Apple’s new iPad might be identical to the iPad Air 2 it replaces, but don’t be fooled by how sleek and slender it looks in official photos.
The new slate is noticeably thicker and heavier than its predecessor.
Starting at $329, the new iPad is Apple’s most affordable 9.7-inch tablet to date. And you’re getting a pretty decent package for your money. It boasts the same A9 processor from the iPhone 6s, 32GB of storage as standard, and an 8-megapixel iSight camera.
There’s also a 128GB model for just $429, which is only $30 more than the iPad mini 4 (a complete ripoff now), and Wi-Fi + Cellular models that cost $459 with 32GB of storage, and $559 with 128GB of storage.
But it’s not all good news. It turns out that rather than using the slimmer iPad Air 2 unibody, Apple has brought back the original iPad Air’s design. It’s 7.5mm thick, and weighs 469 grams without LTE (478 grams with LTE).
In comparison, the iPad Air 2 measured just 6.1mm thin — 1mm slimmer than the iPhone 7 — and weighed 437 grams without LTE (444 grams with LTE).
It’s not clear why Apple chose to use the thicker form factor, which will force iPad Air 2 owners to buy new cases and accessories if they upgrade. It could be that the new model is powered by a slightly bigger battery, but we’ll have to wait until it’s torn down to find out.