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Unveiled as part of a refresh on March 21, the new iPad is a model upgrade to Apple's continuing line of iPads, fitting in as a budget-conscious option compared to the iPad Pro range, and offering a larger screen than the iPad mini 4.

In keeping with earlier models, Apple has retained the 9.7-inch Retina IPS display, with a resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels and a pixel density of 264ppi, and an oleophobic coating meant to resist fingerprints.

The A8X chip from the Air 2 has been bumped up to the A9, the processor used in the iPhone 6s and iPhone SE, as well as the M9 coprocessor. Unusually, while the M9 is used to allow the "Hey Siri" command to work on the iPhones, it will only function when the iPad is plugged into an external power source, not its own battery.

On the back is an 8-megapixel camera that has an f/2.4 aperture, a five-element lens, automatic image stabilization, though it does lack a rear flash. This camera is capable of creating 43-megapixel panoramas and HDR photographs, with it also able to record 1080p30 video, and 120fps slo-mo clips.

On the front is a 1.2-megapixel f/2.2 FaceTime HD camera, which offers HDR for photos and videos, and can record 720p video clips.

Connectivity is offered by Lightning, dual-band Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.2, though the cellular model also includes support for LTE, as well as assisted GPS and GLONASS for functions requiring the user's location. On the front is Touch ID in the Home button for security, with the internal sensor list including a three-axis gyro, an accelerometer, a barometer, and an ambient light sensor.

Power is provided by a 32.4-watt-hour lithium polymer battery, which is claimed to provide up to ten hours of typical usage. The cellular model has an identical battery capacity, offering the same ten hours of usage on Wi-Fi, and up to nine hours of web surfing when using LTE.

Size Change

It is noted that Apple has made the size and weight of the new iPad identical to the original iPad Air, measuring 240mm tall, 169.5mm wide, 7.5mm thick, and with a weight of 459 grams for the Wi-Fi model. The cellular version is slightly heavier, weighing in at 478 grams.

Its predecessor, the iPad Air 2, has the same length and width as the new model, but with a slimmer 6.1mm thickness. The Wi-Fi and cellular models of the iPad Air 2 are also lighter than the latest version, measuring 437 grams and 444 grams respectively. 

The design decision may cause accessory manufacturers to revive older cases and other products that fit the original iPad Air, such as tight-fit cases and other peripherals that are dependent on the size of the iPad. 

via iFixit's teardown of the 2017 iPad via iFixit's teardown of the 2017 iPad

Teardown

It appears that Apple used the first-generation iPad Air as a model for the new iPad's design, according to a teardown by iFixit. Taking apart the tablet, the team discovered Apple used essentially the same screen as the Air, as well as the same LCD timing controller, and an identical 32.9 watt-hour battery. 

While some aspects are similar, there are still some notable differences between the two tablets. The newer model uses the A9 processor with 2GB of DDR4 RAM, compared to the Air's A7 and 1GB of DDR3 memory. 

The new model's also using the same NFC controller and USB charging circuitry as found on the iPhone 7, but uses the older Touch ID sensor with a "real" button instead of the iPhone 7's solid-state button. There are also differences to the microphone and speaker holes between the models, and the removal of the Air's lock switch in the new model. 

Models

Potential iPad owners have three decisions to make about their new device: the color, the capacity, and the connectivity. For color, the options available are Silver, Gold, and Space Gray, with the notable absence of Rose Gold. 

The two options for storage are 32GB and 128GB, priced at $329 and $429 respectively for the Wi-Fi model, increasing to $459 and $559 with the addition of cellular.

Orders for the new iPad commenced on March 24, with customers starting to receive their orders from Apple's warehouses from March 30Big box retailers have informed AppleInsider they expect stock of the iPad to arrive at the start of April. 

Due to the streamlining of the iPad mini 4 line, the 32GB Wi-Fi model of the 2017 iPad is now the cheapest iPad available to purchase by $70.

 

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