So this past week we took the plunge with my wife and I replacing our iPad 2 and iPad 3 with the iPad Air.
The first thing I noticed when opening the box is just how much smaller the iPad looks. Apple took a decent chunk off of the bezels on the sides and have thinned the device overall giving it those chamfered edges to bring it in line with the design philosophy of the iPhone 5S and this makes a big difference to the way that the iPad looks, in my opinion improving its aesthetics even further on what was already in my opinion the best looking tablet device on the market. Now it pretty much blows everything else away in terms of looks.
Then when you lift it up there’s the weight difference. I have gone from an iPad 3 (which was heavier than iPad 2) to the Air and I have noticed a huge difference. It is now much more comfortable to hold for longer periods of time. As I use iBooks a lot for reading so this is a massive plus for me so it’s a big tick in the win column. As you can see its now no thicker than a bIro. That’s mightily impressive!
Next up is the interface that is iOS7. This is proving to be a marmite style OS where you either love it or hate it. Fortunately for me I am firmly in the ‘love it’ camp. iOS6 was starting to look a little old compared to some of the other OS that are out there so this new version is a welcome breath of fresh air.
My favourite addition by far is the Control Centre. Whilst it’s less useful on my iPad, on my iPhone it’s invaluable being able to access the switch to turn on Airplane mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, Orientation lock, brightness, volume, Airdrop, Airplay, Camera and the Clock app all with one swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Over the life of the device this is going to have saved me a decent chunk of time having to hunt through settings for some of these options and anything that saves me time and makes life easier sounds pretty good to me.
Then there’s the speed of the thing. Apple gave it their A7 processor which is the same one they have put in the new iPhone 5S as well as the new M7 motion do-processor. Jumping from my iPad 3 to the Air I have noticed a big difference in load times, especially in processor intensive apps such as Home Design or Infinity Blade. The new processor males light work of the request thrown at it and leaves me with the impression it can handle quite a bit more than the everyday user is ever going to use it for. The M7 is there to effectively monitor how the device is moving even when it’s asleep. It’s seems that it would be really useful for those fitness apps, but anybody that knows me can attest to ten fact that that’s not my thing at all.
I have to admit I was disappointed that the Touch ID that Apple included on the iPhone 5S didn’t make it to the iPad. This was by far my favourite feature of the new iPhone. Being able to unlock the phone and pay for apps without a pass code or password is a major plus so in this respect I think Apple dropped the ball a little bit by not including it as after doing something with Touch ID on my iPhone and then picking up my iPad and not having the functionality it does feel a little like going backwards. I am sure this will be included in the next model Ina years time, but it’s a real shame it wasn’t put on this model.
Having said that, it is pretty much my only gripe about the device. Overall it is an excellently put together device. It looks stunning, feels great and has pretty much all the functionality you would expect with an iPad and some impressive power under the hood with its 64bit A7 processor.
Apple released 2 iPads. The Air and the new Mini with Retina Display. So one of the questions I know people who are going to get an iPad are asking is which iPad should I get? The iPad 2, the Air, the Mini or the Mini with Retina Display.
One thing everybody should now avoid is the iPad 2. At the price Apple is asking for this, considering how dated it is now then the £329 that Apple is asking for the WiFi model seems a bit of a rip off. Especially as you can buy the new Mini with Retina Display for a tender cheaper at £319 with the new Mini being approximately 4 times more powerful and packing a beautiful Retina Display.
I think what people need to consider is what device they already have. If you don’t have an iPad already then the default choice should either be the mini with Retina or the Air. Which you go for entirely depends on your specific needs. If you want something really portable and light then go for the Mini. If you want it for consuming media content like films & tv shows or if it’s going to be a work device then go for the Air. The extra screen real estate will really make a difference.
If you already have an iPad then this would depend on which one you already have. If you have a first, second or third gen iPad then switch up to the Air and you’ll notice a big difference. If you have the 4th gen iPad I would suggest holding on for the next iteration to come out as the only real benefit you would really get is a faster processor and a lighter device. And if you wait for the next one Touch ID is a dead cert.
If you already have a Mini then this this decision really rests on if you want the Retina Display or not. If no, then stick it out and wait for the next gen, but if you crave that better looking screen then the new Mini with Retina Display is the way to go.