New iPad Air with M1 was designed for creators & students, Apple exec says

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The new 2022 iPad Air was equipped with an M1 chip to meet the needs of both creative and productive users of the midrange tablet, according to an Apple executive.

Apple's Katie McDonald, the company's iPad Product Marketing Manager, recently spoke with YouTuber Brian Tong and a pair of content creators about the new iPad Air — including how the company went about thinking what features the next generation should have.

For example, in designing a new iPad Air with an iPad AirM1 chipset, McDonald said that Apple really examined how users and customers were already using the previous generation model of the iPad Air — and thought about how the M1 would bring a "massive leap" in performance to the midrange device.

"So it was really thinking about how people were using the iPad Air and we knew that the M1 was just gonna be a really quick fit for those customers," McDonald said. "We had planned to bring it and we're really excited to finally introduce it to the world."

As far as the target market for the new iPad Air, the Apple executive said that the tablet represents a step above the entry-level iPad. In other words, the device is aimed at content creators, college students, gamers, and other users whose expectations of performance are "really at the highest level."

"Maybe it's not their career, maybe they're not building a commercial," McDonald said. "But there are people where it's their hobby, it's their passion."

To that end, McDonald said that Apple planned on bringing an upgraded feature set to the iPad Air to enable those creative and productive workflows.

At one point during the video, Tong asked McDonald where the iPad Pro goes from here. Although McDonald didn't give any hints about future models, she said that the iPad Pro still continues to be the Apple tablet of choice for serious professionals.

"iPad Pro continues to feature the most advanced technologies that we offer on iPad," McDonald said. "That, of course, is gonna include that Liquid Retina with ProMotion ... it's gonna feature Thunderbolt connectivity, five studio-quality mics, four-speaker audio, that pro camera system on the back."

The full interview, which clocks in at about 45 minutes, is worth a watch for anyone interested in creative or productive workflows on the iPad Air. It's available to view here.