While we continue to wait for info about the iPhone 12, which could not be seen anywhere at today’s Time Flies event, Apple is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iPad with the release of the new 8th-gen iPad and iPad Air.
Sporting an A12 Bionic processor and a 10.2-inch screen, the new 8th generation sports 40% better CPU performance and twice as good graphics performance as before, while boasting a new neural engine that should make it easier to edit images or even analyze certain types of videos. And like previous iPads, the new 8th generation iPad still supports handwriting recognition using the Apple Pencil.
To help support stylus input, Apple is actually adding a new compact user interface that also better understands natural language input, with the new Scribble feature capable of converting handwriting to standard text on the go. (This feature is available in iPadOS 14, which is also available as a free software upgrade for older iPads.) In addition, the Smart Selection features make it easier to intuitively highlight text sections, while Shape Recognition makes it easier to draw perfect circles, squares and more .
The 8th generation iPad starts at $ 330 (or $ 300 for training), with pre-orders going live today before official sales begin Friday, September 18th.
But for people who want more from a thin and light tablet, Apple also announced a completely redesigned iPad Air. With a new, more rectangular body, the iPad Air looks more like an iPad Pro than a standard iPad, while also boasting an almost frameless design around its larger 10.9-inch 2360 x 1640 Liquid retina.
The biggest change for the new iPad Air, though, is that Apple has dropped its traditional front-facing Touch ID home button in favor of a top-mounted fingerprint sensor built into its on / off button. This change helps the iPad Air offer a cleaner and more symmetrical front façade without sacrificing the ability to quickly log in with a single tap.
On the inside, the iPad Air also comes with Apple’s latest homemade processor: the A14 Bionic. Created using industry-leading 5 nm architecture, Apple claims the A14 is 40% faster than Apple’s previous generation chips, while also offering 30% faster graphics. And by improving the A14’s neural motor, Apple says the iPad Air also has twice the machine learning performance. And with the 14 consists of a six-core High-performance four-core CPU that works with two high-efficiency cores, iPad Air should also deliver better battery life.
And like its more expensive sibling – the iPad Pro – the iPad Air also gets a USB-C port for charging and data transfer. Around the back, Apple claims that the iPad Air’s new 12-MP rear camera captures videos with better stabilization and enhanced low-light photos while a new 7-MP selfie cam is in front. The iPad Air even comes with a magnetic charging zone on the side of the tablet for charging an Apple Pencil.
All in all, between these updates and a new slightly larger 10.8-inch screen, the $ 600 iPad Air now feels like it’s better positioned as a good middle ground between $ 330 8th-gen iPad and 11-inch iPad Pro, starting at $ 800.
The iPad Air is set to go on sale sometime next month.