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Review roundup: Apple's new iPad Air is light, powerful with extended battery life

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
The first reviews of Apple's new iPad Air starting coming out on Tuesday, and so far the consensus is incredibly positive, with tech journalists heaping praise on the recently announced tablet.



AllThingsD



The venerable Walt Mossberg praised Apple for keeping battery life a main concern with the iPad Air, and the journalist noted that the new tablet's performance in this regard was the best he has ever tested. Mossberg was able to manage 12 hours of high definition video playback while multitasking with other apps like Mail.

"This new iPad isn't a radical rethinking of what a tablet can be, but it's a major improvement on a successful product," he says. "It is the best tablet I've ever reviewed."

Aside from the long battery life, Mossberg was impressed by the iPad's heft, or lack thereof.

As for downsides, Apple does not provide its own accessories, like a keyboard, for the iPad, and cost may be an issue for those with tight budgets. In the end, however, Mossberg recommended the iPad Air "hands down."

The Loop



Jim Dalrymple of The Loop was one of the first to post his review after the embargo lifted on Tuesday night. He had high hopes for the device, and apparently Apple came through.

"The good news is the iPad Air lives up to all of those expectations and more," Dalrymple writes.

Special attention was paid to how light and powerful the iPad Air is compared to its predecessor. Apple managed to shave half a pound off the new model by slimming down the bezel and battery, while boosting performance with its A7 SoC.

TechCrunch



TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington says the iPad Air "breathes new life into Apple's original slab-style game-changer." He goes on to mention the performance gains enjoyed by the tablet's A7 chip, which gave a significant boost to iOS apps like Apple's own iLife and iWork suites.

Battery life was again a strong point, but Etherington only squeezed Apple's advertised 10 hours over Wi-Fi, and a little less using LTE data.

He notes that the new iPad may convert some users to a larger display, contrary to the recent trend of consumers gravitating toward smaller-screened and more portable tablets.

CNET



Tim Stevens from CNET gave the iPad Air an "Outstanding" 4.5 out of 5 star review, calling it the best full-size tablet on the market. Like Mossberg, Stevens noted the device is priced higher than competitors' offerings, but the performance and design changes could be worth it for many.

"Indeed, pick up an Air and you'll be reminded of the first time you held a Mini," Stevens writes. "It's a 'wow' moment."

As for performance, CNET found the A7 chip clocked at 1.39GHz, slightly higher than the iPhone 5s' 1.29GHz. The added speed comes at the price of heat, though the unit is a bit cooler than the fourth-gen model.

He points out that, while the internals are largely similar to last year's model, the new iPad's aesthetics put it "on another planet."

Endgadget



Engadget's Brad Molen found similar results in battery life and performance tests. The design was especially important for Molen.

"Not every manufacturer can produce a thin and light device without also making it feel cheap or flimsy, but Apple nailed it," he writes.

Molen compares the iPad Air to a larger iPad mini, and despite the mediocre camera performance, finds the tablet to be the best iPad yet.

Other notable reviews



AnandTech
USA Today
Time
Pocket Lint
The New York Times
Fox News
Slashgear
The Telegraph

Sales of the iPad Air will kick off on Friday, with Apple Stores opening early at 8 a.m. for the event. Additionally, those interested can arrange for in-store pickups, with orders thought to start on Nov. 1 at 12:01 a.m. Pacific.
post #2 of 37

Might upgrade from my faithful first generation iPad. Bought my wife the Mini last Christmas, she has taken to it like a... oh, risk of a label here... she loves it, never far away. :)

Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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post #3 of 37
Quote:

CNET

He points out that, while the internals are largely similar to last year's model, the new iPad's aesthetics put it "on another planet."

Twice the graphics- twice the processor speed- 64 bit- and an extra M7 chip are largely similar internals?

2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #4 of 37
Wow Tim Stevens over at c|net gave it 4.5/5. Pretty amazing for a site that is so pro-Microsoft.
post #5 of 37
Cant wait to get it.

