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Apple iPad Air vs Apple iPad 4: Spec comparison

HardwareFeatures
by Will Greenwald, 24 Oct 2013Features
Apple iPad Air vs Apple iPad 4: Spec comparison

Last year, when we reviewed the 4th-generation Apple iPad, we gave it a whopping 5 stars and our Best Buy award. Now Apple has another iPad on the way with even more impressive specs.

The iPad Air will replace the previous iPad 4 (but 2011's iPad 2 will, puzzlingly, remain available for an increasingly unreasonable £329), which is great news for anyone looking to get the newest Apple tablet. However, the question we’re asking here is: If you already have a 4th-generation iPad, should you upgrade to the iPad Air?

The first major difference is that the iPad Air is slightly thinner and much lighter than the previous iPad. While the "20 per cent thinner" claim sounds impressive, that means just 1.9mm shaved off in an area where devices are already amazingly thin. Still, it is thinner, and it is a much lighter tablet, at 470 grams compared to the previous iPad's 650 grams.

Spec-wise, the iPad Air is a 9.7in iPhone 5S. It has the same 64-bit A7 processor and M7 coprocessor as the iPhone 5S – it just lacks the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. The screen is higher resolution, of course, sharing the same 2,048 x 1,536 Retina Display as the previous iPad. It seems to combine the best of both worlds, even if iPad users hoping for an upgrade past Retina's 264 dpi will be disappointed.

The iPad Air gets some welcome networking upgrades, with MIMO Wi-Fi support which Apple claims is twice as fast as before, along with expanded cellular LTE compatibility. The price is the same as the previous iPad, starting at £399 for the Wi-Fi-only 16GB model, and running up to £739 for the Wi-Fi/LTE 128GB model. The iPad Air will be available to order on 1 November.

If you don't have a tablet and are looking to get an iPad, or if your iPad is two or more generations old, you should definitely pick up the iPad Air as a replacement. However, if you have a 4th-generation iPad and you're happy with the performance and feel, you should probably wait until the next half-step upgrade of the iPad Air. It's a faster, lighter tablet, but until more apps take advantage of the 64-bit CPU, or until Apple offers a significant feature upgrade like a higher resolution screen or better camera, there aren't many reasons to buy a new iPad just a year after you bought the last one that's still going strong.

For more on Apple’s new tablet, check out our iPad Air hands-on, and also our spec comparison between the iPad Air and the new iPad mini Retina.

 

Apple iPad Air

Apple iPad 4

Display

   

Screen size

9.7in

9.7in

Resolution

2,048 x 1,536 pixels

2,048 x 1,536 pixels

Pixel density

264 PPI

264 PPI

Type

IPS LCD

IPS LCD

Processor and battery

   

Family

Apple A7

Apple A6X

Cores

Dual-core

Dual-core

Clock speed

TBC

1.4GHz

Battery

Claimed 10 hrs life

Claimed 10 hrs life

Storage and memory

   

Internal memory

16 / 32 / 64 / 128GB

16 / 32 / 64 / 128GB

Card slot

No

No

RAM

TBC

1GB

Camera

   

Megapixels

Front: 1.2MP

Rear: 5MP

Front: 1.2MP

Rear: 5MP

Video

720p

720p

Dimensions

   

Size

240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm

241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4mm

Weight

469g

652g

Operating System

iOS 7

iOS 7

Price

Wi-Fi: £399 (16GB); £479(32GB); £559 (64GB); £639 (128GB)

Wi-Fi + Cellular: £499 (16GB); £579 (32GB); £659 (64GB); £739 (128GB)

Discontinued

UK Availability

1 November

Discontinued

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