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New Apple iPad Air is shipping now: Prices, specs and more

Apple’s latest iPad, the iPad Air, is now shipping. Should you consider upgrading your tablet right now? Here’s what to know.
The new iPad Air gives you a thin and high-powered tablet that's stronger than the base model and more affordable than the iPad Pro.
The new iPad Air gives you a thin and high-powered tablet that's stronger than the base model and more affordable than the iPad Pro.Apple

The fourth generation iPad Air is here: If you’re looking for a powerful tablet from Apple and aren’t ready or prepared to shell out for the iPad Pro, this new model might be worth considering. Joining the eighth-generation iPad, which launched Sept. 18, Apple is calling the latest iPad Air the most powerful iPad Air ever and CNBC calls it “a big upgrade and the one most people should get.” Equipping Apple’s strongest processor, the new A14 Bionic chip, the iPad Air started shipping this morning. Add to that its upgraded all-screen front design, the new iPad Air for 2020 has made impressive overall improvements upon the last model and now also supports the second generation Apple Pencil.

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New Apple iPad Air

If you’re in the market for a new tablet yourself or considering gifting the new tablet this winter, now’s the time to see if it meets your expectations since major carriers are expecting shipment delays in coming months and advising earlier shopping than normal. To help guide you through the iPad Air’s enhancements, here’s a simple overview of the most important things to consider, from price to specs.

How much does the iPad Air cost?

Although the new eighth-generation iPad’s base price is $329 for the 32GB model, the iPad Air starts at a substantially higher price point: $599 for 64GB. However, that still beats the iPad Pro, which starts at $799 for the 128GB model. Education pricing is also available on the iPad Air for qualifying students and teachers, dropping the price to $549. For those looking for more robust storage, the 256GB option starts at $749.

The new iPad Air: Is it for you?

Whether you’re working, streaming or studying from home, this next-generation iPad Air may be worth the investment. At just one pound, the sleek design gives a lightweight feel without compromising on power. With a reported 40-percent boost in CPU performance and new 4-core graphics architecture, Apple is boasting there’s also a 30-percent improvement in graphics. These improvements from the last generation might be worthwhile for those considering the iPad Pro but aren't committed to spending more. A 28.6‐watt‐hour rechargeable battery also gives users up to ten hours of streaming while on Wi‐Fi. “I don’t really see a huge difference between the performance of it and the A12 Bionic in the regular iPad for apps and games,” CNBC’s Todd Haselton noted in his review, “but I think developers will start to take more advantage of it and we’ll see more impressive games in the coming years.”

iPad Air features

Setting the new iPad Air’s pricing and use cases aside, let’s take a look at its insides (and outside):

  • Top power button with Touch ID. For a fast-and-secure unlocking, the Touch ID has been integrated into the top button.
  • New 10.9-inch screen design. This iPad Air’s larger Liquid Retina display has an all-screen design supporting 3.8 million pixels and a fingerprint-resistant and anti-reflective coating.
  • Five finishes. Although the new iPad comes in three color options, the iPad Air offers five modern color finishes: Space Gray, Silver, Rose Gold, Green, Sky Blue
  • New accessories compatibility. Get more versatility out of working with your iPad Air by enjoying the second-generation Apple Pencil as well as other accessories like Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio.
  • A14 Bionic processor. This iPad brings the same power as an iPhone 12 with the A14 Bionic chip. With a 40-percent faster CPU, it lets you film a 4K video and edit it on the spot.
  • Higher quality camera. The upgraded 12MP wide back camera with 1080p HD video recording allows for higher quality photos and videos while the 7MP HD front camera offers sharper video calls.
  • Stereo speakers in landscape mode. Now with four speakers, it doesn’t matter if you flip to watch in landscape mode — you still get elevated audio.
  • USB-C port. Instead of a lightning port, the iPad Air uses a USB-C port for added flexibility with faster data transfer and connections.
  • Wi-Fi 6 performance. Utilize the latest generation of Wi-Fi technology for a faster performance (note that a device’s Wi-Fi 6 properties will work when connected to a Wi-Fi 6 router).
  • Reduced environmental impact. This model was designed to be more environmentally friendly, Apples claims, with a 100-percent recycled aluminum enclosure, 100-percent recycled tin solder on its main logic board and speakers that use magnets with 100-percent recycled rare earth elements.

How to buy the iPad air

The iPad Air is now available at Apple. After choosing your colorway, you can opt tick between 64GB and 256GB (note that the price jumps for the latter) as well as standard or cellular-capable models.

For those who are upgrading their current iPads, Apple Trade encourages shoppers to recycle eligible devices for credit towards their new purchase or an Apple gift card. With a qualifying trade-in, an iPad mini can get up to $175 while an iPad Pro can get up to $500. For a limited time,

Apple is also offering shoppers one free year of Apple TV+ with the purchase of an iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Mac, or iPod touch.

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