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?
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.
The new iPad Air was unveiled by Apple just a few hours ago. The early strapline for the new iPad Air is:
Does even more. Weighs even less.
Here are some of the most notable features of the iPad Air that backup the strapline nicely:
A7 Chip: The iPad Air has Apple’s new A7 chip – which delivers 64-bit ‘desktop class’ architecture. This is said to double CPU performance, as compared to the previous generation. The new chip is said to make everything faster and more responsive – and also to present the opportunity for developers to create even more powerful iPad apps.
M7 Coprocessor: A new motion coprocessor:
iPad Air was designed to be on the move. That’s why the M7 coprocessor makes so much sense. It measures motion from your iPad Air by pulling data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. So your apps can give you a better experience based on the movement of your iPad Air. It’s a task that would normally fall to the A7 chip. But M7 is more efficient at it, which saves on power.
Faster WiFi & More LTE Bands: iPad Air offers 2X faster WiFi due to having two antennas and new MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology. Download speeds are said to reach up to 300Mbps. The + Cellular models also have more LTE bands, so they can be used on more cellular data networks around the world.
Apple has announced the new 5th gen iPad today – and it’s called the iPad Air.
So much for iPad 5, or 5th gen, or just plain iPad like we had for the 3rd gen. The iPad Air name ties in nicely with the fact that it was unveiled as being …
thinner, lighter, and more powerful than ever before
To back that up, Apple stated that the iPad Air is 43% thinner than the previous version, and 20% thinner across the entire device.
The previous generation iPad weighs in at 1.4 pounds – the iPad is almost half a pound lighter at one pound on the nose.
Apple touts it as the lightest full size tablet in the world.
I think this is the sort of change a whole lot of us were wishing for in the next iPad.
Just when I was getting all giddy about buying a lovely new iPad Mini or iPad Air or whatever Apple’s smaller iPad ends up being called in the next few weeks, along comes word from those who are generally in the know that we won’t be seeing an iPad Mini announcement in September.
Up until recently all the usual signs pointed to the iPad Mini being announced alongside the new iPhone at a widely expected though not yet confirmed Apple event on September 12 – with the new iPhone release following within 10 days.
In the last few days several reliable and extremely well connected sources have weighed in suggesting that’s not the case – and that the iPad Mini will not share the stage or steal any thunder from the iPhone launch, but instead will be announced at Apple’s traditional music + iPod event in early October. John Gruber at Daring Fireball first suggested this approach would be the most likely, then Jim Dalrymple at Loop Insight gave his nod of confirmation by quoting the salient excerpt of Gruber’s piece and saying “Oh that Gruber is a smart fellow”.
The rational, semi grown-up side of me thinks this all makes perfect sense. The new iPhone and the iPad Mini don’t compete for center stage at a single announcement event and don’t compete quite so strongly with each other for customer dollars with at least a number of weeks between their respective release dates – and both still come out well in time to get the most out of the holiday season.
The latest rumors reported by Apple Insider suggest that production for the iPad Mini (or iPad Air or whatever Apple decides to name it) is set to ramp up next month, in preparation for a launch of the new smaller iPad in October:
… fresh rumors say supply volume of the device are estimated to reach four million units per month beginning in September, giving the company enough time to prepare for the lucrative holiday season.
The report is based on sources at DigiTimes, which has a very spotty record when it comes to Apple rumors – but it does sound a lot like similar reports we heard from them about ramped up production for the new iPad at the tail end of 2011 and early this year, which seem to have proved accurate.
October seems quite a viable time for the release of the new smaller iPad too. One thing I know for sure – the more speculation I read on the size of the iPad Mini and how screen resolution and apps will work on it and how light it will be, and the more lovely mockups I see at iMore, the more ready I feel to buy it yesterday. As In, I really can’t wait to get my hands on this new smaller iPad now.