The Anandtech GPU benchmarks are very impressive. The Air is a lot faster then the ipad 4 in games framerates
Edited by herbapou - 10/29/13 at 7:20pm
post #6 of 37

Those who say that this is the most significant iPad update so far aren't lying. And I don't think that Tim Cook was wrong when he said that he sees an iPad Christmas. 

 

The iPad Air and the iPad Mini Retina are both killer tablets, and Apple is going to sell a hell of a lot of both models.

 

Since they're both basically identical, it all comes down to size. Do you want the larger size screen or do you want the smaller screen and portability of the Mini? Either way, Apple has what you want. And if anybody has anything to say about the price, then they shouldn't even bother to comment, because Apple is going to move a ton of units at $399 for the Mini Retina and $499 for the Air. $399 for an A7 iPad that's retina is crazy cheap, and I imagine that it's going to be hard to get one in time for the holidays, as demand will be through the roof, and production will not be able to meet the initial demand.

 

The iPad Air is the best large tablet ever made, it's powerful, it's smaller than before, it's thinner, it's crazy light, and it's 64 bit. Apple is going to sell boatloads of them. The weight reduction is just insane, and coming in at one pound is a huge difference VS all previous iPads.

 

It took three generations for Apple to be able to make a retina 9.7" tablet like the iPad Air, and the results are well worth the wait.

 

I see an iPad Air in my future.

post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post
 

Do you want the larger size screen or do you want the smaller screen and portability of the Mini?

I'll take both- one of each.  Can't wait.

2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Twice the graphics- twice the processor speed- 64 bit- and an extra M7 chip are largely similar internals?

Yeah, they are all little black rectangles to the steaming masses, aren't they??
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

The iPad Air and the iPad Mini Retina are both killer tablets, and Apple is going to sell a hell of a lot of both models.

Women will go for the mini because it will fit easily into their purses. Men will go for the large iPad because... well, because size matters...
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #10 of 37
Best reviews an iPad has received yet. And only dual core with 1GB ram. Best iPad design yet and didn't happen on Steve Jobs' watch. I hope the haters don't slit their wrists tonight. 1biggrin.gif
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The first reviews of Apple's new iPad Air starting coming out on Tuesday, and so far the consensus is incredibly positive, with tech journalists heaping praise on the recently announced tablet.

AllThingsD



The venerable Walt Mossberg praised Apple for keeping battery life a main concern with the iPad Air, and the journalist noted that the new tablet's performance in this regard was the best he has ever tested. Mossberg was able to manage 12 hours of high definition video playback while multitasking with other apps like Mail.

"This new iPad isn't a radical rethinking of what a tablet can be, but it's a major improvement on a successful product," he says. "It is the best tablet I've ever reviewed."

Aside from the long battery life, Mossberg was impressed by the iPad's heft, or lack thereof.

As for downsides, Apple does not provide its own accessories, like a keyboard, for the iPad, and cost may be an issue for those with tight budgets. In the end, however, Mossberg recommended the iPad Air "hands down."

Are we all in agreement that "hands down" is the same as "thumbs up?"
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Wow Tim Stevens over at c|net gave it 4.5/5. Pretty amazing for a site that is so pro-Microsoft.

I emailed him twice while he was editor of Engadget due to what I perceive as an obnoxious anti-apple bias over there. I was really impressed that both times he gave a thoughtful response, although he didn't quite convince me that the bias wasn't there.

   

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post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Wow Tim Stevens over at c|net gave it 4.5/5. Pretty amazing for a site that is so pro-Microsoft.

 

Yeah, but steer clear of the comments section.  :wow: 

post #14 of 37
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post
Are we all in agreement that "hands down" is the same as "thumbs up?"

 

I was going to post a picture of hands down and thumbs up simultaneously, but then I remembered I only have two hands and can’t take a picture with my mouth.

post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatchyThePirate View Post

I emailed him twice while he was editor of Engadget due to what I perceive as an obnoxious anti-apple bias over there. I was really impressed that both times he gave a thoughtful response, although he didn't quite convince me that the bias wasn't there.
I actually think the Verge is more anti-Apple than Engadget these days (though the Verge usually gives Apple products good reviews), but the comments sections of all these sites blow big time. Obviously Apple fans have better things to do than troll tech site comment sections.
post #16 of 37

"The SIM slot, meanwhile, has been trimmed down to support nano-SIMs (instead of micro-SIM)".

