More versatile M2 iPad Air runs and connects faster, gets extra size

Apple iPad Air M2 launch
Image: supplied.

Faster and available in a new size, Apple revealed the updated iPad Air powered by the M2 chip at its Let Loose event overnight.

Previously, the mid-range tablet used the M1 chip, with Apple describing the new model as being “nearly 50% faster” across various productivity and creative apps. Much of this is down to the performance gains from the M2 chip’s eight-core CPU, 10-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine. The latter component serves as the tablet’s neural processing unit (NPU), driving AI features like Visual Look Up.

Meanwhile, the new iPad models leapfrogged from Apple’s M2 silicon directly to the entirely new M4 platform, bypassing last year’s M3 tech entirely.

2022 saw the last iPad Air iteration, the 5th generation model, which only came in a 10.9-inch variety. This time around, Apple has an 11-inch plus a new 13-inch size to choose from. Unlike the M4 iPad Pro tablets, the Air doesn’t get the upgrade to OLED, retaining the existing Liquid Retina LED display technology.

Other than the juiced-up internals, the M2 iPad Air also includes faster Wi-Fi 6E connectivity. Wi-Fi 7 is still a while away from being commonplace but Wi-Fi 6E still adds the faster 6GHz network band alongside the ubiquitous 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Running on iPadOS 17, it also supports many of the software features seen on iOS 17.

It should also be easier to make video calls with the updated tablet. The 12MP front-facing camera is now landscape-aligned, which makes much more sense than holding the device in portrait orientation.

iPad Air M2 price and release date

Compared to the revamped iPad Pro devices, the iPad Air’s pricing has remained relatively stable. The 11-inch size starts at $999 for the 128GB Wi-Fi model, while the 13-inch version starts at $1,299.

It’s available to pre-order now ahead of the 15 May release date. As always, there are several colours to choose from: Space Grey, Starlight, Purple, and Blue.

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