Apple Announces 64-Bit ‘iPad Air’ - Ships November 1st [Update]

| Product News

SAN FRANCISCO - Apple announced the iPad Air on Tuesday, a thinner version of the company's flagship iPad that is powered by the 64-bit A7 processor that also powers the iPhone 5s. The device is thinner that the iPad 4, weighs only a pound, starts at the same price as the iPad 4, and will ship on November 1st.

Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller with iPad Air

Apple said that the device is 20 percent thinner than its predecessor and weighs 28 percent less. The devices also have a narrower bezel (the area around the display where you hold it), making it narrower, as well.

Dave Hamilton handled one of the devices and said that the "Air" name was quit justified, and that it is demonstrably lighter to hold than its predecessors.

It features the same 2048 x 1536 Retina Display first introduced in the iPad 3 and then again in the iPad 4. It's also the same resolution as the new iPad mini with Retina Display that was also announced on Tuesday.

iPad Air

iPad Air

iPad Air includes Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology, a way of using multiple antennas for improved Wi-Fi performance. Apple said this device offers twice the performance as its predecessor.

On the camera side, Apple is using a 720p FaceTime camera in front and a 5-megapixel iSight camera on back.

A 16GB iPad Air is priced at $499, with 32GB ($599), 64GB ($699), and 128GB ($799) models available. Wi-Fi + cellular models are $129 more.

The iPad 2 remains for sale at $399.

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iPad mini retina: 0.73 lb
iPad mini (non-retina): 0.68 lb
iPad 2: 1.33 lb
iPad Air: 1.0 lb

(Specs for wifi-only models.)

My iPad Retina (3rd gen) feels significantly heavier than my iPad mini. Other factors: the mini has an Apple smart cover while the iPad Retina has a full case; the iPad Retina is larger thus has more torque with weight further away from my hand if I hold it at the base.

Do I want an iPad Air and use a lighter cover-only case? Or do I want an iPad mini Retina because it’s still lighter and is a more portable size too?


It’s also interesting that they still keep the iPad 2 around. It looks like the non-retina iPad min and the iPad 2 both use the A5 processor. So are maybe that factors into their supply chain.  The iPad Air and the iPad mini Retina both have 64-bit A7. 

Are they dropping A6? ... 4s is A5, 5s is A7, but 5c is A6. So, no they still have A6 in their production chain.

From a development point of view, I’ve had more performance trouble from the iPad Retina 3rd gen than from the iPad mini since buffers to which I render in a couple apps are much larger on the Retina device but the processing power isn’t greater by as much.  Good thing the iPad mini Retina has the latest processor tech.


iPad Air? Really,... Air? I guess they are trying to differentiate it from the lower cost iPad 2, but by giving it the ‘Air’ moniker implies that it is a new model or is now drastically lighter or a bigger one is to come. And maybe that last bit could come true (there have been rumors of Apple testing a 14” iPad), but it seems pointless at this time. Also, I’d say Apple might be confusing customers new to the iPad ecosystem. Both Air and Mini imply small, light and derived from a heavier, full version.


I’d be ordering one this instant but can’t. Oh the next week and a half will go by so slowly…

Bryan Chaffin

Out of curiousity, geoduck, what do you have now?


iPad2 and a 4th Gen iPod*. The iPad2 stays with my wife, who just got a new iPhone5C. The iPod will likely stay on my nightstand as a clock-radio.

*Plus a couple of MacBooks of course

Bryan Chaffin

I asked because I’m curious about whether iPad 3 and 4 owners will feel compelled to upgrade.


Bryan, my iPad 4 will be going to my wife. I am buying the Air for myself. Lest anyone think this is unfair; she has a gold 5s while I have a black 5 iPhone. We can now give away or sell our white MacBook.

Bryan Chaffin

skipaq, do you have another Mac (or PC) in the house, or will you be iPad-only?


We have an iMac; but will likely sell that and by a 13” MacBook Air. We will free up a lot of space. Mavericks makes the Air very interesting since we can also use our HDTV plus Apple TV as additional monitor space when needed. We should end up with a new laptop, 2 iPads and 2iPhones with a big gain in space in our little home.


Bryan et al:

Greetings from the field. I’m just catching up to Apple’s announcements that happened while I was sleeping.

I currently have the iPad Retina 3rd gen. I’ve had nothing but excellent performance from it, which I use in the field as a workhorse, supplanting many of the tasks I would do with my laptop (a 2013 MB Pro 15” Core i7 0.75 TB SSD and 16GB RAM). Make no mistake. I am ordering the iPad Air - fully configured. Space grey, 128 GB Cellular (AT&T) as soon as they open up orders on 01 NOV. My current iPad will go to a relative.

Don’t get me started on my wish list of other new Apple products. I’ve got some convincing to do when I get home.

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