The 10.5-inch iPad Air sits between the iPad Pro and the 9.7-inch iPad introduced last year. It starts at Rs 44,900, offers Apple Pencil support and is powered by Apple’s latest A12 Bionic processor with the second-generation Neural Engine coprocessor. But it still offers Touch ID over Face ID.
Now that Apple has made a new iPad Air (2019) official, let’s have a look at how the 10.5-inch tablet compared to last year’s 9.7-inch iPad.
Apple 10.5-inch iPad Air vs iPad 2018: Design
Both tablets feature aluminium chassis and they are both available in silver, space Grey and gold colour options. Unlike the iPad Pro, the 10.5-inch iPad Air and 9.7-inch iPad have large bezels at the top and bottom of their displays. Both also come with a Touch ID fingerprint scanner, instead relying on Face ID for unlocking.
There are some cosmetic differences between the two devices, though. The new iPad Air does trim down the bezels, however, allowing for the larger display to be accommodated into the 9.7-inch frame. The 10.5-inch iPad Air is slimmer (6.1mm) and lighter (456 grams) compared to 9.7-inch iPad which measures 7.5mm and weighs at 469 grams.
Apple 10.5-inch iPad Air vs iPad 2018: Display, Apple Pencil support
The 10.5-inch iPad Air has a 10.5-inch display, while the old iPad has a 9.7-inch display. Both are retina displays and they both have a pixel density of 264 ppi. To be more precise, the new iPad Air has a screen resolution of 2224 x 1668 and the 9.7-inch iPad offers a 2048 x 1536 resolution. Besides being larger, the iPad Air has a fully laminated display, with an anti-reflective coating and a P3 wide colour display supported by Apple’s True Tone technology. In fact, the LED-backlit panel has 500 nits brightness. The 9.7-inch iPad does not offer any of the mentioned specs.
Both the 10.5-inch iPad Air and 9.7-inch iPad are compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil, though. The Apple Pencil is sold separately for Rs 8500.
Apple 10.5-inch iPad Air vs iPad 2018: Hardware, software
When it comes to power, the iPad Air beats the 9.7-inch iPad by a huge margin. Thanks to Apple’s A12 Bionic chipset and the second-generation Neural Engine coprocessor inside the iPad Air, expect a 70 per cent performance boost over the iPad 9.7. Comparatively, the 9.7-inch iPad offers the A10 Fusion processor with embedded M10 coprocessor.
Battery life is more or less the same on both the tablets, however. Apple promises 10 hours of battery backup on the 10.5-inch iPad Air and 9.7-inch iPad. Both the tablets offer the 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speakers, the Lighting port, dual microphones, and Wi-Fi/LTE connectivity. But the iPad Air is also compatible with Apple’s smart keyboard, which makes the tablet more productive.
Both devices run on iOS 12, delivering the same set of features and user experience.
Apple 10.5-inch iPad Air vs iPad 2018: Cameras
The 10.5-inch iPad Air and the iPad 9.7 come with an 8MP rear camera with an aperture of f/2.4 with autofocus. You will also notice a 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera on both tablets. Plus, there is also a Retina Flash on both devices. Speaking of video recording, the iPad Air and 9.7-inch iPad offer 1080p video recording from their front and rear cameras.
Apple 10.5-inch iPad Air vs iPad 2018: Price and availability
The base model of the iPad Air costs Rs 44,900 (Wi-Fi-only), whereas the one with Wi-Fi and cellular will cost Rs 55,900. The iPad Air can be purchased in two storage options – 64GB and 256GB. Apple is yet to announce the exact availability of the new iPad Air in India.
The 9.7-inch iPad was announced last year, with the base model starting at Rs 28,000 for the 32GB model. If you head over to Amazon India or Flipkart, you can get last year’s iPad for as low as Rs 26,000.
Apple 10.5-inch iPad Air vs iPad 2018: Early Conclusion
Undoubtedly, the iPad Air has an edge over the 9.7-inch iPad. You can clearly see the improvements being made to justify the price of Rs 44,900. The new tablet not only offers a larger display and better processor, but it is also slimmer and lighter. Perhaps what makes the 10.5-inch iPad Air an iPad Pro-like device is its compatibility with the smart keyboard. Keep in mind that you have to shell out an additional Rs 13,500 for the smart keyboard.
But again, it’s not necessarily to buy the 10.5-inch iPad Air in case you bought last year’s iPad. The 9.7-inch iPad is not only cheaper than the iPad Air and you get reasonably good performance and battery life, alongside Apple Pencil support.