is pretty simple. Production of components related to TouchID are in very tight supply due to high demands for the iPhone 5S, and this isn’t expected to change anytime soon.
Ah well, there’s always next year, right?
No Gold version
The iPad Air is only available in two colour schemes: Space Grey and Silver. So while Gold might be best, according to the Conan O’Brien skit, it’s currently an iPhone 5S exclusive.
64-bit A7 chip and M7 coprocessor
With the advent of a new iPhone came a new processor. That processor was the A7, and it was the first ever 64-bit chipset to feature inside a phone, further bridging the gap between smartphones and desktop computers. Increased speed and better power efficiency are just two of the things you can expect from this new setup.
“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 and better than ever,” said Apple at launch.
You also get Apple’s M7 coprocessor. Check out the two articles below to find out why that’s awesome:
Check out our iPhone 5S review to see just how well the iPhone 5S performed in our benchmark tests. Note: it pretty much destroys everything else out there.
128GB of storage
Both the iPad Air and the iPad Mini are available in four storage variants: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and, for the ultimate media hoarder, 128GB. There’s still no SD-support, however. But that was never going to happen!
Loads of LTE support
Apple has packed 14 LTE bands into the new iPad Mini 2 and the iPad Air – that’s one more than the iPhone 5C and 5S, which "only" runs 13 bands 4G bands. You will pay extra for a data-connected iPad, however, but at least you’ll have plenty of carrier options – EE, Vodafone, O2, and Three [when it eventually rolls it services out later this year].
It looks different
The iPad Air doesn’t look like a traditional iPad. No, this iPad has a thinner, iPad Mini-like bezel and is also quite a bit lighter (469g vs. 662g). Apple says the Air is 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the fourth generation iPad.
The bezel on the Air is also 43% narrower than previous iterations, which brings us onto our next point…
It feels different
With a thinner bezel the iPad Air handles differently, and because it is lighter too the overall feel and gait of the device is completely different. In the hand expect a slimmer, sleeker, and overall lighter tablet experience. Apple didn’t call it Air for nothing, you know…
The iPad Air does feature an updated camera but it’s not the same as the one you’ll find inside the iPhone 5S, which is a heavily modified 8-megapixel sensor that produces some utterly stunning images. Apple is keeping some of its more significant updates –– TouchID and imaging, specifically –– exclusive to its flagship handset.
With the iPad Air, you have a 5-megapixel iSight setup that supports 1080p video recording. On the front you have a HD FaceTime camera. The 5S’s imaging tech would have been nice, but lets be honest: how many of you actually use your iPad for snapping pictures?
iWorks – free and 64-bit optimised
iWorks is now completely free and fully optimised for 64-bit chipsets, giving iOS and OS X users full access to a wealth of productivity applications like iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers and Keynote.
And because they’re fully optimised for the iPad Air’s 64-bit chipset, performance should be off the charts. Factor in iCloud-support and switching between iPad and MacBook has never been easier. Now all we need is for Apple to increased its cloud storage from a rather paltry 5GB…
MIMO 802.11n support [faster Wi-Fi]
Apple said the iPad Air is the best connected iPad it has ever produced, and it wasn’t kidding. Not only does the iPad Air feature better support for LTE than the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, but it also features MIMO 802.11n support for rapid Wi-Fi speeds.