(Pocket-lint) – While at the Peek Performance event in March 2022, Apple announced a fifth-generation iPad Air, also called iPad Air (2022). Here is how that tablet compares to the old version, the fourth-generation iPad Air (2020). We looked at their size, display, processor, connectivity, and more to see which one on paper is worth your hard-earned cash.
What’s the same on the iPad Air models?
The fifth-generation iPad Air only received new internal upgrades, which means there’s nothing new about the outside of the tablet. It has the same general appearance, even the physical dimensions remain mostly the same. Both the fourth and fifth-generation models measure 9.74 inches tall and 7.02 inches wide, and they each are just 0.24 inches in thickness. But the both Wi-Fi and cellular versions of the newer model are a gram heavier. Still, you’d be hard-pressed to look at these and be able to tell the difference.
The fourth-generation iPad Air (2020) and fifth-generation model (2022) both pack a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with LED backlighting. The resolutions are also the same for both models (2,360 by 1,640 with a pixel density of 264ppi and a brightness at 500 nits). Both also support TrueTone for a more natural viewing experience, Apple saod.
As for the Apple Pencil, the second-generation stylus is supported on the new model as well as the last one.
The fourth-generation iPad Air (2020) and the fifth-generation iPad Air (2022) both use Apple’s general tablet standard of up to 10 hours of web surfing on Wi-Fi or watching video. Power is supplied via USB-C, and Apple includes a 20W USB-C power adapter for each.
Both models continue to use Touch ID for biometric security.
Both models include Smart Connector, so they can take advantage of the Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio.
What’s different on the iPad Air models?
The latest iPad Air is up to 60 per cent faster than the previous model and has twice the graphics due the M1 processor, Apple claimed. The latest iPad Air comes with the M1, the same desktop-class chip used in the iPad Pro range. It features an eight-core CPU, an 8-core GPU, and a 16-core “next-generation” Neural Engine. The fourth-generation iPad Air (2020) uses the A14 Bionic, featuring a six-core CPU with two high-performance cores and four energy-efficient cores, a four-core Apple-designed GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine.
Both rear cameras for the fourth-generation iPad Air (2020) and fifth-generation iPad Air (2022) have the same 12-megapixel wide camera – complete with an f/1.8 aperture, 5x digital zoom, and 4K60 video footage. However, on the front, the 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera has been replaced by a 12-megapixel Ultra-Wide version on the fifth-generation iPad Air (2022). As part of this upgrade, it also offers 2x zoom out. Better yet, the new camera supports Center Stage, so video calls and conferences can be more engaging.
Both models have USB-C for physical connections such as video output to an external display and storage devices. Each tablet also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. The fifth-generation model introduces connectivity over 5G, although Apple specifies that the 5G support is for sub-6GHz bands, which have similar coverage to LTE.
On the new model, there is no support for mmWave – the most high-speed part of 5G.
How much do the iPad Air models costs?
Current pricing is as follows:
Wi-Fi-only fourth-generation iPad Air (2020)
- 64GB iPad Air (2020)for $599 in the US
- 256GB iPad Air (2020) $749 in the US
With cellular fourth-generation iPad Air (2020)
Cellular models cost an extra $130.
- 64GB iPad Air (2022) for $729 in the US
- 256GB Pad Air (2022) for $879 in the US
Wi-Fi-only fifth-generation iPad Air (2022)
With cellular fifth-generation iPad Air (2022)
Cellular models cost an extra $150.
Note: The new iPad Air is available to order beginning 11 March 2022.
What colors are available for the iPad Air models?
Apple offers five colour options for the fourth-generation iPad Air (2020):
- Space Grey
- Rose Gold
- Sky Blue
Apple offers five colour options for the fifth-generation iPad Air (2022):
- Space Grey
The fifth-generation iPad Air has launched with an upgrade to M1 and 5G support, but it will be a tough sell for those who already own the fourth-generation model.
Sitting between the standard iPad and the iPad Pro, the new iPad Air has the same size and display as the previous model. But the massive processor and speed improvement,d plus upgraded cameras, is plenty enough to woo would-be buyers. Both are compelling tablets, but one is clearly far superior for basically the same price.
Writing by Maggie Tillman.