It’s been almost five years since Apple introduced the original iPad. And although it played a major part in shaping the tablet landscape, Apple’s iPad lineup has seen a steady decline in sales over the past few quarters. Still, the company has sold more than 200 million since going on sale in 2010, which is more than the iPhone did in its first four years of availability. That early momentum, however, has clearly slowed. Does that mean the iPad is done for? Is Apple holding onto a formula that no longer appeals to consumers?
After the company trotted out its quarterly earnings earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted he didn’t know the exact upgrade cycle for iPad owners. He believed more people hang onto their tablet longer than they do a phone, which is probably true; the iPad is such a quality device that it doesn’t need to be replaced every year. Same goes for other tablets. Then it’s no surprise that the iPar Air 2 doesn’t immediately appeal to current iPad owners, particularly those who own an iPad Air.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to like about the iPad Air 2; it’s 18-percent thinner than the Air, and weighs less than a pound. The original iPad Air was already thin enough, though it seems the threshold for thinness hasn’t yet been reached. It still retains a 9.7-inch 2048×1536 display (which has now been laminated, allowing Apple to make the device so thin), though the internals have been upgraded to create Apple’s most powerful tablet to date by far. In fact, the new A8X chip promises to be 40-percent faster than the original Air, yet it still retains the same 10-hour battery life.
There are a few other key differences. One: Apple included Touch ID, which plays nice with online Apple Pay purchases. And two: a revamped camera has been added, further enabling the practice of tablet photography. We typically rely on our smartphones to take fancy photos, so I suppose having a good camera on your tablet isn’t such a bad thing. You still might be mocked publicly, but at least you’ll get some solid pictures.
We’ll be putting the iPad Air 2 through its paces over the coming days but, for now, check out our quick unboxing. You can pick up the iPad Air 2 in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB options in either space gray, silver or gold; pricing starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi model, and $629 for the cellular version.