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.
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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?
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
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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?
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.