 

Might be an issue for some.

Shut up and go away, you useless, pathetic FUDmonger - Tallest Skil
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Shut up and go away, you useless, pathetic FUDmonger - Tallest Skil
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post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by PScooter63 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Wow Tim Stevens over at c|net gave it 4.5/5. Pretty amazing for a site that is so pro-Microsoft.

Yeah, but steer clear of the comments section.  1eek.gif  

On the contrary, I savor the Cnet comments section. When I looked at it a few minutes ago, there were already nearly 1500 -- yes,1500! -- comments.

I find that reading the apoplectic frothing-at-the-mouth from a bunch of seeming basement-dwellers is really great for a chuckle.
post #18 of 37

Yes, they are busy working to afford the next great Apple product to be more productive and influential to their peers. The haters are drinking Red Bull and eating Doritos while listening to Cher in their parent's basement...

post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

On the contrary, I savor the Cnet comments section. When I looked at it a few minutes ago, there were already nearly 1500 -- yes,1500! -- comments.

I find that reading the apoplectic frothing-at-the-mouth from a bunch of seeming basement-dwellers is really great for a chuckle.
Only an Apple product could garner 1500 comments in just a couple hours. lol.gif
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Best reviews an iPad has received yet. And only dual core with 1GB ram. Best iPad design yet and didn't happen on Steve Jobs' watch. I hope the haters don't slit their wrists tonight. 1biggrin.gif

no, they're out in force pissing and moaning about their trivial fixations instead. gol, do those people need a life.

 

let's see how long it takes them to show up here ...

post #21 of 37
The reduction in power usage in the chips doesn't seem to account for all the gains in using a significantly smaller battery with the Retina display. AnandTech notes that the display uses less power than before but doesn't go into the why. I wonder if Apple is using IGZO technology but isn't advertising this new process.

I predict the Retina iPad Mini will use a clock rate closer to the iPhone 5S than that of the iPad Air in order to help keep it at around 10 hours. The smaller backlight alone doesn't seem enough to offset that lower battery size from the Air.
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

I actually think the Verge is more anti-Apple than Engadget these days (though the Verge usually gives Apple products good reviews), but the comments sections of all these sites blow big time. Obviously Apple fans have better things to do than troll tech site comment sections.

Yeah, they come here and troll other products and companies, even when they have nothing to do with the topic of discussion. Surprised I haven't come across a "samsung sucks" or "APPL is doomed!" post yet.
post #23 of 37

Noooooo! I don't want any positive comments until after I've got my iPad Air!!

post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The first reviews of Apple's new iPad Air starting coming out on Tuesday, and so far the consensus is incredibly positive, with tech journalists heaping praise on the recently announced tablet.



AllThingsD



The venerable Walt Mossberg.

Please, give me a fucking break. Why should we respect this idiot? Jobs used him and in return Mossy gave Apple glowing reviews.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


On the contrary, I savor the Cnet comments section. When I looked at it a few minutes ago, there were already nearly 1500 -- yes,1500! -- comments.

I find that reading the apoplectic frothing-at-the-mouth from a bunch of seeming basement-dwellers is really great for a chuckle.

Yuck!

 

I don't go to these sites (CNET, Verge). Went there only from Flipboard. Waste of my time I think.

