OPINION: Apple has unveiled the iPad Air 5, bringing its best all-around tablet up to date with a number of healthy additions across the board.
Like the iPad Pro 2021, the new 2022 edition of the iPad Air is powered by the M1 chip ensuring that it’ll be able to chew through all the tasks you throw at it with relative ease based on our experience using other devices featuring the CPU. It matches the iPad Mini 6, by adding optional 5G if working on the go is key and a few camera upgrades too. Oh, and it comes in a downright tempting blue colour.
I’m sure you’ll agree that those are welcome changes and while I don’t think I will be telling those who invested in the iPad Air 4 to start saving for the new model, this could very well be the default pick we recommend to most shoppers. After all, I gave the iPad Air 4 the full five stars when I reviewed it.
But I had an issue with the iPad 4 that to my personal annoyance, still hasn’t been fixed.
What gives, Apple?
While the iPad Air starts at a completely reasonable £569/$599, that initial outlay only gets you 64GB of storage. For a device meant to be loaded with movies, games and other apps that is a shockingly meagre amount. And as it’s an iOS device, so you can’t offset this issue with an SD card like you can on the Galaxy Tab S8.
If 64GB is just too low for you, then you’ll have to make the big jump up to 256GB and pay the £719/$749 asking price. While 256GB is more than enough for most people, that price puts its basically on par with the £749/$799 128GB iPad Pro.
The lack of a 128GB option for the iPad Air 5 means that there’s no sweet spot in between the high and low sizes here and it’s a real shame.
64GB might be enough for some, but that storage will fill up far quicker than you might expect. A download of Dune, purchased from iTunes, takes up nearly 7GB, while a film downloaded from Disney Plus takes up roughly the same amount of space.
Once you’ve stored a few films for offline viewing, installed a couple of your favourite games and transferred across your photo library that space will start to feel very small.
There is, of course, ways around this. You could purely stream content or make use of cloud services like iCloud or Google Photos to store your snaps and other files. But unless you’re always connected this isn’t much use. I mainly use a tablet on the go – on commutes, on planes and in places where there’s no Wi-Fi or mobile connection – and tend to have a lot of content stored offline.
For the most part, I think the new iPad Air looks great and the improvements will be great for those who haven’t upgraded their tablet in a while. But starting with 64GB of storage, and not offering a mid-size 128GB option, is a real issue.