The iPad Air is the mid-range of the iPad line – more powerful than the “iPad” entry level, but usually lacks the latest and greatest features of the iPad Pro. Although the iPad Pro was last updated on March 18, 2020, the third generation iPad Air was announced a year earlier on March 18, 2019. It is a nice version of the iPad Air (my wife uses it every day), but after 19 months, Apple decided themselves that it was time for an upgrade. And boy did the iPad Air get an upgrade. Yesterday, Apple held an online event where it had many new announcements such as two new Apple Watch models, a new iPad at the beginning level, new services and more. I will discuss these announcements in the next few days, but today I will focus on one that will be of interest to many lawyers: the new fourth generation iPad Air. It has much more in common with the current version of the 1
The physical size of the new iPad Air is practically the same as both the 11 “iPad Pro and the third generation iPad Air: 9.74” x 7 “x .24”. And all these devices weigh a pound. I think of this as the traditional iPad size and shape. It’s not as big as the 12.9 “iPad Pro. And it’s not as small as the iPad mini.
Due to the larger frame, the third generation iPad Air had a 10.5 “(diagonal) screen. The new iPad Air has a 10.9” screen – almost as big as the 11 “screen on the iPad Pro. Like the iPad Pro, the new iPad Air has a Liquid Retina display – which is excellent, but not as good as the OLED screen on the most expensive iPhones.
The new iPad Air is not as light as the iPad Pro (500 units versus the iPad Air’s 600 units), and the iPad Air lacks the ProMotion technology that makes moving objects on the iPad Pro screen appear even smoother. Thus, side by side, you will almost certainly be able to tell that the iPad Pro screen is better. But the iPad Air screen should still be so good that most people will not notice the difference in normal use.
The larger frame on the third generation iPad Air provided space for a home button with Touch ID. The iPad Pro uses a thinner frame without a button to provide more screen, so it uses Face ID to unlock. The new iPad Air uses a third technology: a Touch ID fingerprint scanner built into the power button. Some Android phones already have a fingerprint sensor in the power button, and my understanding is that people like them. Hopefully this means that Apple has a good solution here.
In fact, every time I try to unlock my iPhone while wearing a mask, I wish I had a fingerprint sensor on it somewhere. Hopefully it will not be too long before we can safely return to a life with masks, but in the meantime I find myself a little jealous of devices that use Touch ID instead of Face ID.
Apple Pencil is a great accessory for lawyers. You can comment on documents, take handwritten notes and more. The previous iPad Air supported the original version of the Apple Pencil, but the new iPad Air now supports the second generation Apple Pencil, which is a big improvement. It adds the ability to tap the page to switch tools, a flat side that you can use to attach the pencil magnetically to the iPad to charge it (and to prevent the pencil from rolling off a desk), and even more precision . Apple Pencil 2 compatibility used to be a major reason to blow up for an iPad Pro, but now you can get the same power with a mid-sized iPad.
Apple’s latest processor is the A14 Bionic, and the first device that Apple announced to use it is the new iPad Air. You can not even buy an iPhone with an A14 yet, although I expect it to change in a few weeks. Apple says that this new processor will give a big leap in performance, and I’m sure that’s true.
How will the A14 in a new iPad Air compare to the A12Z in the version of the 11 “iPad Pro that came out earlier this year? That’s a good question, and we should have an answer as soon as people get these new devices in. The A12Z has a few features that can do better for some applications, such as some graphics, than the version of the A14 in the new iPad Air, yet it will not surprise me if tests reveal that the two devices have similar performance – or maybe the iPad Air will be better.
I’ve already mentioned the Apple Pencil 2, but the new iPad Air also works with another accessory that previously required an iPad Pro: the $ 299 Magic Keyboard for iPad. This is the new keyboard that was introduced earlier this year, which includes an excellent trackpad and uses magnets to let the iPad float across the keyboard. This magic keyboard is a little expensive and a little heavy, but I have heard from many lawyers who really love this device for typing on the iPad. It’s nice that you can now use this accessory without having to buy an iPad Pro.
The new iPad Air also has a USB-C port on the side instead of a lightning port, another feature that used to be unique to the iPad Pro. Apple moved to USB-C on the iPad Air at the end of 2018, and until now, the iPad Pro had been the only iPad / iPhone sold by Apple to use USB-C. After using USB-C for two years, I am a big fan of the technology. It is easier to find USB-C accessories than it is to find Lightning accessories, and the port is as small and useful as a lightning port.
iPad Air versus iPad Pro
If you are a lawyer who wants to get an iPad, should you get an iPad Pro or the new iPad Air? If you want the larger screen of the 12.9 “iPad Pro, you will definitely get the iPad Pro. I love the larger screen for reading documents, and the extra space means that there is enough space to run two apps at the same time without be too cramped.In addition, the extra space is great to take handwritten notes, watch videos, watch web pages – more is better.
But if you prefer a more traditional iPad size, you should compare the fourth generation iPad Air with the second generation iPad Pro 11 “. Although you can buy a 64 GB iPad Air for $ 599, I do not recommend that size for professional use because you will run out of space when you upload it with documents, but the size of 256 GB is large, and in that size you can get the iPad Pro for $ 899 or the iPad Air for $ 749. (If you want even more space – 512 GB or 1 TB – you need to get an iPad Pro.)
An additional $ 150 for the iPad Pro gives you a slightly better screen, an extra ultra wide-angle camera that is compatible with portrait mode along with a better flash, four speakers instead of two, and a LiDAR scanner that enhances augmented reality. I suspect that none of these will make a big difference to most lawyers. And while I would normally think that any iPad Pro would be faster and more responsive than any iPad Air, with the new A14 processor in the iPad Air, I’m not so sure … and we’ll get more information when the new iPad Air becomes available in October. In addition, you get several color choices with iPad Air. In addition to the silver and space gray available for the iPad Pro, the iPad Air is available in pink gold, green and sky blue.
If you can wait a few weeks before buying, let’s see what the practical reviews say before choosing between these two devices. Still, at this point, I suspect I would recommend that most people who want an iPad that is around 11 “get the iPad Air for $ 150 less and use the savings to get a $ 129 Apple Pencil – unless you know that 256 GB will not be enough space for you. But I’ve been using a 256 GB iPad for a long time now, and while I sometimes have to delete some large items that are unnecessary to make space, such as a movie that I downloaded, is 256 GB big enough for me, and I load a lot of things on the iPad. (I see that I currently have 10 GB free.)
The fourth generation iPad Air will be available in October, and it looks fantastic. It is an iPad that many lawyers will love, whether they are productive with or entertained by their new device.