The iPad Air 4 has arrived and with a few notable exceptions, the rumors had it nailed with a bump in screen size, a brand new processor and an overall design refresh that brings it more in line with the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2020) and its 11-inch sibling.
Naturally not every feature of the iPad Pro was able to make it to the iPad Air 4, but it should tick the boxes for a lot of buyers that want more than the newly announced iPad 8th generation can offer, but can't quite stomach the price of the iPad Pro.
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Here’s an in-depth look at the iPad Air 4 including its refreshed design, display and powerful new A14 processor.
iPad Air 4 release date
The iPad Air 4 will be available starting in October, you can currently peruse the new models on Apple's website, but no pre-orders are available at this time.
iPad Air 4 price
The iPad Air 4 will start at $599, breaking the $499 starting price that was held by the three previous generations of the iPad Air.
The Wi-Fi model starts with 64GB of storage, bumping up to 256GB will cost you another $150 bringing the price to $749. As per usual cellular will be an additional $130 taking the price to $729 or $879 depending on your storage tier.
iPad Air 4 specs
The iPad Air will serve as the debut for the new A14 Bionic processor from Apple, which will at least temporarily make it the most powerful iPad that you can buy with the iPad Pro 2020 models still sporting the A12Z Bionic.
The A14 Bionic is a 5nm chip with a six-core CPU with two high power and four low power cores. Apple claims a 40 percent boost in CPU performance over the A13 Bionic and a 30 percent jump in graphics performance with the new 4-core graphics architecture. Apple was also quick to include "breakthrough machine learning" performance for the A14 that it asserts will result in 10 times faster machine learning.
Specs aside we will certainly be curious to see how the iPad Air 4 and its A14 chip perform in our lab and real-world testing.
Turning to the camera, while the iPad Air 4 isn't going to be a threat to your iPhone 12 as a camera, it will be able to capture 4K video from its 12MP rear camera and your Zoom calls should look quite a bit better than on your MacBook Pro 13-inch thanks to its 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera.
The LiDAR sensor that gives the iPad Pro its impressive AR capabilities is unfortunately not in the iPad Air 4.
Wi-Fi 6 is on board, but unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus the iPad Air won't offer 5G for its cellular model, although Apple asserts that its LTE connectivity will be 60 percent faster than on the iPad Air 3.
iPad Air 4 display
Rumors missed on both sides of the display size of the iPad Air 4 which as it turns out is 10.9-inches with a resolution of 2360 x 1640. It does feature some of the high-end features found in the iPad Pro line as it is now fully laminated with True Tone support, P3 color gamut and an anti-reflective coating.
One feature that didn't make its way to the iPad Air 4 is 120Hz ProMotion, you'll still need to pay up for the iPad Pro to get that buttery smooth refresh rate.
iPad Air 4 design
On the design side of things the rumors had the iPad Air 4 pretty much exactly right, while it is quite a bit more colorful than the iPad Pro with sky blue, green and rose gold options joining the silver and space gray of its pricier sibling, the overall design is largely the same.
The iPad Air 4 now supports the new Apple Pencil, which can magnetically attach to the tablet and with the new Smart Connector found on the back you gain support for the oh so expensive Magic Keyboard.
With the home button gone from the iPad Air 4 the company had to find a new home for biometric login and Face ID was likely too expensive to make the cut, so Apple created a new Touch ID sensor that is placed in the power button. It's the smallest implementation of Touch ID that Apple has ever offered so it will be interesting to see how longtime iPad users take to the move.
Finally, the iPad Air 4 as expected joins the iPad Pro in making the switch to a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer with support for up to 20W charging and data transfers at up to 5Gbps.
iPad Air 4 outlook
While iPad Air 4 buyers are going to be confronted with a $100 price bump from previous models it is hard to argue that Apple hasn't delivered that much value in the upgrades from the iPad Air 3.
At launch, this will be the most powerful iPad on the market and you can have it for $200 less than the iPad Pro 11-inch. With support for the full complement of iPad Pro accessories, you can blur the lines between computer and tablet with the best of them.
The lack of 120Hz is no surprise, Apple simply can't get that done at this price, but it will be interesting to see whether that affects the Pencil experience and the move of Touch ID to the power button could prove annoying for both those familiar with the home button as well as those used to the convenience of Face ID.
Taken as a whole it seems like a fantastic update to the iPad Air hardware and will make it a particularly compelling option in the lineup until Apple gets around to updating the iPad Pro next year.