iPad Air 4 Features
Design and Display
The iPad Air 4 ditches the dated design of the iPad Air 3, moving to a 10.9-inch, nearly edge-to-edge screen design that takes on the same design as the iPad Pro. The case appears to be the same size as the 11-inch iPad Pro, but the bezels are slightly thicker due to a difference in the display technology.
This fourth-generation model has a Liquid Retina LED display like in the current iPad Pro, but it lacks the iPad Pro’s 120Hz ProMotion display. It is capped at 60Hz like previous generations, but most users may not notice unless they are coming from the iPad Pro or use the Apple Pencil extensively.
The display has a 2360 x 1640 resolution, with 3.8 million pixels. It also has full lamination, p3 wide color, True Tone, and an anti-reflective coating. The laminated display means that content appears close to the screen so it feels more natural when writing with the Pencil.
The iPad Air now has flat edges, a design paradigm Apple introduced in the third-generation iPad Pro and also used in the iPhone 12 series.
With the move to a nearly edgeless display, it was inevitable the iPad Air would need to transition from the old home-button Touch ID sensor. Perhaps to keep the bill of materials down, Apple skipped Face ID and instead opted for a Touch ID sensor in the tablet’s power button.
The Touch ID sensor sits on the top-right edge of the device while in portrait mode. The smaller sensor is just as accurate and secure as the original Touch ID, and Apple claims it was a feat of engineering to get it to work within the top button.
One advantage of the new Touch ID over Face ID is if you’re using the iPad while wearing a face mask, you don’t have to enter a passcode. Some speculation suggests this new Touch ID sensor could appear in a future iPhone model alongside Face ID to aid in the new normal of wearing masks.
The updated model moves to an A14 Bionic processor, the same chip that powers the iPhone 12. It is a big step up from the A13 and another proof-of-concept of Apple’s ability to push Apple Silicon forward each year.
The A14 Bionic uses a 5nm architecture. Apple says it has up to double the graphics performance of the A12. The chip has a six-core CPU and 11.8 billion transistors, 40% more than A12. Early benchmarks indicate the new chipset is approximately 20% faster than the A13.
The A14 has a 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine. Its performance gains make it the fastest processor Apple makes when tested on single core, though the A12Z Bionic still scores better at multi-core performance.
The updated iPad Air also moves closer to the iPad Pro by switching from Lightning to USB-C. It is limited to 5Gbps — compared to the iPad Pro’s 10Gbps — but supports the same peripherals. It can only output video up to 1080p when connected to an external monitor.
USB-C support allows the new tablet to connect a wider variety of external desktop accessories, such as drives, displays, cameras, and multi-port adapters. Users can even connect large USB-C hubs to connect to many devices and a monitor at once, all though a single connection.
Apple has moved most of its products to USB-C, though the iPhone and 10.2-inch iPad still use Lightning. The versatile USB-C allows users to carry fewer cables and move accessories between devices with ease.
- Support for the Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio
- Support for the Apple Pencil 2
- 64GB and 256GB storage options
- A single 12MP camera with f/1.8 aperture
- Stereo Speakers
- Available in green, sky blue, rose gold, silver, and space gray color variants
iPad Air Through the Years
Apple released the first iPad Air in late 2013. It served as the next-generation 9.7-inch iPad, replacing the 4th-generation model as the flagship in the company’s tablet lineup.
That first-generation iPad Air adopted the design that had initially arrived with the iPad mini a year earlier. It had side bezels that were much smaller than those on previous models, and the device was thinner and lighter than its predecessors.
The iPad Air 2 arrived in late 2014, taking lightness and thinness even further.
In 2015, Apple phased out the iPad Air branding. Four years later, Apple resurrected the name with the iPad Air 3. It borrowed heavily from the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, with Touch ID home button, Smart Keyboard support, and a 10.5-inch Retina Display.
In September 2020, Apple released the fourth-generation model, bringing the lineup into the current age of nearly all-screen Apple devices, along with A14 Bionic chip and Magic Keyboard support.