It seems strange. I’m holding a thin piece of glass and aluminium that is just as powerful as the laptop computer I use every day to do all my work.
This is because the new 10.9-inch iPad Air from Apple and my 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2020 both use Apple’s powerful M1 chip.
You’ve probably heard it said before that it’s a great chip, but it is. It can do hard tasks without using a lot of energy or getting hot.
Even though Apple has since released the M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra, the original M1 is still very powerful. Powerful that I don’t feel the need to buy a new laptop any time soon.
Apple has already put that chip in its iPad Pros, which are meant to be professional-grade machines that can be used by anyone. We are aware of how well they work.
So, the story of this new iPad Air, which is now the least expensive tablet and the least expensive device of any kind, comes down to this: Has Apple made too many changes or given up too much to make the iPad Pro a better buy?
No, that’s not true.
All of the most important features of the 11-inch iPad Pro are in the new iPad Air.
Even though the missing features aren’t completely useless, I bet that most users won’t miss them.
From the way it looks, the iPad Air is pretty much the same as the iPad Pro. The difference between 10.9 and 11 inches isn’t very big.
The Pro is a little bit thinner and a little bit heavier, but I bet you wouldn’t even notice that.
Both devices are made of aluminium and have a fully laminated LED screen with an oleophobic coating that makes fingerprints hard to see.
When you turn them over, you can see the main difference between the two: The iPad Pro’s back has two cameras, while the iPad Air’s back only has one.
Lots of strength
The M1 chip and 8GB of RAM are inside the new iPad Air. For how I usually use it, this makes it way too strong.
I couldn’t think of anything I could do on this iPad that would make it feel slow or even get hot.
I played Grand Mountain Adventure and PUBG Mobile on the highest settings for hours.
I played with GarageBand. I had a Meet video meeting next to a Google Maps window, and I opened a third, floating Slack window on top. Everything was super fast all the time.
In the Geekbench 5 CPU test, the iPad Air got a single-core score of 1,715 and a multi-core score of 7,320, which is about the same as what I got with my M1 MacBook Pro (it scored 1,729 and 7,336, respectively).
In short, the M1 chip is almost too powerful for the iPad Air. I can’t think of a task that would stress it.
But then, why is it called “Air“?
The iPad Air’s power makes you wonder if it’s worth it to even think about the more expensive iPad Pro. I’ll make it easy for you: You don’t need the Pro unless you need a lot of storage (more on that later).
If you want the Pro instead of the Air is a different question. With four speakers instead of two, the Pro has better sound.
It has a smoother 120Hz display, which is easier to see on the iPad’s big screen than on a smartphone. It has an extra camera on the back that has a very wide angle.
It can be set up to have up to 16GB of RAM. Face ID is used instead of Touch ID, which the Air has. None of these differences is reassortant their own, but when you add them all up, it’s clear that buying Pro isn’t a waste of money.
What About Its Price!
The fact that the model that starts at $599 only has 64GB of storage is by far my biggest and only major complaint about the iPad Air.
This might be enough for you if you don’t play games, but if you do, you should probably spend the extra $150 to get 256GB of storage.
The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 for 128GB of storage, which is where things get complicated for a buyer. Again, think carefully about how you want to use your iPad.
If storage is important to you, the Pro might be the better choice, especially since it can hold up to 2TB of data if you need that much.
It’s because Apple won’t let you have too much of a good thing without paying for it. If the iPad Air’s starting storage was 128GB, I’d tell you to run out and buy it.
It’s still a great product as it is, but you should know that the starting storage may not be enough.