By Ashwin Rajagopalan
One of the key announcements at Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) event on June 3, 2019, was the new iPad OS. As someone who has been trying to get serious stuff done with an iPad over the years, this is indeed a welcome, and probably long overdue, announcement. It comes at a time when Apple has tweaked its entire iPad line up that now features three iPads that have been unveiled over the last nine months.
After spending time with the formidable iPad Pro (2018), the fifth generation iPad Mini (2019) and the new iPad Air (2019) a.k.a. the iPad Air 3, I have to say that the Air is probably the best bet for an average user. The Pro is without doubt the best iPad out there, but it’s laptop-like specs (including a 1TB internal storage version) are not for everyone. The Air lives up to its name with a light form factor (around 460 gms). It might pass off for an older iPad Air thanks to a form factor that hasn’t changed much but there’s more to it than meets the eye.
First, let’s get the device’s entertainment quotient or Content Consumption creds out of the way. The 10.5-inch display is replete with Apple’s proprietary true-tone tech that changes the display depending on the lighting. The bezels might be thick (especially on the top and bottom – where there’s room for the home key) but it still manages a decent 78.3 per cent screen: body ratio, thanks to the slim bezels on the side. Colours are vibrant on this IPS LCD capacitive touch screen (1668 x 2224 pixels) that packs 265 pixels per inch (PPI). Great for videos or graphic novels. Battery life – we managed 10 hours comfortably with extensive video usage — is another key strength and makes it perfect to play catch up on your favourite shows during long flights.
It’s the hardware that is the big story. At its heart is the A12 bionic chip, the same processor that powers the iPhone XS and XS Max. It’s geared for any level of multitasking or intense gaming. Apple has added the smart connector, a feature that was for so long reserved for its iPad Pro line. This allows you to pair Apple’s ultra-light smart keyboard or also keyboards by brands like Logitech with the device. This instantly transforms the tablet into a serious work accessory whether you’re working on word docs or sending out emails. This should only get better once users will have access to iPad OS in the next few months, which is equipped with better file management. The new Air also offers Apple Pencil (first generation) support, a handy accessory for making notes in the meetings and is also a great accessory for creative professionals. It’s one of the many reasons that make the iPad Aid (2019) a compelling proposition for work and play.
The iPad Air (2019) is available in silver, space grey and gold colour options. It starts at Rs 44,900 for the Wi-Fi only/64GB variant while the top-end 256GB/Wi-Fi + Cellular option costs Rs 69,900.