This week we saw the launch of two new iPads being the entry level iPad and the iPad Air.  Both saw a significant jump in their purported power with new Apple Silicon chips with the A12 and A14 Bionic respectively. 

the new iPad Air in Sky blue
The new iPad Air in Sky blue 

However much of the discussion since the event has been on the perceived power that the iPad Air now delivers, in particular compared to the recently refreshed iPad Pro line-up.

The A14 Bionic chip is said by Apple to be its most powerful chip ever, something that may catch the attention of  recent purchasers of the iPad Pro line up.

There are over 11.8 billion transistors on the chip  combined with 6 cores and it is claimed that this leads to 40 per cent increase in CPU performance .  Alongside those 6-core are 4-core graphic architecture delivering 30 per cent lift in graphic performance.  All of this is done on a new 5-manometer process.

Apple claims breakthrough machine learning capabilities with a 16-core Neural engine, which is twice as fast and can perform up to 11 trillion operations per second.

Camera’s is another area where the iPad Air has been upgraded with a new 7MP front HD Facetime camera and 12MP rear camera. 

Charging your iPad Air also has changed with the introduction of USB-C both for charging and connecting external devices. 

Perhaps one of the most surprising features was the reintroduction of Touch ID via the top button.  Clearly given the reaction a lot of people have been missing touch ID, no doubt widespread mask wearing in this time of COVID-19 is also contributing to that.

So many will now be looking for this to be rolled out in the next iPhone and then through the rest of the iPad range as it gets refreshed.

Another way the iPad Air is being made different to the rest of the line-up is colours.  The iPad Air will now come five finishes being silver, space grey, rose gold, green, and sky blue.  The Green and the Sky Blue are new colours and do make those iPad Air very unique.

Device makes of all kinds have had a push to maximise screen real estate and minimise bezels.  iPad Air is no different with the new design being an all screen design to deliver a bigger 10.9-inch display.

Of course the iPad Pro line-up does have many other features that will still appeal to many power users.  However in terms of accessories the gap between the iPad Air and iPad Pro has been closed.  iPad Air works with second generation Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard and the Smart Keyboard.  This brings trackpad and the stunning design of the Magic Keyboard to the iPad Air. In fact the Magic Keyboard is the same keyboard as for the iPad Pro 11-inch.

So if having the keyboard and trackpad had you thinking about an iPad Pro, then now the iPad Air at the cheaper price point is also an option.  As an example the bottom of the range iPad Pro 11-inch is $1,329 compared to the $899 for the iPad Air. That is if you don’t want all the other bells and whistles of the iPad Pro line-up. 

Now there does need to be a word of caution here, the Magic Keyboard in particular is not cheap.  In Australia that will be setting you back $499.  So add that onto the price of the iPad Air and you are starting to talk close to MacBook Air pricing.

Whilst it will then be a personal choice if the trackpad and keyboard were the drawcard for many the MacBook Air may be a better option as it also gets you the full operating system and now just access to iOS. 

Leaving that aside the new iPad Air is now placed to be the iPad that delivers you tremendous power in near iPad Pro levels of performance.  All at a much cheaper price point.  It may well become the default iPad now for many users.

 Let us know your thoughts over in the forum