post #26 of 37
I used to read the verge and engadget.. I went back the other day, and I didn't enjoy watching people talk about a company with such entitlement. Apple created the category of tablets, and they've got the best one out there, but I always feel like the reviewer has to throw in a negative spin to please the Apple haters. It's almost like they can't just post a glowing review anymore, because they'll get bashed in the comments section. It's very silly, I'd rather stick with a site that is upbeat. I have a brain, I can see when an Apple product doesn't have as much RAM as a competitor, or a large display, and their price can be on the high-end, but if you don't like it then buy from a competitor - there are many. Why sit around and hate that company all day? Why refute every positive comment in the comment section? Why insult them all day long? Is that all you use your android for? I'd rather enjoy myself and get information with an upbeat attitude. There are positives and negatives of every company, I don't want to be a part of brats who are continually prodding Apple to give us more more more, because although they have the best products on the market, we always want them to give us better, thinner, faster products for cheap! Yes I want more for less, but I can figure that out in my own - i don't need you mocking and shouting and jeering condescendingly. I don't have to beg apple or insult apple and everyone who uses there products.. I was in New York last week and saw a Diesel branded backpack for $240. It looked great. I can find a backpack for less money with more features. I'm not going to flood the comment section of every backpack site with hateful vitriol. And with apple, although they make better profit margins than most, they actually give you real benefits from using their products. Even if they didn't, I don't mind when a company makes profit from there hard work. It's nice to know that there's a company who has good margins for there good work. I can tell that even though they make these products for the masses, they're really doing it because they're proud to make a good product in a day and age where no good deed goes unpunished. And, I don't buy into the thought that no good deed goes unpunished these days, because outside of android fans alternate universe, Apple really is seeing another heyday.
post #27 of 37
NYT has the same issues I have with outdoor readability (note to Tallest Skil) but overall very good but not compelling enough to upgrade. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/30/technology/personaltech/ipad-air-is-lighter-thinner-and-faster.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
 
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(So Y is the new X?   Zzzzzzzzzz......)
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Where's the new Apple TV?
 
 
(So Y is the new X?   Zzzzzzzzzz......)
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post #28 of 37

It's using a whole third more RAM for the same things because of 64 bit, that's measured. 

 

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7460/apple-ipad-air-review

A lot of disgruntled iPad 1 owners will tell you lack of RAM is it's achilles heel, I hope this 30% increase in its RAM use with no increase in capacity doesn't hurt it. The old 1GB devices already had Safari kicking tabs out of memory way too fast, now it's 30% RAM heavier. 

 

People saying Mavericks like compression will help: Anand measured how much RAM was in use under load. If it was compressing something, it would have been factored into how much was used. Even if it is using compression, it's no magic cure. 

post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post
 

It's using a whole third more RAM for the same things because of 64 bit, that's measured. 

 

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7460/apple-ipad-air-review

A lot of disgruntled iPad 1 owners will tell you lack of RAM is it's achilles heel, I hope this 30% increase in its RAM use with no increase in capacity doesn't hurt it. The old 1GB devices already had Safari kicking tabs out of memory way too fast, now it's 30% RAM heavier. 

 

People saying Mavericks like compression will help: Anand measured how much RAM was in use under load. If it was compressing something, it would have been factored into how much was used. Even if it is using compression, it's no magic cure. 

 

What a FUD, Users shouldn't care about how much ram they got on their commodity device like phones, games console, tablet.   I've never heard anyone complain about the amount of RAM a game console have, because it doesn't matter as long software should take care of those constrain.  

 

Having more RAM won't make things faster, but drain more energy even when its unused.  Better have the right amount of ram for the right jobs, 1 GB is a lot considering NeXTStep was developed to run a 16 MB machine, Super Mario Bros fits in 12KB roms and need 2KB of ram to run, so times for developer to code more efficiently.  

post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

It's using a whole third more RAM for the same things because of 64 bit, that's measured. 


 
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7460/apple-ipad-air-review


A lot of disgruntled iPad 1 owners will tell you lack of RAM is it's achilles heel, I hope this 30% increase in its RAM use with no increase in capacity doesn't hurt it. The old 1GB devices already had Safari kicking tabs out of memory way too fast, now it's 30% RAM heavier. 


 

People saying Mavericks like compression will help: Anand measured how much RAM was in use under load. If it was compressing something, it would have been factored into how much was used. Even if it is using compression, it's no magic cure. 

