Just as expected, today’s Apple event saw the announcement of a brand new iPad Air, alongside the new iPhone SE. Apple’s mid-end tablet still slots in nicely in between the cheap iPad and the more expensive iPad Pro models.
The iPad Air has Apple’s M1 chipset at the helm and optional 5G support (with eSIM), but the base model is Wi-Fi-only as usual.
The M1 chip is definitely the headline feature here, since it allows the iPad Air to match the iPad Pro in performance (although in true Apple tradition, the Air is likely to have less RAM).
Other updates to the iPad Air include the new ultrawide front camera with Center Stage, which automatically pans during video calls to keep you in view as you move around, and notices when others join in, smoothly zooming out to include them too. All iPads now feature this experience.
On the back there’s a 12MP camera, which seems unchanged from the previous-gen iPad Air. The USB-C port, however, is up to two times faster, with data transfers up to 10Gbps. The screen is still a 10.9″ Liquid Retina display with 500 nits of brightness, True Tone support, and an anti-reflective coating.
The new iPad Air has landscape stereo speakers, Touch ID built into the home button.
The iPad Air runs iPadOS 15.4 preinstalled. This version of the software will be available as an over-the-air update for other iPads next week. Thanks to the Universal Control feature it packs, you’ll be able to work with a single mouse and keyboard across multiple Macs and iPads in a seamless fashion, with no setup required – you can even drag and drop content back and forth between devices.
The new tablet has a 100% recycled aluminum enclosure, 100% recycled tin in the solder of the main logic board, and 100% recycled rare earth elements in the enclosure and audio magnets.
The new iPad Air comes in Space Gray, Starlight, pink, purple, and “a stunning new blue”. It will start from $599 like its predecessor, with 64GB of storage. A 256GB model will be offered too. The new iPad Air will be up for pre-order in 29 countries and regions this Friday, and will be released on March 18. The Wi-Fi+5G model starts at $749.
The new tablet also supports the $129 2nd gen Apple Pencil as well as the $299 Magic Keyboard, the $179 Smart Keyboard Folio, and the $79 Smart Folio covers. These come in black, white, Electric Orange, Dark Cherry, English Lavender, and Marine Blue.