Apple took to the stage at its Peek Performance event to announce the latest slew of updates to its product lines.
Here’s how the new tablet compares to its predecessor, the iPad Air 4, including what’s new for 2022 and which specs and features have remained the same.
Apple launched the iPad Air 4 in October 2020 at a starting price of £599/$599. While the tablet has seen some discounts since this date, the price has largely remained the same.
The iPad Air 5 was unveiled during Apple’s Peek Performance event on March 8 2022. The tablet starts at $599, or £569 here in the UK, and will be available to pre-order from March 11 with stock hitting shelves on March 18.
The iPad Air 4 comes in five colours: Silver, Space Grey, Rose Gold, Green and Sky Blue. The tablet has a metallic finish with straight edges and measures 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1mm. It weighs 460g.
There’s a Touch ID button at the top of the tablet for fast unlocking, along with a USB-C port at the bottom for charging and data transfers. There’s also support for the 2nd generation Apple Pencil for notetaking and digital art, among other tasks.
The iPad Air 5 has the same measurements and is just 2g heavier than its predecessor. The tablet is also available in five colours – in this case, Space Grey, Starlight, Pink, Purple and Blue.
Otherwise, the design remains largely the same. There’s the same Touch ID sensor on the top and, like its predecessor, the Air 5 supports the 2nd gen Apple Pencil.
There’s also a USB-C port, though in this case USB-C is 2x faster which should make transferring data a speedier process.
A number of the components in the tablet are built from 100% recycled materials, including the aluminium in the enclosure. This, along with the faster USB-C port and new colours, make up the biggest changes when it comes to design.
The iPad Air 4 features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina LED-backlit display with a 2360 x 1640 resolution, which Apple claims can hit 500 nits of brightness.
The screen covers the P3 wide colour gamut, has an anti-reflective coating and supports Apple’s True Tone technology to automatically adjust the colours in different lighting.
The iPad Air 5 also has all of the above qualities, making the two tablets matched in this respect.
The biggest changes between the two iPad Air tablets lay in the specs.
The iPad Air 4 is powered by the A14 Bionic chipset found in the iPhone 12 series. It packs Apple’s Neural Engine and features 64GB or 256GB of storage, depending on which configuration you choose.
Both Wi-Fi and 4G data models are available and the tablet runs the latest iPadOS 15 software.
There’s also a 12-megapixel wide angle camera with support for 4K/60fps video on the back, along with a 7-megapixel sensor capable of capturing 1080p/60fps video on the front for FaceTime calls.
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The iPad Air 5, meanwhile, is powered by the M1 chip. This chip offers 60% faster performance than the A14 did, along with twice as fast graphics performance.
There’s also a 16-core Neural Engine and a choice of 64GB or 256GB of storage.
The Air line has also seen an update to 5G with the Air 5, as you can now pick the tablet up in Wi-Fi and 5G configurations. Like the Air 4, the Air 5 runs iPadOS 15.
The 2022 tablet also packs the same 12-megapixel wide angle rear camera, with the new addition of the 12-megapixel ultra-wide on the front. This enables support for Apple’s Center Stage feature, which allows the camera to automatically adjust to ensure you remain in frame during video calls.
You can see a full breakdown of the specs of each in the comparison table below:
In terms of the design and display, the iPad Air 5 isn’t overly different from the iPad Air 4. The biggest updates here lay in the update to the Apple Silicon M1 chipset, the addition of 5G and the introduction of Center Stage to the front camera.
This iPad Air probably isn’t aiming at those who upgraded in 2020. Instead, it’s going for those who skipped the redesign and have been holding onto an older iPad Air or base iPad for a while now. For those people, this looks like it’s going to be a strong upgrade.