Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

iPad Air gains a new chip in both big and bigger 11, 13 sizes

A new iPad Air or two also arrived this week, not just an iPad Pro, so what’s new and how much will they cost in Australia?

It’s one of those weeks where there are Apple announcements aplenty, and while the iPad Pro got an update as well as new software features on its creator-focused apps, they weren’t alone.

Even though Apple has left the standard iPad and the even older iPad Mini alone, the iPad announcements came to another series this week, as the company further diversified its iPad line-up with a less expensive big tablet for folks.

Specifically, it’s in the iPad Air, which ironically is now heavier than the Pro models. Given that Apple’s emphasis on “Air” has always been the lightest models, that’s clearly not confusing at all, though the focus on these could be on saving money for something larger overall, and being lighter in cost comparatively (it’s a tenuous link, we know, but just work with us here).

Rather, the 2024 iPad Air is about minor updates that could make all the difference, launching in both an 11 inch model and one sized more like the large iPad Pro, which has jumped from 12.9 to a full 13 inches in the latest edition. That could be a clever addition to the range, largely because now you don’t need to spend up on an iPad Pro to get a bigger tablet from Apple, and can get similar tech for a little bit less.

Aside for the size, both models are fairly close in what they offer, differing from the more premium iPad Pro.

You’ll find an update from the M1 iPad Air last time to the M2 chip, the same technology in last year’s MacBook Air which is still around, increasing the performance across CPU, GPU, and even the AI neural component, too. It may not be as fast as the latest M4 chip Apple has rolled out, but it’s still up there.

There’s still a 12 megapixel camera at the back albeit with a slight improvement to HDR, while the front-facing camera position has now been moved to the landscape edge, making video chats a little less awkward.

Wireless connectivity has also improved from the old model in some ways, with Bluetooth 5 now updated to Bluetooth 5.3, and WiFi 6 moved to the slightly better WiFi 6E, handy if you have a router that supports it.

Some of the feature set is actually quite similar from the previous Air, too, screen size aside. That screen is still an LED-backed In-Plane Switching (IPS) display with the P3 colour gamut and Apple’s True Tone technology, but it doesn’t support the fast refresh rates of Apple’s ProMotion tech.

The new iPad Air also doesn’t support the old Apple Pencil, meaning it only works with the new Apple Pencil Pro and the USB-C Pencil Apple released last year.

There’s also still no Face ID in the Air, with the biometric security handled by a Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the power button. Interestingly, the 2024 Air seems to support the older Magic Keyboard, but not the newer model Apple is releasing for the 2024 iPad Pro.

The price may well be the critical point, with the 11 inch iPad Air starting at $999 in Australia for the WiFi only model 128GB, while $1249 get the 128GB 5G/WiFi 11 inch iPad Air. Storage options include 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB, with the 13 inch iPad Air starting at $1299 for a 128GB WiFi model and $1549 for a 128GB WiFi/5G variant. That’s distinct to an 11 inch iPad Pro starting price of $1699 and a 13 inch iPad Pro starting price of $2199 (which is clearly a saving on the bigger models).

Much like Apple’s other new iPad, the iPad Air will land in shops both online and in real life from May 15.

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