Apple's redesigned iPad Air sports 10.9-inch display, A14 Bionic chip

Posted:
in iPad edited January 21
Apple has used its "Time Flies" event to launch the fourth-generation iPad Air, an update to the tablet that adds a larger 10.9-inch display and updates the physical design to bring it in line with the iPad Pro range.

Apple's new iPad Air lineup
Apple's new iPad Air lineup


Appearing during the presentation as part of a series of product launches, the iPad Air 4 refreshes the tablet a year and a half after the iPad Air 3's introduction in March 2019. Just as that model brought with it a few design changes borrowed from the iPad Pro line that departed from the value-oriented iPad range, the 2020 update brings with it more changes.

iPad Air 4 key features

  • 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display
  • Touch ID in top button
  • A14 Bionic SoC
  • Front 7MP camera with Smart HDR
  • Rear 12MP camera with 4K60 video
  • 10 Hour battery life
  • USB-C
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 60% faster LTE
  • Ships October from $599
The primary update to the model is its display, as while last year's version went from the signature 9.7-inch iPad screen size to a 10.5-inch version, Apple has gone one stage further. For the fourth-generation model, Apple has elected to use a 10.9-inch laminated screen, at a resolution of 2,360 by 1,650, which also includes P3 Wide Color and TrueTone support.

Apple removed the Home button from the iPad Air, shifting Touch ID to the top button.
Apple removed the Home button from the iPad Air, shifting Touch ID to the top button.


The change in screen has led to a major change for Apple that was often brought up in rumors, in that there is no longer a home button on the front of the device. Rather than going down the route of using Face ID, like the iPad Pro line does, Apple simply moved Touch ID to function from the top button instead, so users can be authenticated at the same time as turning the iPad Air on.

To match the new display, the physical appearance of the iPad Air has been given an overhaul that brings it in line with the iPad Pro range. Rather than a curved back, the iPad Air now has flat sides with more defined edges, making it look similar to the 11-inch iPad Pro.

The iPad Air with the iPadOS home screen
The iPad Air with the iPadOS home screen


Powering the iPad Air is the A14 Bionic chip. The chip improves on the processing performance of its predecessor, the A13, as well as the A12 used in the previous version of the iPad Air.

On the front is a 7-megapixel camera with Smart HDR, improved low-light performance, and 1080p video capture at 60fps. Around the back is an improved 12-megapixel camera, with 4K 60fps support, 240fps slo-mo, and improved video stabilization.

The rear camera on the iPad Air has been upgraded to a 12-megapixel sensor
The rear camera on the iPad Air has been upgraded to a 12-megapixel sensor


Battery life for the model is comparable to earlier iterations, with Apple continuing to rate it as good for around 10 hours of usage.

As part of the device changes, Apple has departed from using Lightning to power and connect the iPad Air to accessories in favor of a USB-C connection. This long-rumored change borrows the idea from the iPad Pro directly and could help users employ the iPad Air more as a workstation than ever before.

Since Lightning has gone, Apple has had to update how it uses the Apple Pencil, as it can't recharge the original version using the Lightning connector on the stylus with the iPad. Instead, the iPad Air includes support for the Apple Pencil 2, complete with iPad Pro-style wireless charging on the side.

The size of the iPad Air and its re-located smart connector allow it to connect to the existing 11-inch Magic Keyboard accessory made for the 11-inch iPad Pro.

The new iPad Air supports the Magic Keyboard and the second-generation Apple Pencil.
The new iPad Air supports the Magic Keyboard and the second-generation Apple Pencil.


Connectivity support extends to Wi-Fi 6, while LTE is said to be 60% faster than in earlier models.

Continuing Apple's work on energy efficiency and environmental work, the iPad Air is made from a 100% recycled aluminum enclosure, while solder on the logic board uses 100% recycled tin. The speakers use magnets with 100% recycled rare earth elements, the tablet is also free of harmful substances, and even uses wood fiber packaging that is either recycled or is sourced from responsibly-managed forests.

Apple will start to make the iPad Air available in October in 30 countries and regions, including the United States. Offered in 64GB and 256GB configurations in silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue colors, the models will start from $599 for the Wi-Fi version $729 with cellular.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 75
    A14 5nm sounds amazing. 40% more transistors than A13. 

    (I'm still LOL'ing at that joker the other day who claimed Apple isn't designing its own chips because they bought PA Semiconductor 12 years ago!)
    tmayBeatsroundaboutnowpscooter63mike1lkruppjdb8167watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 75
    So, I just bout a 11” iPad Pro a few days ago (still unopened). What distinguishes the product lines now?  Makes
    no sense. 
    razorpit
  • Reply 3 of 75
    A14 is only hexacore. Strange. Was certain that it was going to be octa-core. Hexacore is good enough to replace the i3 and i5 in the Mac Mini and MacBook Air, but for MacBook Pro and iMac they are going to need an octacore design at minimum.
    lkrupp
  • Reply 4 of 75
    So is the iPad Air now more powerful than the iPad Pro?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 75
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,556member
    cloudguy said:
    A14 is only hexacore. Strange. Was certain that it was going to be octa-core. Hexacore is good enough to replace the i3 and i5 in the Mac Mini and MacBook Air, but for MacBook Pro and iMac they are going to need an octacore design at minimum.
    CloudDude, the A series SOC isn't going to be used in any production Mac, so you can stop clutching your pearls.
    cloudguyrandominternetpersonStrangeDaysBeatspscooter63aderutterGG1lkruppjdb8167spock1234
  • Reply 6 of 75
    tmay said:
    cloudguy said:
    A14 is only hexacore. Strange. Was certain that it was going to be octa-core. Hexacore is good enough to replace the i3 and i5 in the Mac Mini and MacBook Air, but for MacBook Pro and iMac they are going to need an octacore design at minimum.
    CloudDude, the A series SOC isn't going to be used in any production Mac, so you can stop clutching your pearls.
    I have read in various places that it was. Some have said that it would not be, but more places have stated that it would be than would not. Do you have a link? Thanks.
  • Reply 7 of 75
    So, I just bout a 11” iPad Pro a few days ago (still unopened). What distinguishes the product lines now?  Makes
    no sense. 
    Pro offers a (slightly) larger screen and larger storage capacities (and a higher price).  Yeah, the Air eats the Pro's lunch.
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 75
    we should not only concern about the core count. as we know, not all application takes advantages of a multi core processor. This apple chip should have a higher per core efficient so that it must be more powerful than the last gen. it is not like math 1+1 core = 2 core, you will need to take the architecture into your consideration. just a simple example, when comparing a 2010 Xeon 2x6 core processor with the i5-1038NG7 (quad core), the result will be that they perform similar rather than the Xeon perform 3 times better. IT IS BETTER THAN THE CHIP INSIDE THE MacBook Pro ALREADY!!!!!!!!! really excited for the A14X
    Beatsspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 75
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    cloudguy said:
    A14 is only hexacore. Strange. Was certain that it was going to be octa-core. Hexacore is good enough to replace the i3 and i5 in the Mac Mini and MacBook Air, but for MacBook Pro and iMac they are going to need an octacore design at minimum.
    CloudDude, the A series SOC isn't going to be used in any production Mac, so you can stop clutching your pearls.
    I have read in various places that it was. Some have said that it would not be, but more places have stated that it would be than would not. Do you have a link? Thanks.
    Nobody has a link to prove it, but common sense says they aren't going to use their iPad SOC in their brand new desktop offerings. Come on, now.
    tmayroundaboutnowpscooter63randominternetpersonspock1234muthuk_vanalingamrazorpitwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 10 of 75
    So, I just bout a 11” iPad Pro a few days ago (still unopened). What distinguishes the product lines now?  Makes
    no sense. 
    Promotion and better cameras?  I think really about it. I’d get the air all day long for now.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 75
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,556member
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    cloudguy said:
    A14 is only hexacore. Strange. Was certain that it was going to be octa-core. Hexacore is good enough to replace the i3 and i5 in the Mac Mini and MacBook Air, but for MacBook Pro and iMac they are going to need an octacore design at minimum.
    CloudDude, the A series SOC isn't going to be used in any production Mac, so you can stop clutching your pearls.
    I have read in various places that it was. Some have said that it would not be, but more places have stated that it would be than would not. Do you have a link? Thanks.
    Really think about it. Why would Apple use an iPhone SOC optimized around a nominal 5W TDP in a notebook or desktop machine?

