The last major change in the 2019 variant of the iPad Air is the display
The last major change in the 2019 variant of the iPad Air is the display

New Apple iPad Air has a great display and is a decent first buy, but isn’t a compelling upgrade

  • The new iPad Air has a few main changes—a newer and faster processor, support for the Apple Pencil and a slightly larger screen
  • While support for the Apple Pencil makes it better suited to a particular niche of creators, it’s worth noting that the new Air supports Apple’s first generation Pencil

It’s been about two years since Apple upgraded its iPad Air line. The company stopped selling the Air 2 sometime in 2017, making the 2019 iPad Air the third in this range.

It makes sense, too, since Apple was pushing the iPad Pro, a more creator-centric device, meant to replace laptops. As similar as the new iPad Air and iPad Pro are, it’s clear that the latter is meant to be a Microsoft Surface-like device, while the former is a tablet first.

The new iPad Air has a few main changes—a newer and faster processor, support for the Apple Pencil and a slightly larger screen.

Apple Pencil support

While support for the Apple Pencil makes it better suited to a particular niche of creators, it’s worth noting that the new Air supports Apple’s first generation Pencil.

According to the company, that’s because the magnetic attachments and wireless charging nature of the second generation Pencil would have required a larger design change in the Air.

With the Air, you will have to stick the Pencil into the tablet’s lightning port in order to charge it. And a short charge still gives you hours of usage.

That said, there’s hardly any difference on the usability front, in terms of accuracy, latency, etc. If you liked the Apple Pencil earlier, you will continue to like it.

Performance

Apple’s A12 Bionic chip is tried and tested now, and it doesn’t falter on the new iPad Air either. If you use a tablet only for browsing, watching movies, etc., then the new processor will not make much of a difference to you. However, if you’re buying it for editing and similar activities, the A12 Bionic is more future-proof.

That also means the 2019 iPad Air isn’t an “upgrade" for anyone who doesn’t intend to use the Apple Pencil, or actually “create" some content using the tablet. The new processor and its accompanying augmented reality and artificial intelligence capabilities make it more future proof.

Display

The last major change in the 2019 variant of the iPad Air is the display. Apple’s Retina display still support the DCI-P3 colour gamut and has excellent colour reproduction in general.

The accuracy of the display will be important to those who edit photos, etc., on the device. That said, the extra inch or so of display real estate may not make a big difference.

It makes multitasking with two apps slightly easier, but having used the older 9.7-inch iPad Air, it doesn’t seem to be a feature you will really miss.

Verdict

Tablets haven’t been the highest volume market for any brand. Apple iPads have ruled this segment for a while, and there’s no reason why the 2019 iPad Air won’t continue that tradition.

While this is certainly the best “tablet" you can buy today, it does not compel one to upgrade from an older iPad Air. The Air also comes with support for Apple’s smart keyboard, which makes it a cheaper alternative to writers who want something like an iPad Pro but can’t quite afford it.

The 2019 iPad Air is extremely powerful, has one of the best displays you can get in a tablet, and supports the Apple Pencil. If it’s a new high-end tablet you want, this is certainly worth considering.

Price: starts at 44,900

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