Apple has unveiled a completely renewed iPad Air along with a faster version of the cheapest iPad and the new Apple One subscription service.
The new fourth-generation iPad Air sits below the US company’s top iPad Pro line while inheriting its more modern design.
The iPad Air has long been one of Apple’s most popular models, originally launched in 201
The new fourth iteration of the iPad Air ditches the long-lasting design for one similar to the more modern iPad Pro. It has a slimmer screen environment and a less rounded appearance with square sides.
It has a larger 10.9-inch screen, but the same size as the previous generation tablet. But what it does not have is Face ID, instead relying on a new Touch ID sensor built into the power button on top of the tablet for the first time.
The new model also comes with Apple’s latest A14 Bionic processor, making it the first product from the company to do so. The new chip, which will probably drive the next generation of iPhones as well, is made on the 5nm scale, making it one of the first chips from any manufacturer to do so, and 40% faster than the previous chip in the iPad Air.
The iPad Air now also has a USB-C port, which replaces the older Lightning connector, stereo speakers and a new 12-megapixel rear camera taken from the iPad Pro. The new mid-range tablet is also compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard similar to the iPad Pro.
The new iPad Air costs £ 579 in the UK or $ 599 in the US, and will ship in October. Apple also improved the cheapest eighth-generation iPad with a faster A12 chip, costing £ 329 in the UK or $ 329 in the US.
The new cheapest and medium-sized devices are expected to be popular, especially as tablets have come into their own during lock-in and homework related to the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe and the United States.
In addition to the new iPads, the iPhone maker announced the launch of a new all-in-one subscription plan called Apple One. The total subscription brings together Apple’s various music, TV, news, gaming and storage services in one package, similar to Amazon’s Prime subscription.
There are three levels of Apple One starting with Individual, which include Music, TV +, Arcade and 50GB of iCloud storage for £ 14.95 per month. The family can be shared between up to six family members and increase iCloud storage to 200 GB for £ 19.95 per month.
The top-tier plan called Premier adds Apple News + and the new Fitness + services, plus 2TB of iCloud storage, shared with up to six family members, for £ 29.95 a month.
In the US, it costs $ 14.95, $ 19.95 and $ 29.95 for the respective levels.
The new subscription effectively sees discounts and simplified billing, which provides another opportunity to generate revenue and lock users into the Apple ecosystem.
iPad OS and iOS 14
Apple also announced that the latest software update for the iPad and iPhone lines will be launched on Wednesday.
The new iPad OS 14 makes Apple’s tablet more like a Mac than ever, with upgraded search and a modernized interface that includes desktop-like sidebars and toolbars. It also includes new handwriting recognition using the Apple Pencil and machine learning on the device.
It also gets most of the new features for iPhones in iOS 14, including a new home screen layout system that involves widgets and an Android app drawer-like place to store apps you don’t want on the home screen.
Siri has also been redesigned to flow over existing screens, instead of taking over the screen. Apple has also opened up the ability to set third-party apps as the default email app, browser and other bits for the first time.