Apple today unveiled the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display during a special event held at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. Those attending the event were able to get their hands on the new iDevices, while the rest of us are waiting for them to be available in November. We’ve gathered the first impressions of the new tablets.
According to Engadget, the size change — 20% slimmer than its predecessor — is not that obvious until you place it next to the iPad 4, but the weight is immediately noticeable. It doesn’t feel cheap at all, and the A7 chip brings an impressive speed improvement.
There’s little doubt that the iPad Air is going to be even more powerful and much more portable than any previous 9.7-inch iPad. Both White and Space Gray iPad Airs look nice, the Space Gray slightly stealthier and the White a little more fun (and a little more prone to fingerprints, it looks like). They feel fast, though not noticeably different from the A7-powered iPhone 5S. Even despite a couple of surprising omissions, like a TouchID fingerprint sensor, this device deserves a new name: it feels completely different than the full-sized iPad once did. Apple’s clearly trying to turn the iPad Air into a full-size device you’re willing to take outside your home, and based on our first impressions we’d happily throw one in our backpacks today.
Overall, the second-generation iPad mini is similar to the first model, but it is a bit thicker and heavier. And the screen looks sharper than the iPad Air, according to CNET.
The new tablet feels exactly like the first-generation iPad Mini. This is a good thing, since the first Mini has a near perfect feel.
However, while it feels great, it’s all about that screen. And given the Mini’s smaller 7.9-inch size, it looks even sharper than the full-size iPad Air. But to take advantage of the new pixel-dense screen, you will be paying up over last year’s Mini. It’s gorgeous, though, so I’d imagine the new premium will definitely be worth it to some people.
There isn’t much on the outside that we haven’t seen before — in fact, it still sports the same home button, indicating that it doesn’t feature a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. But, there is one glaring exception: the 2048 x 1536 Retina display, which amounts to 324 ppi. Compared to the original iPad mini that came out last year, this is a rather significant bump in pixel density, and we came away much more impressed with the mini as a result.
The iPad Air will be available on November 1, but the iPad mini with Retina display won’t come out until later next month.