Yes, ladies and gents, after so many months of countless rumors, leaks, assumptions and hearsay we finally have it – Apple has announced the iPad Air in all of its glory, along with the second-generation iPad Mini. At least this is something new – a totally new name for Apple’s tablet and one that I like! At its event that is unwrapping now (see how you can follow it live), Apple has unveiled the iPad Air that improves the fourth-generation iPad by coming with a thinner design, with narrower bezels, with design lines that were adopted from the iPad Mini.
At the event, Apple’s CEO said that the company managed to sell a whopping amount of 170 million iPads so far, which constitutes 81% of tablets usage share. He also mentioned that there are now almost half a million of specific iPad apps, which is half of the total amount of apps in Apple’s App Store. Google needs to grab its pencil and write down this info as we know there are serious issues with apps optimized for Android tablets. It’s interesting to observe that Phil Schiller said the following: “today we think we have the biggest step yet in delivering the vision” and as you can see, he was right, at least from the marketing point of view.
Apple’s latest reiteration of the iPad has maintained its 9.7-inch dimension, but has made it slightly lighter. As I’ve said, the iPad Air is thinner, measuring only 7.5mm which is a serious slimming down from the iPad 4’s 9.4mm, being 43 percent thinner. The iPad Air also weighs only 1 pound, down from 1.4 pounds which should be really light on your hand. Apple has decided to keep the 5 MP iSight camera on the iPad Air, despite rumors suggesting the fifth-generation iPad is going to be launched with a much more impressive 8-megapixel camera with a larger aperture. I guess that is on the books for the next year.
The iPad Air is going to be available in silver and white, space gray and black and no gold for the dreamers out there. It comes with a 10-hour battery life, a 1080p FaceTime camera and dual mics. The iPad Air comes with the new A7 64-bit chip architecture, which was first introduced with the launch of the iPhone 5s but this takes a whole new different meaning on a tablet, as it opens the door for many awesome applications to be built. This means that the iPad Air has a 8x faster performance and a 72x faster graphics performance. It has faster WiFi with MIMO for 2x faster 802.11n but it doesn’t come with 802.11ac.
The M7 motion co-processor is present, as well, which is interesting, since the iPad isn’t quite a fitness device. Since the iPad Air comes with new dimensions, then it’s only natural that Apple had to come up with a redesigned Smart Cover. And this serves them well, as it will constitute a good reason to drive more sales.
The iPad Air, as expected, comes with the same price tag which starts at $499 for the 16GB, Wi-Fi only version, and a cellular version of the iPad Air will be available starting at $629. Looking at what seems to be yet another successful improvement of the iPad, I wonder if Nokia will have any luck with their first Windows RT tablet. The iPad Air will ship in China for the first time in the initial rollout that is going to take place on November 1.
Of course, the iPad Air comes with iOS 7, which comes with a serious redesign over iOS 7 and brings some new features such as iTunes Radio. Tim Cook took (I know, sounds like a song) the occasion to mention that there are over a million apps in the App Store, with over 60 billion total downloads. Developers have now earned over 13 billion dollars by selling their apps and from in-app purchases and advertising – amazing. Also, Cook disclosed that there are 200 million devices already running iOS 7 five days after launch, which accounts to 64% of all iDevices.