iPad Air 4
Last updated: 1 week ago
Apple introduced the iPad Air 4 in September 2020 as the next evolution of the non-pro tablet line. It has a 10.9-inch edge-to-edge display, Touch ID in the power button, and powerful A14 Bionic processor. It also adds support for the Magic Keyboard and second-generation Apple Pencil, and USB-C. It brings pro-like power and design to the masses.
● Edge-to-edge design
● A14 Bionic processor
● Touch ID in the power button
● 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display
● Magic Keyboard, Apple Pencil 2 support
● Starts at $599, available October 2020
iPad Air 4 Features
Design and Display
The iPad Air 4 ditches the dated design of the iPad Air 3, moving to a 10.9-inch, nearly edge-to-edge display that closely resembles the 11-inch iPad Pro.
This fourth-generation model has a Liquid Retina LED display like in the current iPad Pro, but it lacks the iPad Pro's 120Hz ProMotion display. The iPad Air 4 display caps out at 60Hz, the same as in the iPad Air 3.
The display has a 2360 x 1640 resolution, with 3.8 million pixels. It also has full lamination, p3, True Tone, and an anti-reflective coating.
The new iPad has flat edges, similar to the third-generation and fourth-generation iPad Pro.
With the move to a nearly edgeless display, it was inevitable the iPad Air 4 would need to move away from the old home-button Touch ID sensor. Perhaps to keep the bill of materials down, Apple skipped Face ID and instead opted for a Touch ID sensor in the tablet's power button.
The Touch ID sensor sits on the top-right edge of the device while in portrait mode.
One advantage of the new Touch ID over Face ID is if you're using the iPad while wearing a face mask, you don't have to enter a passcode.
The iPad Air 4 moves to an A14 Bionic processor, the chip also expected to power the new "iPhone 12."
The A14 Bionic uses a 5nm architecture. Apple says it has up to double the graphics performance of the A13. The chip has a six-core CPU and 11.8 billion transistors, 40% more than A13.
The updated iPad also moves closer to the iPad Pro by switching from Lightning to USB-C.
USB-C support allows the new tablet to connect a wider variety of external desktop accessories, such as drives, displays, cameras, and multi-port adapters.
The tablet has a Smart Connector that supports the Magic Keyboard.
The Magic Keyboard has a built-in trackpad, scissor-switch keys, and magnetic mount that makes the iPad appear to hover above the keys.
Apple's updated tablet supports the Apple Pencil 2, which debuted in 2018 alongside the third-generation iPad Pro. This model is the first iPad outside of the iPad Pro line to support the second-generation Apple Pencil.
The Apple Pencil 2 supports wireless pairing and charging, magnetic mounting, and tap controls.
The new model ships in 64GB and 256GB storage options.
The new tablet has a single-camera system on its rear. The primary lens is the same 12MP lens with f/1.8 aperture found in the latest iPad Pro. It lacks the wide-angle lens and LiDAR scanner from the iPad Pro lineup.
The new tablet has a pair of stereo speakers, one on each side while holding it in landscape mode. The more expensive iPad Pro has a more robust four-speaker setup.
Apple's latest tablet ships in green, sky blue, rose gold, silver, space gray color variants.
iPad Air 4 Pricing and Availability
Here is the pricing breakdown for the new iPad Air:
- 64GB WiFi - $599
- 64GB WiFi + cellular - $729
- 256GB WiFi - $749
- 256GB WiFi + cellular - $879
The tablet will be available starting in October.
iPad Air Through the Years
Apple released the first iPad Air in late 2013. It served as the next-generation 9.7-inch iPad, replacing the 4th-generation model as the flagship in its tablet lineup.
That first-generation iPad Air adopted the design that initially arrived with the iPad mini a year earlier. It had side bezels that were much smaller than those on previous models, and the device was thinner and lighter than its predecessors.
The iPad Air 2 arrived in late 2014, taking lightness and thinness even further.
In 2015, Apple phased out the iPad Air branding. Four years later, Apple resurrected the name with the iPad Air 3. It borrowed heavily from the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, with Touch ID home button, Smart Keyboard support, and a 10.5-inch Retina Display.
In September 2020, Apple released the fourth-generation model, bringing the lineup into the current age of nearly all-screen Apple devices, along with A14 Bionic chip and Magic Keyboard support.
iPad Pro vs. iPad Air
The iPad Air 4 has an edge-to-edge display but lacks ProMotion, which gives the iPad Pro a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. ProMotion allows for more responsive Apple Pencil drawing, low latency, and a variable refresh rate for smoother content viewing and lower power consumption.
With the switch to USB-C, both the iPad Pro and iPad Air use the same port. That leaves the budget iPad and iPad mini as the only tablets still using Lightning. USB-C is a more versatile connection, opening the door to a wider variety of desktop and power-user accessories.
The new model's A14 Bionic chip is two generations newer than the A12Z found in the iPad Pro. Despite graphical advances in the A14, the iPad Air still has less graphical power than the pro series. The A12Z has eight dedicated GPU cores that give it a significant edge in graphically intensive tasks.
The latest iPad Air has a single-lens camera setup. The iPad Pro has the same standard lens while adding an ultra-wide lens and a LiDAR Scanner for augmented-reality (AR) apps.
The iPad Air has stereo speakers, one on each side. The iPad Pro has a four-speaker setup for richer audio.