I’ve spent 6 days with the iPad Air now, after braving the non-line and getting home with one by around 8:30 AM on launch day. I already have some strong feelings about the iPad Air and some quick first impressions to share.
And here they are, in no particular order:
Living Up to the New Name
The iPad Air does a great job of living up to the ‘Air’ portion of its name. Just as advertised, it’s far lighter and slimmer than the previous iPads. Even knowing how much lighter and slimmer it was going to be following Apple’s unveiling event, it’s still surprising how well they managed this transformation. It really feels like a whole different class of iPad, and I love the slimmer bezels.
I like the Space Gray back of the iPad Air – I think it’s as handsome as the Slate back on the iPad mini.
Target is offering a trade-in program that will give you at least $200 for any iPad – including the original iPad.
The Target trade-in deal started on November 3 and will run until November 9. It’s simple to do as well, as MacRumors outlines:
Step 1: Find your local Target mobility store by clicking here and selecting “Target Mobility.”
Step 2: Bring your iPad to your local mobility store and visit the mobility kiosk in the electronics department to complete the trade.
Step 3: Payment will be issued in the form of a Target Trade-In Gift Card and is redeemable in any Target store.
The offer is good for any iPad that meets two main conditions: It must be a ‘working’ iPad (able to power on) and have no scratches on the display screen.
With the iPad Air ‘entry-level’ 16GB WiFi only model priced at $479 at Target, if you do the trade-in you could grab one for as little as $279.
You can check out all the details at the Target trade-in program page. If you’re looking for a great deal on the new iPad Air, this may be one of the best options out there.
I posted about the highlights of the full tech specs for the iPad Air a couple of days back. There are some very impressive specs – none more so than the powerful new 64-bit A7 chip. I also mentioned at that time that the one important spec detail we didn’t yet know, and that Apple is never very forthcoming on, was RAM.
Now thanks to the lovely and talented folks at iFixit, we have a complete teardown – or thorough dissection – of the iPad air. And it reveals the, very disappointing, amount of RAM for the iPad Air: just 1GB.
– 1GB of Elpida DDR3 SDRAM is found within the device but is now housed on one chip, compared to the two Elpida chips that housed the RAM on the fourth-generation iPad.
I just don’t see how 1GB of RAM for the iPad Air can be viewed as anything other than very unimpressive – especially now with iOS 7 offering real multitasking and a 64-bit chip which should bring more and more powerful apps to the iPad.
This could be the one spec that drags down performance on the iPad Air, and presumably on the Retina iPad mini too – since it’s just about a certainty that the smaller iPad won’t have more RAM than its bigger sibling.
Heck, there are numerous smartphones these days that have 2GB of RAM, and phablet devices that have 3GB. I’ve always been one to say that it is never all about specs when it comes to iDevices, but this is one occasion where a spec seems like it may leave the new generation of iPads noticeably underpowered.
What do you all think? Will other specs make up for the low amount of RAM on the new iPads?
I picked up a new iPad Air this morning, after a surprising non-line sort of affair at my local Apple store.
I’ve only just got home with it a couple hours ago and I always like to setup as a new iPad, rather than restoring from a backup, with a brand new iPad – so I’ve got a lot of setup and apps installing to do.
I’m also quite sleep deprived at this stage, so I won’t share any impressions on the iPad Air just yet – other than to say it certainly lives up to the lighter and slimmer billing.
Looks like I didn’t get the memo in time. The one informing me that nobody lines up for the iPad anymore.
Well, to be fair, some folks still do – but judging by my friendly local Apple Store at a mall near my house the numbers are much, much lower than for any other iPad launch. How much lower? Well, on every previous launch day I’ve got out to the parking lot of this same mall at somewhere around 3:30 to 4:00 in the morning – and have been at least among the first 25 in line (sometimes within the first 10). But by store opening time at 8AM the line easily stretched into the hundreds for the first few launches.
Today at 8AM there were 16 of us in line for the iPad Air. You can see this poor excuse for a line in my photo above.
In less than 24 hours sales of the new iPad Air will kick off. It’s a significantly lighter and slimmer version of the iPad – nearly 1/3 lighter than the previous generation with reduced bezels and a distinct ‘minified’ feel to it.
Here are some of the highlights of the iPad Air’s technical specs:
Finish: As you can see above you can choose from Space Gray or Silver.
Connectivity: There are WiFi only and WiFi + Cellular models. The +Cellular models are $130 more than the WiFi only models. With the cellular models there is support for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
Storage Capacity: There are 16, 32, 64, and 128GB models – starting at $499 for the WiFi only 16GB and going up to $929 for the 128GB WiFi + Cellular model.
