iPad Air Is a Smart Buy Even if You're Not Replacing Another Tablet

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2013-11-05 Print this article Print

It could be that the Air will slide into one of the portfolio covers that include a keyboard and fit loosely but still work.

But there are more differences once you get past accessories and turn on the iPad Air. Apple included a much faster processor in the new iPad and also included a motion coprocessor. The combination makes the parallax effect provided by iOS 7 appear to work more smoothly and appears less likely to induce motion sickness.

For the most part, the faster processor doesn't have a lot of effect because so much of the iPad's speed is limited by the speed of the Internet connection. This means that the real delays in what you're trying to do with the iPad are happening in the cloud. However, there are exceptions. When I tried a couple of weather radar apps that I use for flight planning, I found that the animations started far more quickly and ran more smoothly than they had in my third-generation iPad.

The battery life with the iPad Air seems to be somewhat better, at least when it's in an environment with strong WiFi and strong Long Term Evolution (LTE) signals. While I haven't put either machine through an exhaustive test, I noticed that the old iPad ran out of battery power an hour or so before the iPad Air ran out. I should note that the old iPad isn't that old. Apple replaced it under warranty only a month prior to my buying the Air, so the shorter life on the third-generation iPad likely wasn't due to battery age.

There are other improvements. Apple has finally provided decent cameras for the iPad, for example. The speakers in the iPad Air seem to sound a little better, as well, although they still couldn't be accused of being high-fidelity.

When Apple releases a new device that replaces the previous model, there's always the question of whether it's worth spending the money to do the upgrade. In this case, I was replacing a third-generation iPad with one that had important features that I need, such as the improved cellular radios.

That justified the cost. But if I'd had a fourth-generation device, that might not have been the case. The fact that T-Mobile offers trade-ins on iPads does sweeten the deal somewhat. For me, the upgrade was worthwhile even without a trade-in. Whether it's worth it for you depends on your needs.



Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel