Apple announced the release of a $499 iPad Air yesterday. We’ve not had a hands-on with the machine but on first look it appears like a slightly larger iPad Mini. The iPad Air looks more beautiful – cleaner bezels and much thinner.
Though not as portable as the iPad Mini, the iPad Air at 7.55 mm thickness certainly feels much better in one hand compared to the previous iPads. Apple’s clearly trying to turn the iPad into a device you would want to take outside your home.
Like the new iPhone 5S, it also uses an A7 processor and a lot of improvements. It should be a delight to use iMovie, iPhoto and graphics-heavy games on the iPad Air. Apple also announced a higher resolution iPad Mini priced slightly higher than the previous non-retina version. This version will also have the A7 processor so picking a smaller screen iPad Mini no longer means picking an inferior product. Both the iPads also have the M7 motion co-processor saving battery power by not using the main processor for sensors like gyroscope and accelerometer. But the co-processor makes less sense on a tablet compared to a smartphone.
Considering Microsoft (Surface Pro and Surface 2), Nokia and Amazon.com plugging rival devices in the near future, the iPad Mini and iPad Air are up for some stiff competition. But the updates to iPad Mini make sure it gives serious competition to Google’s Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy tabs and the Kindle HDX.
The most unexpected part of the news were the name of the new iPad and omission of things like the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. And yet again, Apple shows how serious they are about China as an emerging market with a Day One iPad Air launch in the country.
Apple also showed off the new high-powered cylindrical desktop computer, the Mac Pro they had announced during WWDC 2013. It will be priced at $2999 and will be made available starting December 2013.