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iPad Air: A Breath of Fresh (Well, You Know)

The last few years have given us several new iPads, and while each was a little better than the last, the new features weren't all that exciting, to be perfectly honest. Enter this year's newbie, the elegant iPad Air. All of a sudden, Apple is fresh again.

 

Design
If you've been working on a previous generation iPad, you will immediately notice that the iPad Air is light. In fact, it is a whole 0.4 pounds lighter than the iPad 4, weighing only 1 pound. This is a departure from the pattern of heavier and heavier iPads of the past. The case itself is trimmer and more rounded, and while it's not a completely one-handed operator, it is a lot more comfortable to hold and use with one hand than in the past. Gone are the clunky left and right bezels. The upgraded battery boasts an impressive 10 hours of life between charges, and the standby time runs even longer than that.

 

Features
The new A7 64-bit processor is quick, no doubt about it. The speed boost is particularly noticeable when running apps designed for previous iPad versions. The new sensor for the FaceTime HD camera is outfitted with larger pixels and better backlighting for much better performance in low light. If you're using your iPad Air on the go, you will appreciate dual Wi-Fi antennas, allowing you to pull signals much faster than before. Another big plus is the preloaded Apple software, including Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, iPhoto, Pages, and Garage Band, which normally retail for $5-10 a piece. The standard versions are offered at matching increasing prices, starting at $499 for the 16 GB version up to $799 for the maximum 128 GB. The cellular compatible models will cost you an extra $130 a pop.

 

Specs
Finish:          Space Gray or Silver
Models:        Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Cellular
Capacity:      16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, or 128 GB
Dimensions:   6.6 in x 9.4 in x 0.29 in
Weight:          1 lb (Wi-Fi only) or 1.05 lbs (Wi-Fi + Cellular)
Display:         Retina display, 9.7 in diagonal LED-backlit Multi-Touch
Resolution:     2048 x 1536 at 264 pixels per inch
Chip:             A7 64-bit, M7 motion coprocessor
Cameras:       1.2 MP (front) and 5 MP (rear)
OS:               iOS 7

 

Conclusion
While the iPad Air is not an extremely dramatic departure from the past, Apple has finally given us something new enough to cheer about again. You will enjoy and appreciate the amazingly light design and easier one handed operation. While the price is a bit higher than the competition's, the incredible app selection available from Apple and the quality we've come to know make this one well worth your while.