    I do remember that one of the Apple presenters during WWDC implied/stated that Mac's would use all new silicon, and I extrapolate that to mean that these would not be A series, including the A14. I'm not going to go look for that, since it just doesn't matter today.

    Patience.
    StrangeDaysBeatsaderutterGG1randominternetpersonspock1234muthuk_vanalingamrazorpitwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 12 of 75
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,692member
    iPad Air was really the star of the show!

    What a surprise!
  • Reply 13 of 75
    I’d guess my only pause is the Touch ID implementation. Those edge ID system  identifiers haven’t got a very good history. It leaves the Pro in the mix for me (along with the higher storage options as I’m a photographer who’d like the backup and my full frame dSLR, currently a d850, generates huge image files I shoot thousands of on road trips). 

    Well the tech details will be interesting. They are close, Apple usually doesn’t make that mistake, an
    iPad Pro update on the horizon?
    spock1234razorpit
  • Reply 14 of 75
    JFC_PA said:
    I’d guess my only pause is the Touch ID implementation. Those edge ID system  identifiers haven’t got a very good history. It leaves the Pro in the mix for me (along with the higher storage options as I’m a photographer who’d like the backup and my full frame dSLR, currently a d850, generates huge image files I shoot thousands of on road trips). 

    Well the tech details will be interesting. They are close, Apple usually doesn’t make that mistake, an
    iPad Pro update on the horizon?
    With any luck, in a month or two... or three?
    JFC_PArazorpitwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 15 of 75
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,556member
    JFC_PA said:
    I’d guess my only pause is the Touch ID implementation. Those edge ID system  identifiers haven’t got a very good history. It leaves the Pro in the mix for me (along with the higher storage options as I’m a photographer who’d like the backup and my full frame dSLR, currently a d850, generates huge image files I shoot thousands of on road trips). 

    Well the tech details will be interesting. They are close, Apple usually doesn’t make that mistake, an
    iPad Pro update on the horizon?
    Given the time that Apple has had to develop power button Touch ID, I wouldn't be too concerned. This to me would be the preferred solution alongside Face ID for iPhone use in the continuing COVID-19 era.
    BeatsaderutterJFC_PAStrangeDaysfallenjtspock1234patchythepiraterazorpitwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 16 of 75
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,612member
    Why the F* this company do no wrong ? I am waiting it to mess up so I can buy lots of AAPL with both hands. Well, that may not happen so I will settle with upgrading from my old Air 2 to this 4th Gen iPad.
     

    randominternetpersonspock1234watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 17 of 75
    So, I just bout a 11” iPad Pro a few days ago (still unopened). What distinguishes the product lines now?  Makes
    no sense. 
    Pro offers a (slightly) larger screen and larger storage capacities (and a higher price).  Yeah, the Air eats the Pro's lunch.
    I thought the Pros offered higher brightness, too.  (Maybe I’m conflating that with the laptop lines.)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 75
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,692member
    Before the announcement I joked that iPad Air will get A14 and iPhone will get A14X this year. Surprised half of the joke's been confirmed!
    harry wild
  • Reply 19 of 75
    thttht Posts: 4,202member
    I would have bought 2 of these if they were available in July. The iPad Pro 11, both the 2018 and 2020 models, are still very very good though.

    Maybe the wife gets an iPad Air 4 for the holidays though. ;)

    Curious to see how the A14 will perform. It probably only has 4 GB of RAM? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 75
    I like the light green color iPad Air color.  Iam hoping it will be one of the colors for 5.4” iPhone 12!
    Beatstmayrandominternetpersonspock1234watto_cobra
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