Tuesday, May 7, 2024

iPad Air (6th Generation)

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Apple today announced the redesigned 11-inch and all-new 13-inch iPad Air, supercharged by the M2 chip. Now available in two sizes for the first time, the 11-inch iPad Air is super-portable, and the 13-inch model provides an even larger display for more room to work, learn, and play. […] The front-facing Ultra Wide 12MP camera with Center Stage is now located along the landscape edge of iPad Air, which is perfect for video calls. It also includes faster Wi-Fi, and cellular models include super-fast 5G, so users can stay connected on the go. […] The new iPad Air is available in new blue and purple finishes, along with starlight and space gray. The 11-inch iPad Air still starts at just $599, and the 13-inch iPad Air is a fantastic value at just $799.

The base storage has increased to 128 GB. Why is this still called Air when it’s thicker and heavier than the Pro?


Update (2024-05-08): Jason Snell:

This time around, that’s been taken to an extreme: the 11- and new 13-inch iPad Air are identical in size to the old (2018-2022) iPad Pro models. Apple’s literally re-using those old models, with only some minor feature variations. There’s no Mini-LED HDR display on the 13-inch model as there was on the M1 and M2 versions, nor is there a Face ID sensor; if you want a keyboard, the 2020-era Magic Keyboard will suffice.


One disappointing note: Apple continues its trend of removing color from its products as they escalate in price. The iPad Air’s colors were subtle before, but they’re vanishingly distinguishable now. On Tuesday, I sat not two feet away from two iPad Airs in blue and purple, and, reader, I could not tell that they were not silver.

Hartley Charlton:

This breakdown also serves as a way to clearly see all the differences that the new iPad Air brings to the table.

Dan Moren:

Where Apple has de-muddied the lineup, though, is in the mid-range. Previously, once you went higher than the paltry base of 64GB storage on the iPad Air, you quickly got into entry-level iPad Pro territory, then forcing you to make a more complex decision between more capacity and more capability at around the same price point. Rather than the simplicity of a decision based around more storage for more money, customers instead had to weight the ability to store more photos vs. Face ID which…how do you even?

In the new lineup, that’s not really a problem. The base-level iPad Airs now boast an acceptable 128GB of storage and are still priced well below an iPad Pro. You’ve go to go up to the top-tier iPad Airs before you really start competing with base level iPad Pros—which is as it should be.

Update (2024-05-16): Juli Clover:

The new iPad Air is set to come out on Wednesday, May 15, and prior to launch, members of the media have shared their first iPad Air impressions.

5 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Yeah Apple can paint themselves into corners with their names. Maybe they should add ‘Air’ to the Pro line and rename the Airs as something heavier than air like… sulphur dioxide (ツ)

iPad Lighter-than-Air? But I guess iPad Blimp and iPad Zeppelin (not to mention iPad Hindenburg) have the wrong connotations.

Speaking of names, I don't think Apple actually calls it the iPad Air (6th Generation) or iPad Pro (7th Generation). They say "iPad Air M2" and "iPad Pro M4", for example on their Pencil page: https://www.apple.com/us-edu/shop/select-apple-pencil. I think this is a nice reset. After 3 or 4 "generations" it gets confusing enough, but even worse was the two sizes of Pro released at the same time didn't share the same generation since the 11-inch wasn't released until the 3rd generation of the 12.9.

Also glad 13-inch replaced 12.9. They don't call MacBook models 13.3-inch or 13.6-inch or whatever (or the new iPad Pro 11.1-inch). And I've heard Apple informally refer to the 12.9 as 13 but not in writing.

iPad Air hasn't felt like an "Air" since generation 2 or 3. The models after the redesign are tangibly heavier and feel thicker in the hand because of the flat-edged design, even though they have the same body thickness (I measured them against each other just to convince myself of this, because even holding them side by side the newer models feel thicker).

Air is just apple marketing speak for "cheaper" like SE is.

Or, if you were shopping for the standard iPad, Air means "more expensive".

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