I’ve got a 64GB LTE iPad Air 2 on the way to me this Thursday or Friday, according to my Apple Order Status page. I still don’t know for sure if the iPad Air 2 will have 2GB of RAM, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and go through with the upgrade anyway. After re-reviewing all of the spec sheets and early look articles from people at Apple’s event, there are a couple of things I’m really curious about:
- Does the thinness really matter? I’m quite happy with the profile of the iPad Air as-is, but Apple has this strange obsession with making everything as thin as possible. I’d like to see if the 18% thinner body actually makes a difference for one-handed usage, as I doubt it will affect two-handed usage much. It’s also curious that this new Air 2 is about 7–8% lighter than the previous Air, but Apple didn’t feel like that was worth pointing out.
- The Smart Cover. iPad’s site says the Smart Cover for iPad Air should also fit the Air 2, but I’m curious as to how well. I’ll do some comprehensive testing of this and report back, because I’m not convinced there’s quite enough for those magnets to hold onto on the newer thinner design.
- The Speed increase. My iPad Air is already quite fast and I don’t tend to play intensive games on it (because I don’t like the lack of physical controls), but apps like Replay and Pixelmator sound incredibly useful to me, and I’m excited to see the kind of perfromance I can enjoy on the Air 2.
- 64GB. This is a smaller point and not any spec worth exploring, but it’s worth noting that the 32GB version of the iPad Air has been replaced by the 64GB version in the Air 2, at the same price. I still think it’s a cheap move for Apple to limit the first-tier iPad to just 16GB, though.
- The new screen. One of the most annoying things about using the iPad and Smart Cover is glare from lights directly above you. If the Air 2 can cut this down with its new anti-reflective coating and laminated display, I’ll be very happy. I also hadn’t noticed the difference between the laminated display on my iPhone 5S and my current iPad Air until the Apple event pointed it out. Take a look for yourself if you’ve got an iPhone nearby: notice how those pixels seem so close to the surface of the phone? It isn’t quite the same on any iPad before 2014, and I have a feeling this display change might make a major qualitative difference in everyday usage.
- TouchID. I bring my iPad around everywhere and use it at work, as well. I keep my passcode very simple at the moment in order to make it easy for me to unlock the device, but it doesn’t feel very secure. Having that extra layer of security provided by TouchID will make me feel a lot less exposed, and also cut down on the pesky iTunes passcode attempts. I’m also wondering if it will handy my sweaty fingerprints any better than my 5S.
- Faster wireless. I intend to do a SpeedTest with both of my iPads later this week to see if the new radios allow for any better access with the mediocre router I have at home.
- Camera. I used to be ambivalent about the iPad camera, but now that iOS 8 allows me to achieve many of my iPhone tasks on my iPad with extensions and iCloud Photo Library, I might get a surprising amount of use out of this newer camera. It will, at the very least, become a super crisp document scanner with a large screen via apps like Scanbot.
That’s a list of the major points I intend to check out when I get the iPad Air 2 later this week. I’ll have a full review posted when I’ve had some time to play with the device.