It doesn’t take much when looking at the chart above to realize how impressive the new iPad Air is in terms of improvements over previous iPad versions. According to primatelabs.com, the iPad Air is approximately twice as fast as the iPhone 4th generation. Even though it shares the same chip as the iPhone 5s, for a variety of reasons it is still faster.
Reasons for the speed increase over the iPhone 5s relate to the faster clocking speed which is made possible by a more powerful battery and a more efficient cooling mechanism. Another marked difference, as reported by anandtech.com, is the length of time that each can remain at top processor speeds before heat requires that the chip slow down. The iPhone 5s maintains top speeds for a shorter time before a steep drop, while the iPad Air gradually reduces in speed over time.
What does this mean for everyday iPad users? First, it proves that Apple has made a substantially faster iPad, which is going to be cable of handling much bigger apps. It also means that new apps are going to have more and more difficulty running on old iPads, which are less likely to keep up.
The biggest bottleneck is now going to be the 1GB of RAM which is going to be a limitation for certain types of apps which could use a bump in this area. I recently reviewed GarageBand and that is a perfect example of an app which could use a ton more RAM when working with virtual musical instruments and large audio files. Video editing apps are another even bigger memory hog and 1GB is not nearly enough. This limitation, however, will keep many apps that are designed for the iPad Air still compatible with previous iPad versions. A big jump in RAM would be very difficult for older machines to deal with.
It is clear that Apple is continuing to forge ahead with faster and faster mobile devices. The only question now is where will it end? My guess is that we have a lot of innovation still to come in the years ahead.