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New iPad 2017 Specs & Release Date: 9.7-inch iPad vs iPad Air 2

New iPad vs iPad Air 2: Everything you need to know

Following a cavalcade of leaks, Apple finally unveiled a new 9.7-inch iPad – the company’s first major product launch of 2017.

(Update: 3 April 2017): As we await a full new iPad (2017) review, we’re being inundated with rumours of another impending iPad model. What we’ve heard on the grapevine is that Apple is planning to announce a 10.5-inch iPad Pro 2 at some point in April. The key difference here is that this alleged iPad Pro 2 will get its own dedicated launch event, which is something that the new iPad (2017) missed out on.

Apple announced a new iPad with minimal fanfare; the news came through a press release, rather than the usual launch event we’ve come to expect. The new iPad is effectively a sequel to 2014’s iPad Air 2, although Apple appears to have killed the ‘Air’ naming convention – no iPad Air 3, folks.

Here’s what you need to know about the New iPad vs iPad Air 2.

New iPad 2017 Specs vs iPad Air 2: It’s more powerful than the iPad Air 2

The new iPad runs on Apple’s latest iOS 10 operating system, and uses the same A9 chip (with M9 motion coprocessor) we saw featured in the iPhone 6S. That means it should be faster than the iPad Air 2, which used a modified version of the iPhone 6’s A8 chip. The base storage for the device is 32GB, although there’s also a 128GB option too.

The good news is that you’re basically getting the same display as the iPad Pro with this new model. The LED-backlit screen measures 9.7 inches across, and has a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels – that’s 264 pixels-per-inch.

The primary camera offers a middling 8-megapixel resolution with a f/2.4 aperture and a five-element lens. The FaceTime HD camera, meanwhile, snaps 1.2-megapixel images, and boasts a wider f/2.2 aperture.

Both models support Bluetooth 4.2 connections, although the LTE version has added benefits like Wi-Fi calling and a bundled Apple SIM.

As far as sensors go, you’ll be getting the usual Touch ID fingerprint sensor (built into the Home button), as well as a three-axis gyroscope, an accelerometer, barometer, and ambient light sensor to boot.

Here’s a full comparison of the new 9.7-inch iPad (2017) specs, compared to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2

New iPad (2017) iPad Pro (2016) iPad Air 2 (2014)
Screen 9.7 inches 9.7 inches 9.7 inches
Display Resolution 2,048 x 1,536 pixels (264ppi) 2,048 x 1,536 pixels (264ppi) 2,048 x 1,536 pixels (264ppi)
Dimensions 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm
Weight 469 / 478 grams 437 / 444 grams 437 / 444 grams
Chipset Apple A9 Apple A9X Apple A8X
RAM TBC 2GB 2GB
Storage 32GB / 128GB 32GB / 128GB / 256GB 16GB / 32GB / 64GB / 128GB
Primary Camera 8 megapixels, f/2.4 12 megapixels, f/2.2 8 megapixels, f/2.4
Secondary Camera 1.2 megapixels, f/2.2 5 megapixels, f/2.2 1.2 megapixels, f/2.2
Connectivity Wi-Fi (LTE optional) Wi-Fi (LTE optional) Wi-Fi (LTE optional)
Charging Cable Lightning Lightning Lightning
Fingerprint Scanner Touch ID Touch ID Touch ID
Battery 32.4Wh (10-hour life) 27.9WH (10-hour life) 27.62Wh (10-hour life)
Colours Space Grey, Silver, Gold Space Grey, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold Space Grey, Silver, Gold

New iPad 2017 Design: This isn’t an iPad Pro

The important distinction to make about the new iPad (2017) is that it isn’t part of Apple’s iPad Pro series. That said, it looks largely similar to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, at least at a glance.

Probably the main difference is that the new iPad is a fair whack thicker than the iPad Pro, with a depth of 7.5mm versus the iPad Pro’s 6.1mm chassis. It’s also heavier at 469 grams (or 478 grams for the LTE model), compared to the iPad Pro’s feathery 437-gram body.

Related: iPhone 7S

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New iPad 2017 Battery Life: Apple promises 10 hours of usage

Apple has pledged that you’ll get a hefty 10 hours of usage per charge from the new iPad, based on general usage tasks like surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music. This will allegedly drop to nine hours if you’re surfing the web using a mobile data network on the cellular model, which makes sense.

In any case, both models feature the same built-in 32.4-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery that charges via a Lightning cable.

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New iPad 2017 Release Date and Price: It’s nearly here

The new iPad (2017) comes in three colours options – Silver, Gold, and Space Gray – with pre-orders set to go live from Friday, March 24. You’ll be able to place orders through Apple.com, or purchase one in-store from “next week” in the UK and the USA.

Here’s how the new 9.7-inch iPad pricing breaks down:

  • iPad (32GB, Wi-Fi) – £339/$329
  • iPad (32GB, LTE) – £469/$459
  • iPad (128GB, Wi-Fi) – £429/$429
  • iPad (128GB, LTE) – £559/$559

There are also polyurethane Smart Covers for the new iPad that start from $39 in the US. You’ll be able to pick these up in the following colour options: Charcoal Gray, White, Midnight Blue, Pink Sand, and (RED).

NEW IPAD (2017) VS 9.7-INCH IPAD PRO SUMMARY: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Here’s a brief overview of the key differences between the new iPad (2017) and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Design: Both iPads look largely the same, although the new iPad is marginally thicker and heavier. It also has a slightly less impressive display panel. You also get an extra colour option: Rose Gold.

Specs: The iPad Pro is undoubtedly the superior tablet, featuring a faster processor, more storage options, and better cameras.

Price: Apple’s new iPad is a relative steal at £339/$329, while the more powerful iPad Pro will set you back £549/$599.

Value: If you’re looking for productivity, the iPad Pro is the best choice, but you’ll have to consider whether it’s worth paying an additional £200 for the improved hardware and design based on your own budget.

Related: iPhone 8

What do you think of the new iPad? Let us know in the comments.