iPad Air and iPad mini: what's new in Apple's tablets

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October 23, 2013, 3:08 IST

Sameer Mitha

We take a look at how the recently launched iPad Air and iPad mini are different from their predecessors.
iPad Air and iPad mini: what's new in Apple's tablets

Apple has updated the iPad more than a year after the launch of the iPad 4. This is the first time that Apple has redesigned the iPad since the launch of the iPad 2 (we aren’t counting the upgrade to the Lightning port but the overall design). The design is something that has been suggested in numerous leaks and rumours that have been circulating all over the Internet.

It’s nice to see the iPad in not only a new design but a new name as well. Here, we take a look and see if you should upgrade from the iPad 4 to the iPad Air. 

Starting with the specifications, you still get the gorgeous 9.7-inch Retina display, which we have seen since the third generation iPad. What is impressive is the fact that it runs on the Apple A7 chipset, the same one that is present in the iPhone 5S. In the past, Apple would upgrade the chipset on the iPad (for example, the iPhone 5 ran on the A6, the iPad 4 on the A6X). This time however, it looks that the chipset is the same that there is on the iPhone 5S. The A7 chipset makes the iPad Air faster than the iPad 4. How much faster is something we will comment on once we have the device in for review.

The rest of the specifications are the same on paper, be it the camera or the storage capacity. The battery capacity on the iPad Air is smaller, but Apple claims the same 10-hour battery life.

 

Particulars iPad Air iPad 4
Thickness 7.5mm 9.4mm
Weight 478grams 662grams
Display Type LED-backlit IPS LCD LED-backlit IPS LCD
Display Resolution 1536x2048 1536x2048
Storage capacities 16/32/64/128GB 16/32/64/128GB
RAM 1GB 1GB
Chipset Apple A7 Apple A6X
CPU Dual-core 1.3GHz Dual-core 1.4GHz
GPU PowerVR G6430 PowerVR SGX554MP4
Battery Non-removable Li-Po battery (32.4 Wh) Non-removable Li-Po 11.560 mAh battery (42.5 Wh)
Rear camera 5MP with 1080p video 5MP with 1080p video
Front camera 1.2MP with 720p video 1.2MP with 720p video
Price Starts at $499 Starts at Rs. 31,900

Coming to the build, this is where the tablet has been revamped and it looks quite impressive. The bezel on the sides of the display (when held in portrait mode) is slimmer which means that you get more display real-estate space. The build of the tablet too is more on the lines of the iPod Touch 5th gen (just as we have seen in the numerous leaks).

The device is considerably slimmer and lighter when compared to the iPad 4. The lighter weight on the new iPad is probably the reason they are calling it the iPad Air.

The only apps that will take advantage of the 64-bit architecture are the native Apple apps such iWork and iLife. If you own an iPad 3 or 4, you can hold off this upgrade. But if you are one who is still running the good old iPad 2, we think its time for you to upgrade.

iPad mini with Retina display

When the iPad mini was launched last year, everyone hoped that it would come with a Retina display, but alas, we were left disappointed. What Apple launched then was the iPad 2 in a smaller package. Last night, Apple updated the iPad mini. The tablet now comes with a Retina display and the same internals as the iPad Air. 

Particulars iPad mini with retinal display iPad mini
Thickness 7.5mm 7.2mm
Weight 341grams 312grams
Display Type LED-backlit IPS LCD LED-backlit IPS LCD
Display Resolution 1536 x 2048 pixels 768 x 1024 pixels
Pixel density 324ppi 162ppi
Storage capacities 16/32/64/128GB 16/32/64GB
RAM 1GB 512MB
Chipset Apple A7 Apple A5
CPU Dual-core 1.3GHz Dual-core 1GHz
GPU PowerVR G6430 PowerVR SGX543MP2
Battery Non-removable Li-Po battery (23.8 Wh) Non-removable Li-Po battery (16.3 Wh)
Rear camera 5MP with 1080p video 5MP with 1080p video
Front camera 1.2MP with 720p video 1.2MP with 720p video
Price Starts at $399 Starts at Rs. 21,900

The iPad mini with Retina display has the same form factor as last year’s iPad mini, but it is slightly thicker and heavier which is ok since it needs to house the larger battery. Apple claims that the mini with Retina display will deliver up to 10 hours of battery life, the same as its predecessor.

The looks of the tablet may be the same but it is the performance where the iPad mini with Retina display is a beast. The higher resolution means that the pixel density on the display is greater making content look really sharp. The jump in the hardware too is from the A5 to the A7 (skipping the A5X, A6 and the A6X). This means that if you are an iPad mini user, you will see a noticeable difference on the display and in the overall performance of the tablet.

We think that upgrading from the mini to the mini with Retina display is totally worth it if you are looking for a significant bump in performance and the quality of the display.


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