The iPad Air 4 brings the most significant changes to this tablet since it debuted. The display expanded to 10.9 inches, even as the screen bezels shrank. There’s plenty of other new features too, like USB-C. And new colors and better cameras.
But all these enhancements come with a significant price increase.
iPad Air 4 borrows heavily from the iPad Pro
The original iPad Air had a 9.7-inch screen. Last year, that jumped up to 10.5 inches. And now it’s gone to nearly 11 inches. With the bezels nearly eliminated, this tablet has the look of the iPad Pro series.
And speaking of Apple’s top-tier models, this device copies the Pro series with a USB-C port in place of the Lightning port. This allows multiport hubs to be used with this a tablet, easily adding USB-A ports, HDMI or Ethernet.
The iPad Air 4 can use the upgraded second-generation Apple Pencil ($129) designed for the iPad Pro. This clips to the side of the tablet for storage and charging too. The computer will come running iPadOS 14, which includes multiple new features for stylus users, like Scribble handwriting recognition.
The tablet very slender, and comes with new color options. There’s the usual Space Grey, Silver or Gold, and Green and Blue options have been added.
With the screen taking up nearly the entire front of the iPad Air 4, there’s no room for a Home button. This forced Apple to move the Touch ID fingerprint scanner to the power button.
There’s a single-rear-facing 12 MP camera, another upgrade. And the front-facing camera is 7 MP, a significant upgrade. Plus there’s a Smart Connector specifically for Apple’s Smart Keyboard. And four speakers, double the number from its predecessor.
Bring on the Apple A14
“Today we’re excited to introduce a completely redesigned and far more powerful iPad Air, debuting Apple’s most powerful chip ever made, the A14 Bionic,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
The iPad Air 4 is the first computer of any type unveiled with this 5nm processor, which is also expected to be in the iPhone 12. Apple promises it’ll make the new tablet 40% faster than its predecessor.
New features bring higher cost
With 64 GB of storage, the Pad Air 4 costs $599. That’s a $100 jump from the price of the 2019 model.
An upgrade to 256 GB will be available, but pricing for this version has not yet been announced. Adding 4G LTE to either version increases the cost by $129. Apple says it will launch this device next month, but didn’t give an exact date.
Tuesday’s unveiling of this tablet came via a glitzy virtual event, without the usual press in attendance. Those are on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. This same event brought a new version of the basic iPad upgraded with a faster processor.