Chip: The iPad Air has Apple’s impressive new A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and a dedicated M7 motion co-processor
Display: a 9.7 inch Retina display with resolution of 2048X1536
OK, apologies for probably my cheesiest post title ever here, but this is the $64,000 question this month for a lot of iPad users and soon-to-be iPad users – which one to get. It’s a lot tougher choice this year with the new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display both due out this month.
Last year, when the original iPad mini was released, there were much more clear differences between the standard (big) iPad and the iPad mini. The iPad offered its stunning retina display that you couldn’t help but fall in love at first sight with – the iPad mini didn’t. The iPad had the bigger screen and was a more powerful device – a more viable laptop replacement for at least some users.
The iPad mini stood out for its wonderful lightness and smaller form factor. It was the smaller tablet that made me realize I love smaller tablets. The lightness and form factor and ease of holding the iPad mini for long stretches more than made up for its lack of Retina display for me – though like so many others I couldn’t wait to see the retina display in a future generation of the mini.
It looks like personal pickup for the iPad Air may be an option when sales of the new iPad go live on November 1 – at least according to reports MacRumors and others are hearing.
Personal pickup means you can place an order for the iPad Air and then pick it up at a local Apple store, even on the same day if you get you order in on time.
The iPad Air will be available to buy at 12:01 AM Pacific time this Friday, November 1 at Apple’s online store. If I lived in the Pacific time zone I would probably be banging the heck out of the F5 key on my keyboard late Thursday night trying to get an early order in with personal pickup. Since I’m in the Central time zone that strategy doesn’t work well for me. It would mean being up at 2:00AM trying to be fast enough to get an order in – and, given the troubles many people had in past years with Apple’s servers being overwhelmed at times like this, there would still be a good chance that I wouldn’t get an order placed.
So I’d rather just go with my standard iPad Acquisition Process – aka go stand in line in the wee hours of Friday morning at my friendly local Apple Store.
That’s my plan – what’s yours for iPad Air launch day?
It hasn’t taken long at all to see lots of good cases for the iPad Air being announced by leading iPad accessory vendors. Logitech is among the latest to tout their new lineup – with three great looking new keyboard cases for the iPad Air.
For starters, there’s a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air – extending this line of popular front cover only keyboard cases. These nicely live up to their ultrathin name and look great as an iPad companion. I have reviewed these for the full size iPad and iPad mini in the past. I’m sure these will be popular with iPad Air owners too.
Here’s the details on all three of the new Logitech keyboard cases for the iPad Air:
Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad Air
The Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio combines on-trend design with intelligent technology for thin-and-light protection with added functionality for your iPad. With a variety of colors and refined fabrics, this top-of-the-line folio brings beauty to iPad protection, while its water-repellent coating helps protect the front and back of your iPad Air. Its surprisingly thin built-in Bluetooth keyboard is seamlessly fused into the folio’s interior fabric. The full-size keys – complete with iOS® shortcuts – provide the familiar comfort of a traditional keyboard. The folio’s new SecureLock™ system sports lightweight, low-profile clips that keep the corners of your iPad firmly fastened to the frame, while an easy-release feature makes it easy to insert and remove your iPad. Hidden magnets hold your iPad in two convenient positions for typing or entertainment mode. The keyboard is rechargeable through micro-USB and can last up to three months on a complete charge. The Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio is expected to be available for a suggested retail price of $149.99.
Apple has announced that their retail stores will be opening at 8AM local time on November 1 for the iPad Air launch.
That’s one hour earlier than the regular opening time and a pretty normal tactic for Apple stores on iDevice launch days.
Since there no pre-orders being taken for the iPad Air, lines at stores will likely be a bit longer than in past years- though this may be less of an issue if other retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, and cellular carriers have good supplies of the iPad Air available on release day.
I’ve been out in the wee hours of the morning for all of the previous iPad launches and I’ll be doing the same for the iPad Air launch. How about you all – are you planning to be out early looking to get an iPad Air on November 1?
Apple’s first TV ad for the iPad Air is a good one. For most of the one minute ad the focus is on a pencil, and some similarities between the iPad and a pencil are made clear in the ad’s opening line:
It’s an extremely simple tool; but also extremely powerful.
The voiceover ends powerfully as well, just before the iPad Air is revealed just behind the pencil:
It’s used by scientists and artists, scholars and students. It’s been to classrooms, board rooms, expeditions — even to space. And we can’t wait to see where you’ll take it next
Oh, and one little extra thing that makes this ad great: the voiceover is by Bryan Cranston, aka Walter White of Breaking Bad. His great voice goes perfectly with this style of ad and reminds me of the iPad 2 ads that featured Peter Coyote. Good stuff.