The original iPad's low RAM was apparent right away but don't conflate that initial device's shortcomings as proof that Apple has done it again with the iPad Air. Note the iPad Air has 4x the RAM and that iOS 7 runs perfectly fine on the iPad 2. If the iPad Air and earlier can't run iOS 8 next year I'll complete concede to your point, but I doubt that will be the case. In fact, it probably won't be until iOS X that the iPad Air won't be included.
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMac2 View Post
 

 

What a FUD, Users shouldn't care about how much ram they got on their commodity device like phones, games console, tablet.   I've never heard anyone complain about the amount of RAM a game console have, because it doesn't matter as long software should take care of those constrain.  

 

Having more RAM won't make things faster, but drain more energy even when its unused.  Better have the right amount of ram for the right jobs, 1 GB is a lot considering NeXTStep was developed to run a 16 MB machine, Super Mario Bros fits in 12KB roms and need 2KB of ram to run, so times for developer to code more efficiently.  



It's not FUD if I'm speaking from experience. I'm already annoyed by my 1GB iOS devices. 

 

Bringing up what ancient machines had or games used brings nothing to this discussion. In 2013, 1GB causes Safari to boot tabs out of main memory like crazy, and even one heavy duty modern game will boot all other apps from memory and will reload itself after going to the home screen, that's all I need to know. 

post #32 of 37
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post
In 2013, 1GB causes Safari to boot tabs out of main memory like crazy, that's all I need to know. 


You missed his main point.

 

Originally Posted by BigMac2 View Post

…so times for developer to code more efficiently.  

 

Also, doesn’t Apple have a patent on new RAM that only powers what’s in use?

post #33 of 37

What time does the iPad 5 go for sale online on 11-1-13 ?  I'd like to get my order in early.  

 

The physical stores open at 8AM but my closest store is 2 hours away.

 

Friday online sales at 12:01 AM  ---- or 8 AM --- ???

Photoshop User 2
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Photoshop User 2
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post #34 of 37
Looking forward now to the iPad 6 with a quad core A8 processor, double graphics performance (yet again), fingerprint sensor, 8 megapixel camera, 2 GB RAM, super fast eSATA flash storage and iOS 8 with a real file system and desktop features. I would not be surprised to see keyboard covers from Apple as well to turn it into a true laptop computer for those that want to use it that way. It's only a year away now.
post #35 of 37
Originally Posted by GrangerFX View Post
eSATA flash storage


You mean PCIe, except it won’t be.

 
…a real file system and desktop features. 

 

Yeah, this isn’t happening, ever, and you should know that by now. It has a real file system. You are never getting access to it.

 
I would not be surprised to see keyboard covers from Apple as well to turn it into a true laptop computer

 

Do you know anything at all about Apple? Have you ever seen their products? How about a keynote, did you see any of those?

post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post
 



It's not FUD if I'm speaking from experience. I'm already annoyed by my 1GB iOS devices. 

 

Bringing up what ancient machines had or games used brings nothing to this discussion. In 2013, 1GB causes Safari to boot tabs out of main memory like crazy, and even one heavy duty modern game will boot all other apps from memory and will reload itself after going to the home screen, that's all I need to know. 

 

I've been a iPad 1, 2 and 3 owner, I've play with jailbreaked iOS device since the original iPhone and  I've surfed the net with NCSA Mosaic alpha and a 1200 bauds modem.  I don't think you've got a good idea of how much resources you really needs for running apps, developer do, users usually don't (when is the last time you've check your page ins-page outs value on your iPad ?).  Beside what is the problems with swap out from ram background and inactive apps and reload back from flash memory? If there is a real problem here why it doesn't concern game console?  Apple developer guides line are pretty explicit on limits developer need to consider and got the most homogenous mobile platforms, for any software issues there is no one else to blame than developers. 

 

I haven't seen yet a iOS developer blogs saying they don't have enough resource to play with when it compare with Android ecosystem. 


Edited by BigMac2 - 10/31/13 at 12:01pm
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Also, doesn’t Apple have a patent on new RAM that only powers what’s in use?

 

I saw that patent, Like many Apple patent I don't know if any iDevice is using it yet.   I'm still waiting for liquid metal casing, self charging device with solar panel on the back and multi layer display. 

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