Mobile tablets have been around for a while. They hold a unique place based on their size and portability and Apple has contributed to their allure. No, we’re not talking about the original iPad, Apple’s tryst with tablets goes back 20 years to the MessagePad. Now, two decades later, Apple come out with a new iPad and proves why it’s the king of tablets.
Steve Job always had a simple motto – to create a line of computers that would be light and could be carried anywhere with ease. The iPad is an evolved form of a Macbook offering certain specialized features that are optimized given its design which includes a 9.7” touchscreen and the latest hardware.
The first iPad was launched in 2010 and since then Apple has continued to evolve it. The latest incarnation of the same is the iPad Air. We had a chance to get one in our hands are pleased to report our findings.
The iPad’s design philosophy hasn’t changed since its inception. It’s a straight forward tablet – however, in this version, the bevels have been narrowed and the screen feels like it’s just a bit bigger. The Air is lighter than earlier version at 469 grams – something we like and the buttons feel more secure than the ones on the earlier versions. Apple has retained the Home button on the front and the power button is conveniently located at the top. The speakers at the bottom aren’t an element of bad design but your hands do have a tendency to cover them and muffle the sound, which by the way is superb! The back is matte finished in silver, or space grey – (black to us mere mortals) just like before.
The iPad Air’s display is a 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology. The resolution is an impressive 2048-by-1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi). The screen sharpness is quite impressive and while we’ve always been impressed with the iPad’s screen, this one is a step forward. It also features Apple’s Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating although we would recommend putting a screen guard just as an added precaution. The screen is no slouch; we have no complaints about the same and feel Apple has made the screen better and better suited for a tablet than earlier iPad’s.
Processor and other Technical Details
The A7 processor makes its debut on a tablet as does Apple’s famed 64 bit architecture. The processor speed is a healthy 1.4GHz and although not the fastest, what it does is enhance processor speed and greatly conserve the battery. We were astounded and the speed and responsiveness of the device and got a full day of streaming video, watching a movie and listening to music from a fully charged iPad.
iOS 7 has had its share of bad-mouthing by people on the internet, but honestly, we don’t see any reason to complain. It’s just different to what was there earlier. The interface allows for seamless transition from different apps and multi-tasking is made even easier.
The 5MP iSight camera on the rear and a 1.3MP on the front make up the arsenal of cameras on the tablet. We were hoping to see an 8MP camera similar to the recently launched iPhone 5S on the device; oh well, you can’t have everything! The photo quality is great but suffers a bit in low light. The same goes for videos. The front facing camera is critical on account of Facetime’s popularity and this is perhaps the only area where we feel Apple could have done better. Add a better camera and this device would have been perfect!
We’ve had a chance to use the iPad Air for a few days and there’s no doubt that this is one the best tablets on the market. Apple’s design philosophy has taken a simple concept and applied it judiciously across various elements and created a real winner. The new processor and A7 chip take an already great design to the next level and while iOS7 may feel different for seasoned users of Apple’s earlier UI, it is no doubt an interface of the next generation. Multi-tasking is a breeze and the battery life is probably the best among high-end tablets. While it’s available in 16, 32, 64 or 128GB storage models, we recommending getting the one with the largest store that fits in your budget.
Phone wars aside, Apple is still the kind as far as tablets are concerned. The new iPad Air proves just that with a slimmer, sleeker design and improved hardware. The interface also gets a makeover and with 8 different models to choose from (Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + cellular), Apple ups the ante once again in the tablet domain. A home run for Apple yet again!
The iPad Air is the fourth iPad launched by Cupertino based Apple. As with every version, interest is high and something new is expected with regards to the design elements, hardware and interface. Thankfully, Apple delivers on all counts and proves why it’s at the top as far as tablets are concerned.