Tuesday, September 15, 2020

iPad 8 and iPad Air

Apple (MacRumors):

Apple today introduced the eighth-generation iPad, featuring the powerful A12 Bionic chip that brings the Neural Engine to the entry iPad for the first time. Starting at just $329, the upgrade packs even more value into the most popular and affordable iPad, featuring a stunning 10.2-inch Retina display, advanced cameras, and great all-day battery life.

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Apple today introduced an all-new iPad Air — the most powerful, versatile, and colorful iPad Air ever. Now available in five gorgeous finishes, iPad Air features an all-screen design with a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, camera and audio upgrades, a new integrated Touch ID sensor in the top button, and the powerful A14 Bionic for a massive boost in performance, making this by far the most powerful and capable iPad Air ever made.


Wi-Fi models of iPad Air will be available with a starting price of $599 (US) and Wi-Fi + Cellular models start at $729 (US). The new iPad Air, in 64GB and 256GB configurations, will be available in five beautiful finishes including silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue.

Here’s the event coverage.


Update (2020-09-16): Gene Munster:

Biggest news saved for last: iPad Air priced at $599 is up from previous $499 price. Evidence that Apple continues to experience huge iPad demand and company confident that the 20% price increase won’t slow that down. We estimate iPad is 11% of total revenue and iPad Air is 4%.

David Ruddock:

Re: Education

iPad being 6x faster than the “best selling chromebook” is meaningless as long as iPads are comparatively expensive ($300 + keyboard + case), fragile, and ridiculously difficult to administer on the IT side.

Nothing about today changes any of that.

Update (2020-09-17): John Gruber:

But what’s most remarkable about the new iPad Air are two technical firsts: it’s the first device with an A14-series SoC and the first Apple device with a Touch ID sensor in the power button.


Touch ID in the iPad Air’s power button raises the question of whether that might be true for the iPhone 12 as well — not as a replacement for Face ID but as a face-mask-friendly supplement to it. I’m going to guess no. I think this pandemic struck far too late for ubiquitous face-mask-wearing to factor into Apple’s design for the iPhone 12. But it’s interesting to think that the mid-range iPad now has a feature millions of people would rather see in high-end iPhones.

Mark Wilson:

The button looks like just the sort of micro engineering feat that Apple is so good at. It’s comprised of a laser-cut sapphire top (a hard glass, essentially), a tiny stainless steel frame, and a rectangular sensor underneath. But on the outside, it looks and works pretty much like the Apple power button always has. There’s no aesthetic compromise or new gesture for the user to learn. It’s simply a boring old component given an apropos upgrade. (In fairness to who did it first, Samsung has a similar button in its Galaxy S10e.)

Craig Grannell:

Now the iPad Air has USB-C out, Apple’s seeming reluctance regarding full external display support for iPad is increasingly baffling. Surely the ideal should be to position the iPad as a fully modular device that promotes strong ergonomics?

Jason Snell:

But in scrupulously adhering to the comparisons to the A12, Apple is not telling us how much faster the base A14 processor—likely the foundation of the next generation of iPad Pro models and possibly even the first round of Macs running Apple Silicon—is compared to its immediate [predecessor].


I don’t think Apple’s doing this because it’s not proud of the A14. (On the contrary, Apple seems very aware of how important this chip is, including the fact that it’s Apple’s first to be manufactured using Taiwan Semiconductor’s new 5-nanometer process.) No, this is about leaving some space for Apple’s forthcoming iPhone launch event to boast a bit more about the A14.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

I'm an admin at school district with about 67,000 iPads.

Schools don't pay $300 retail for an iPad in bulk. High quality cases in bulk are extremely reasonable and Apple waives the AppleCare "copay" when the cases were used. And in 2020 there are plenty of quality MDMs to choose from. If Apple came out with a competitive MDM of their own, everyone would bitch that Apple was sherlocking everyone.

All of my friends' kids are being given Chromebooks by their school districts. Not a single iPad. I can see why: they're cheaper, much sturdier than a tablet, and apparently very well supported for Education uses. Apple lost the Education segment through their own neglect of it for many years. Google saw the opportunity and took it -- all while Apple still sat around and did nothing significant for Education users and never fully followed through on the promises that they did make.

I might be wrong, probably am, but I think the REAL reason chromebooks "won" is the over-the-top focus these days on standardized testing and the how important "keyboarding" still is in K12. Didn't help that Edu wasn't a priority for Apple but not sure it would have mattered even if it was.

Chromebooks were in the right place at the right time with their keyboard, price point and ability to run the tests. I honestly think everything else pales compared to "does it meet our requirements for testing and is it super cheap?"

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