The new iPad Air makes Apple’s tablet lineup messier by outshining the iPad Pro

Apple favors simplicity, and nowhere is that extra obvious — aside from product design — than within the firm’s product lineups. But the newly introduced iPad Air, which now contains a display screen similar to that of the pricier Pro with the additional advantage of being the one gadget thus far to hold the brand new A14 Bionic processor, is additional complicating what was as soon as the corporate’s most elegant product lineup.

The iPad lineup was easy: you needed the large one or the infant, and you then had to decide on how a lot storage and perhaps choose a colour. But beginning with the introduction of the Smart Keyboard and the ill-fated 9.7-inch iPad Pro in 2016, the iPad lineup started to bloat.

As of final spring, there have been 5 totally different fashions of iPad, spanning two totally different connector sorts (Lightning versus USB-C) and even two various kinds of digital stylus, because the up to date Apple Pencil solely labored on newer Apple tablets. That stays true as we speak.

Now, with the reimagined iPad Air, which Apple solely reintroduced into its lineup alongside the refreshed iPad mini about 18 months in the past, it’s gotten much more complicated. The main query as we speak is: why purchase an iPad Pro? The Pro used to hold sure privileges, like having the ability to use the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil whereas having fun with a prettier bezel-less show.

But almost all of these advantages, save the upper refresh charge 120Hz display screen on the post-2018 iPad Pro fashions and Face ID, can be found on the brand new Air. The Air additionally begins less expensive at $599 in comparison with the iPad Pro 11-inch’s $799 price ticket, and it boasts a sooner processor with the A14. Tech lovers had been fast to take discover.

We haven’t examined the A14 Bionic chip but, and it’s too early to say if it’s going to supply the iPad Air an enormous sufficient leap over the current-gen iPad Pro fashions to create a noticeable efficiency hole. Apple solely says the iPad Air’s new chip offers it 40 % efficiency enchancment over the prior iPad Air, and it’s value noting that the A14 Bionic is a 6-core chip whereas the A12Z Bionic is an 8-core one with particular advantages towards computer-like use for graphics- and computation-heavy apps.

If you’re purchasing for a brand new iPad, it’s necessary to be aware of what you do get when shopping for the 11-inch or 12.9-inch Pro versus the brand new Air. It’s additionally a good suggestion to test what compromises you make by scaling right down to the usual iPad, which noticed a refresh as we speak as properly, and even final yr’s fifth-gen iPad mini. Here’s how all the specs break down:

Current iPad mannequin comparability (September 2020)

Category 12.9-inch iPad Pro (4th-gen) 11-inch iPad Pro (2nd-gen) iPad Air (4th-gen) iPad (Eighth-gen) iPad mini (Fifth-gen)
Category 12.9-inch iPad Pro (4th-gen) 11-inch iPad Pro (2nd-gen) iPad Air (4th-gen) iPad (Eighth-gen) iPad mini (Fifth-gen)
Screen sort 12.9‑inch Liquid Retina show 11‑inch Liquid Retina show 10.9‑inch Liquid Retina show 10.2-inch Retina show 7.2-inch Retina show
Resolution 2732 x 2048 2388 x 1668 2360 x 1640 2160 x 1620 2048 x 1536
Front digicam 7 megapixels 7 megapixels 7 megapixels 1.2 megapixels 7 megapixels
Rear digicam 12 megapixels 12 megapixels 12 megapixels Eight megapixels Eight megapixels
Stylus assist Apple Pencil (2nd-gen) Apple Pencil (2nd-gen) Apple Pencil (2nd-gen) Apple Pencil (1st-gen) Apple Pencil (1st-gen)
Keyboard assist Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard Folio, and Bluetooth keyboards Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard Folio, and Bluetooth keyboards Magic Keyboard, Smart Keyboard Folio, and Bluetooth keyboards Smart Keyboard (non-folio) and Bluetooth keyboards Only Bluetooth keyboards
Port USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning Lightning
Processor A12Z Bionic A12Z Bionic A14 Bionic A12 Bionic A12 Bionic
Storage 128 / 256 / 512GB / 1TB 128 / 256 / 512GB / 1TB 64 / 256GB 32 / 128GB 64 / 256GB
Weight 1.41 kilos 1.04 kilos 1 pound 1.08 kilos 0.68 pound
Price (Wi-Fi) $999 / $1,099 / $1,299 / $1,499 $799 / $899 / $1,099 / $1,299 $599 / $749 $329 / $429 $399 / $549
Price (Wi-Fi + Cellular) $1,149 / $1,249 / $1,449 / $1,649 $949 / $1,049 / $1,249 / $1,449 $729 / $879 $459 / $559 $529 / $679
Authentication Face ID Face ID Touch ID constructed into energy button Touch ID constructed into dwelling button Touch ID constructed into dwelling button
Battery life 10 hours 10 hours 10 hours 10 hours 10 hours
Misc. True Tone, ProMovement, Wi-Fi 6, no headphone jack True Tone, ProMovement, Wi-Fi 6, no headphone jack True Tone, Wi-Fi 6, no headphone jack Headphone jack True Tone, Headphone jack

There are some oddities you will discover within the chart above, primarily between the iPad mini and the brand new eighth-gen base mannequin iPad. Why, as an example, does the smaller of the 2 gadgets have a significantly better front-facing digicam and a True Tone show, when the brand new eighth-gen iPad doesn’t? It’s additionally curious that the storage choices are doubled for the iPad mini after they stay abysmally low for the bottom mannequin. Who is aware of!

Yet, you may clearly see in evaluating the 2 present iPad Pro fashions with the brand new Air that you simply’re getting an entire lot extra bang in your buck with the Air. All you’re actually compromising on is storage and the dearth of ProMovement, due to the 120Hz show. But every little thing else is there, plus the A14 Bionic. So it’s secure to say that, for proper now, the iPad Air is a killer deal for anybody who was even contemplating an iPad Pro.

Correction: An earlier model of this text misstated the chip in each present iPad Pro fashions. It is the A12Z Bionic, not the A12X. We remorse the error.

Sumati Pavagi

A late bloomer but an early learner, Sumati likes to be honestly biased. Though fascinated by the far-flung corners of the galaxy, She doesn’t fancy the idea of humans moving to Mars. Sumati is a Contributing Author for Buzzfeed. e-mail:

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