The 5th generation iPad has now been revealed, and it comes in the form of the iPad Air. The device retains the familiar 9.7” screen, but there’s a whole lot less around that screen. The iPad Air is 28% lighter, and 20% thinner than the previous generation coming in at just one pound, and 7.5 millimeters thick. The side bezels have been shaved down so that the overall width has dropped from 7.4” to 6.6”. Also, the entire form factor has changed to resemble the iPad mini in terms of the tapper on the edges, and improved unibody construction.The main feature is the size, hence the “Air” moniker as Apple has significantly reduced everything that surrounds that big multi-touch display. The screen is the same size, but takes up a bigger portion of the device, and the one pound weight is distributed across the entire body to feel lighter in your hand.
The same 2048 x 1536 retina display remains for a 264 ppi on the 9.7” screen size. On the inside, there’s the new A7 chip with 64-bit architecture, which is about twice as fast as the previous generation. Apple has also included the new M7 motion coprocessor to track location, and movement in an energy efficient manor. With a thinner, lighter, and faster design, Apple has maintained the ten hour battery life that is expected on the iPad. Also, Apple has updated the iLife & iWork suites to run 64-bit for the new A7 chip, and all are free with the purchase of a new iPad Air, or other iOS device. Finally, the same 5 megapixel camera system remains with 1080P video, and 1.2 megapixel front camera. The iPad Air is largely what we expected, but what we didn’t see is the TouchID fingerprint sensor built into the home button, a new 8 megapixel camera system, or a gold casing option.
The iPad Air starts at $499 for 16GB, and comes in either white and silver, or black and space grey. There are 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB options for $100 more each, and there’s also LTE options at $129 more each. The iPad Air goes on sale on November 1st online, and in retail stores, but there will be no pre-orders. Apple has also updated their Smart Covers & Smart Cases with covers for the front, and Cases providing complete protection of the device. Both offer the same functionality as the last generation, but made for the new form factor coming in at $39 for the polyurethane Covers in yellow, blue, green, black, pink, and Product (RED), and $79 for the leather Cases in brown, beige, black, blue, red, and yellow.
The iPad Air is a thinner, lighter, and faster version of a full sized tablet that was already plenty thin, fast, and light.