At an event yesterday in Cupertino, Calif., Apple unveiled its new larger iPad, now named the iPad Air, a product that continues to blow past the competition in a way like only Apple can. Here are three things you'll love about the new iPad Air.
The A7 chip. During the iPhone event in September, Apple revealed the A7 chip, a new 64-bit chip that drastically changes the performance, speed and graphics capabilities. Apple is also bringing that to the iPad. The iPad Air is 8 times faster than original iPad, and offers 72 times the graphics capabilities, due in large part to the A7 chip.
As with the iPhone 5s, the A7 chip is the only 64-bit chip in a tablet today, and takes the computing power of a tablet to be more like a PC.
The design. While a lot of the specs are popular for consumers, including the 5 MP camera, 1080p HD video and new FaceTime HD, Apple continues to show that design of a product is perhaps just as important as the product itself.
The iPad Air, which has the same 9.7-inch Retina Display, is now 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the previous iPad, an engineering marvel. If that isn't enough, it weighs just 1 pound. The bezel is 43% narrower, allowing for content to take up more of the display.
That again is an engineering feat that shows that Apple is hellbent on making its products as light, sleek, and as thin as possible, a testament that aesthetics are as important as computing power. “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 in a press release.
The M7 chip. Though the iPad Air and Retina Display both sport the A7 chip to boost computing power, including the M7 chip is a big breakthrough, especially for a tablet. The M7, as Apple said during the iPhone event, is designed to detect motion data constantly. I'm not sure how this will work on a tablet, given most people believe it will allow Apple to move further into the health and fitness markets. Perhaps the M7 chip would allow the iPad to sync with the oft-rumored iWatch?
The iPad Air starts at $499 for the 16 GB WiFi model, and $629 for the 16 GB LTE version. Data charges are extra and price varies by carrier (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T) and the iPad Air becomes available Nov. 1 with no pre-order. In the past we've seen Apple allow pre-order sales for the iPad tablets, then ship as soon as the devices go on sale.
Starting on Nov. 1, iPad Air will be available in the following countries: US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China (Wi-Fi models only), Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao (Wi-Fi models only), Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
Apple (AAPL) will need help from its latest iPad offerings. CEO Tim Cook said Apple recently sold its 170 millionth iPad earlier this month, which implies Apple sold around 14 or 15 million iPads in the fiscal fourth-quarter. Despite sluggish iPad sales, there's a lot to like about the new tablets, particularly the iPad Air, which is sure to help boost sales, as we go into the holiday season, Apple's most important quarter.
Apple introduced a slew of other new products, including new software, as well as its Mac Pro and MacBook Pro laptops, but the iPad Air and iPad mini were the stars of the show. While the iPad is not as big a business as the iPhone is, Apple has continued to focus on refining and improving its second-biggest product line, indicating innovating isn't dead in Cupertino.