Apple announces an update for the iPad Air a year and a half after it was given the tablet iPad Pro redesign. Much of the redesign remains intact, but the new iPad Air model has been updated with a faster M1 processor, which debuted in Apple’s Macs. It also supports 5G networks, and the USB-C port is up to double with data transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps.
It will be available starting at $599 for the Wi-Fi-only model, and rising to $749 for the Wi-Fi and Cellular version. It will come with either 64GB or 256GB of storage, and available colors include grey, pink, purple, blue, and a silver/golden cross that Apple calls “Starlight.” Pre-orders open on Friday, and the tablet will be on sale from March 18th.
Apple says the iPad Air’s M1 processor, which is also included in the latest iPad Pro, has an eight-core CPU that’s up to 60 percent faster than the A14 Bionic processor found in the last-generation model. It has an eight-core graphics processor with twice the graphics power of its predecessor.
The front camera has also been updated to use a 12MP sensor (up from 7MP last), and now supports Apple’s Center Stage feature designed to keep you in frame automatically during calls. The rear camera has a resolution of 12 MP, like last time. The new 10.9-inch iPad Air display has 500 nits of brightness, HDR support, but no mention of ProMotion. The iPad Air has horizontal stereo speakers.
Like its predecessor, the new iPad air is compatible with the $129 Apple Pencil, which magnetically attaches to its size, as well as the $299 Magic Keyboard. It will also work with the $179 Smart Keyboard Folio and the $79 Smart Keyboard Folio. It uses Touch ID built into its power button as a vital security.
The iPad Air falls below the iPad Pro in Apple’s lineup of tablets and it was Latest update in 2020. The last time around, the Air featured a smaller screen with a lower refresh rate and a slower processor than the Pro. But many of the iPad Pro’s other features were still on the air, including a USB-C port and support for Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Pencil. It made the Air an excellent, low-cost alternative to the Pro. If anything, it is this time now that it is also powered by the M1 chip.
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