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Apple Releases Redesigned iPad Air (10.9-inch, 2020)

At $599, the 4th generation Apple iPad Air is the tablet for most people, especially those looking for a laptop replacement.

Apple iPad Air 2020 - Home Screen

Most Powerful iPad Ever

Apple today released the all-new iPad Air — the most powerful, versatile, and colorful iPad Air ever. Now available in five gorgeous finishes, iPad Air (4th generation) features an all-screen design (no more home button) with a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, camera and audio upgrades, a new integrated Touch ID sensor in the top button, and the powerful A14 Bionic for a massive boost in performance, making this by far the most powerful and capable iPad Air ever made.

2020 Apple iPad Lineup
iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad, iPad mini (left to right)

With a starting price of $599, the 2020 iPad Air is sandwiched between the regular iPad (10.2-inch) and two iPad Pro (11-inch and 12.9-inch) models. Yet, it many respects it is better than all of them, because it’s running on the faster, new A14 Bionic chip. Overall the iPad Pro is still more capable, but may have features that are unimportant to typical users. The iPad Pros provide better rear cameras, a brighter screen, Face ID, LiDAR scanning, and the option for greater storage. For further differences check out Apple’s iPad comparison page.

The new iPad Air is a huge upgrade over the previous iPad Air, unless you were fond of the home button, headphone jack and lightning connector. All are gone on the new iPad Air. Instead, the Touch ID sensor has been ingeniously relocated into the top button and a new USB-C input can simplify charging across a range of like-input devices. Plus iPad Air works with Apple’s Magic Keyboard ($299) for a sleek laptop-like experience.

Apple iPad Air with Magic Keyboard
iPad Air with Magic Keyboard

“Today we’re excited to introduce a completely redesigned and far more powerful iPad Air, debuting Apple’s most powerful chip ever made, the A14 Bionic. With its gorgeous new all-screen design, larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, next-generation Touch ID, and a massive boost in performance with A14 Bionic, the new iPad Air brings customers powerful pro features at an even more affordable price.”Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

Apple iPad Air A14 Bionic Chip

A14 Bionic

iPad Air delivers a massive boost in performance with Apple’s most advanced chip, A14 Bionic. It’s the same chip used in all iPhone 12 models, and is even faster and generation ahead (right now) of the A12Z Bionic chip used in Apple’s 2020 iPad Pro models. A14 Bionic uses breakthrough 5-nanometer process technology to pack in 11.8 billion transistors. That translates into increased performance and power efficiency in nearly every part of the chip. Apple’s new 6-core design claims to deliver a 40 percent boost in CPU performance, and a new 4-core graphics architecture for a 30 percent improvement in graphics (over the previous model). To deliver breakthrough machine learning capabilities, A14 Bionic includes a new 16-core Neural Engine that is twice as fast, and capable of performing up to 11 trillion operations per second, taking machine learning apps to a whole new level. A14 Bionic also includes second-generation machine learning accelerators in the CPU for 10 times faster machine learning calculations. This combination of the new Neural Engine, CPU machine learning accelerators, and high-performance GPU enables powerful on-device experiences for image recognition, natural language learning, analyzing motion, and more.

Apple iPad Air 2020 Rear Camera

Upgraded Cameras & Wi-Fi

iPad Air, which includes a 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera, now features the same 12MP rear camera used in iPad Pro for higher resolution photos and 4K video capture. However, iPad Pro’s extra rear Ultra Wide camera isn’t in iPad Air. The new design of iPad Air features stereo speakers in landscape mode, elevating the audio experience so users can enjoy wider stereo sound while watching video. The new USB-C port offers up to 5Gbps data transfer, which is 10 times faster (compared to previous model), for connecting to cameras, hard drives, and external monitors up to 4K. Additionally, get faster downloads thanks to new Wi-Fi 6 capability and speedier LTE that Apple claims is 60 percent faster. However, 5G won’t make it into any iPad in 2020.

Apple iPad Air 2020 Colors

Five Beautiful Finishes

The new iPad Air features a completely new thin and light design in five gorgeous finishes: silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue. The new all-screen design features a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display for a stunning visual experience, with 3.8 million pixels and advanced technologies, including full lamination, P3 wide color support, True Tone, and an anti-reflective coating for an amazing visual experience. To allow the display to extend on all sides, a next-generation Touch ID sensor is integrated into the top button, providing the same fast, easy, and secure way to unlock iPad Air, log in to apps, or use Apple Pay that customers know and love. iPad Air is compatible with Magic Keyboard and its floating design, and built-in trackpad, Smart Keyboard Folio, and new Smart Folio covers, as well as Apple Pencil (2nd generation), which attaches magnetically to the side for easy pairing, charging, and storing.

Apple iPad Air 2020 TouchID Top Button
Touch ID Top Button on iPad Air

iPadOS 14

iPadOS 14, which was released Wednesday, September 16, 2020, brings new features and designs that take advantage of the unique capabilities of iPad, such as its large Multi-Touch display, and versatile accessories. iPadOS 14 further integrates Apple Pencil into the iPad experience for better note-taking capabilities, and new ways to work with handwritten notes. When taking notes on iPad, Smart Selection uses on-device machine learning to distinguish handwriting from drawings, so handwritten text can easily be selected, cut, and pasted into another document as typed text using the same familiar gestures. Shape recognition allows users to draw shapes that are made geometrically perfect and snap right into place when adding diagrams and illustrations in Notes. Data detectors work seamlessly with handwritten text, recognizing phone numbers, dates, addresses, and links, making it easy for users to perform actions like tapping a handwritten number to make a call.

iPadOS 14 also brings Scribble to iPad, allowing Apple Pencil users to handwrite directly in any text field, making actions like replying to a quick iMessage or searching in Safari fast and easy — all without ever needing to put Apple Pencil away. Scribble uses on-device machine learning to convert handwriting into typed text in real time, so writing is always kept private and secure. iPadOS 14 makes the iPad experience even more distinctive and powerful in other ways, including:

  • New compact designs for incoming FaceTime and phone calls, Siri interactions, and Search to help users stay focused on the task at hand.
  • Universal Search to quickly find practically anything, from locating and launching apps, to accessing contacts, files, and information, to getting answers to common questions about people or places.
  • New sidebars for many apps including Photos and Files, and streamlined toolbars that consolidate controls into a single place, making them more useful than ever.
  • Beautifully redesigned widgets that present timely information at a glance right on the Home Screen.

Pricing & Availability

The new iPad Air will be available October 23, 2020 on apple.com, Amazon, Best Buy and in the Apple Store app in 30 countries and regions.

  • iPad Air (64GB, Wi-Fi) – $599
  • iPad Air (256GB, Wi-Fi) – $749
  • iPad Air (64GB, Wi-Fi + Cellular) – $729
  • iPad Air (256GB, Wi-Fi + Cellular) – $879

All iPad accessories are available now:

  • Apple Pencil (2nd generation) – $129
  • Magic Keyboard – $299
  • Smart Keyboard Folio – $179
  • Smart Folios – $79 in black, white, and three new seasonal colors including deep navy, cyprus green, and pink citrus.
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