As the iPad heads towards celebrating almost a decade on the market, it is impressive that Apple’s premium tablet computer is still thriving. The market for tablets has been eroded by big screen smartphones such as Apple’s own iPhone X, yet the latest iPad Air shows that there are still plenty of reasons to choose this type of device as a laptop alternative and a mobile supplement.
Launched this month, the all-new iPad Air is not as groundbreaking as it might at first seem, largely because many of its hardware features are borrowed from the two year old iPad Pro 10.5.
This might seem indicative of stagnated innovation, or perhaps a sign that Apple is looking to get rid of surplus components by repackaging them in a shiny new skin, but in reality, it represents a great deal for users. The greatest benefit is the price; by taking away the ‘Pro’ tag and relying on slightly older specs, the iPad Air comes in at under £500, dramatically undercutting the device upon which it is based.
There are also the usual array of accessories and add-ons that Apple provides to make it even more productive and practical, rather than purely acting as a web-browsing and game-playing device. The keyboard is a steep £159 and if you want the smart stylus to go along with it, you will pay £89. Clearly, good tablet insurance to pre-empt any disasters from dealing a blow to your bank account is a good idea, given that you may end up spending a lot more to get the full iPad Air experience.
Another benefit that results from the new iPad Air effectively aping the specs of the older iPad Pro is that it still offers the 3.5mm heaphone jack that has been gradually disappearing from a number of Apple’s gadgets in recent years. Those who want to listen to music and watch videos in privacy without investing in an adaptor or opting for wireless earbuds will be pleased to discover that this is present.
One area in which Apple has not skimped is the processor. The iPad Air sports the A12 chipset which is far more powerful and efficient than that in the iPad Pro upon which so much of the new device is based. The upshot of this is that not only will apps run faster and the interface will feel snappier, but the battery life will be prolonged, with the iPad Air claimed to run for around 10 hours between charges.
Of course, technology is notoriously fallible and having decent UK gadget insurance to provide coverage if some attention is needed further down the line once the manufacturer’s warranty has expired may be a good idea.
In all, the latest iteration of the iPad Air is a worthy new entrant to a tough market, without being entirely groundbreaking. Which is arguably all it needs to be in order to win over anyone looking to upgrade from an older Apple tablet.