Only a few short days from now, the masses will converge on suburban malls at the crack of dawn, waiting to be the first of their friends to hold Apple’s new thinner, lighter iPad Air in their hands. Some of the tech world’s more notable names were lucky enough to have early access to the device and, as of last night, reviews started posting online. The overall consensus is that the iPad Air is, by far, the best tablet Apple has ever made, and some say the best tablet ever made. The main complaint is that it’s toughest competition will be the new iPad mini with Retina display. Thanks to Apple’s upgrade, the smaller sized tablet is now just as good as its big brother.
TechCrunch filled us in on all of the great new features of the iPad Air. The biggest change, other than size and weight, is the device’s performance. Thanks to the forward-thinking A7 and M7 processor chips, the iPad Air out performs its predecessor by twice the speed.
Additionally, the iPad Air comes with two microphones for better sound quality for audio and video FaceTime calls. The camera has also received an upgrade, albeit a minor one. The front-facing FaceTime camera now comes with 1080p HD video instead of 720p, which the previous iPad features. Plus, the iSight camera now has a larger sensor for capturing light and bringing more depth to the image.
TechCrunch calls the iPad Air “the best currently available for a 10-inch tablet.”
Engadget praises the results of the diet that Apple’s tablet went on in the past year. While describing the iPad Air as a larger version of the iPad mini, thanks to design changes from Jony Ive. The iPad Air is considered “ridiculously small and light compared to previous models.” The reduced size and weight makes Engadget claim that the iPad Air is “the most comfortable 10-inch tablet we’ve ever used.”
Bloomberg was also lucky enough to receive an early copy of the iPad Air. The popular news source is also calling Apple’s tablet “hands-down, the best tablet on the market.” Bloomberg points out that, even though the new iPad Air is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, the aluminum and glass construction makes it seem more solid than competing devices. Apple’s refreshed line of productivity apps are being considered an important asset to the iPad Air. Thanks to iWork in iCloud, users can now take advantage of a full word processor that is available on both iOS and desktop devices. Something Microsoft has yet to offer with its Office suite of apps, at least, not without a $100 yearly subscription.
USA Today gives us a rundown of the differences between the iPad Air and the fourth-generation iPad, pointing out its size, weight, and super speed. Although this reviewer is not as overly impressed with Apple’s newest tablet compared to its predecessor, he still points out that, “the thin design only enhances what is already the best and most successful tablet on the market.” My favorite part of this review is that, in the companion video, USA Today writer Edward Baig holds the iPad Air in one hand for the whole clip.
AnandTech points to Apple’s design as a selling point. After four revisions, Apple finally figured out how to make a tablet that is lightweight, but still feels like a good quality product. “The iPad Air Apple hits a balance of features, design and ergonomics that I don’t think we’ve ever seen in the iPad.” “I’ll always take lighter, but the iPad Air strikes a good balance between weight and material quality. There really isn’t another tablet of this size that feels anywhere near as good.”
Nearly all of the reviews have mentioned a few negatives. First of all, the Touch ID is a sorely missed feature for the iPad Air. We were all looking forward to being able to unlock our tablets with a fingerprint scan. Many reviewers also noted that Apple really hasn’t done much to improve the iPad’s camera, even though we don’t really use it much.
One interesting note that was mentioned a lot was the fact that, since the iPad mini now comes with the same speed of processor and Retina display as the larger sized Apple tablet, it is going to be direct competition with the iPad Air. It is lighter, thinner, and smaller than the iPad Air and costs less, too.