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Apple announces the M2 iPad Air with a larger 13-inch screen

Tuesday May 7, 2024. 06:05 PM , from Macworld UK
Apple announces the M2 iPad Air with a larger 13-inch screen

At its Let Loose event on May 7, Apple announced an all-new version of the iPad Air. As expected, the update includes a larger-screen model and an upgrade from the M1 to the M2 processor.

The new Air comes in four similar colors: blue, purple, Starlight, and Space Gray. But there’s a lot more to this upgrade than appearances.

Upgraded screen

The eye-catching change for the 2024 generation is the new larger screen option. Ahead of the event, pundits predicted that the iPad Air would match the Pro and offer a mid-size (11-inch) and large (12.9-inch) display spec. But Apple went a little further than expected and bumped the Air to a full 13 inches, matching the M4 iPad Pro.

Tech-wise, this is essentially the same screen as we got last time (there’s no mini-LED as was predicted at one point, just LED, and no ProMotion), only bigger. Whereas the 11-inch model has screen specs of 2360×1640 at 264ppi, the same as the 5th-gen iPad Air from 2022, the 13-inch model is bumped to 2360×1640, also at 264ppi. The larger screen also gets a higher brightness rating, at 600 nits max compared to 500 on both the new 11-inch model and the 2024 Air.

Finally, both of the new Air models have displays that support the Hover feature (introduced in 2022 on the iPad Pro only) with the new Apple Pencil Pro. Note that they’re not compatible with the Apple Pencil 1st gen or 2nd gen, but they do work with the Apple Pencil USB-C. Yes, it’s confusing.




Camera setup

The little-used rear-facing camera on the iPad Air is largely the same as before, other than a predictable bump from Smart HDR 3 to Smart HDR 4 for those awkward lighting conditions you’re unlikely to be tackling with an iPad. It’s still a 12MP wide lens with a f/1.8 aperture and 5x digital zoom.

The real fun happens at the front. After shifting the camera from the short to the long edge on the 10-gen iPad back in 2022, Apple has finally decided to do the same thing on its more expensive tablets, including the Air. The landscape camera will make video calls far more natural and intuitive. We knew this was coming, but it’s still good to see.




Tech specs

At the heart of the new Air sits an M2 processor, with an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, in an obvious step up from the M1 in 2022’s Air. With the iPad Pro jumping this year from the M2 all the way up to the M4, this seems a little less impressive, but it’s still a speedy and worthwhile chip. And as Apple repeatedly said in the keynote, the Air is supposed to be a cheaper Pro for people who don’t need as much power and high-end features.

Apple boasts that the M2 delivers 15 percent faster CPU performance than the M1, 25 faster GPU performance, and a 40 percent faster Neural Engine. (Of course, we’ll need to make our own tests when we get a review sample but those numbers match previous testing.) If you’re upgrading from two generations ago, the 4th-gen Air with its A14 Bionic chip, Apple says you’ll see a performance boost that’s a whopping 3x faster across the board.

Storage capacities have been bumped, too. The 5th-gen iPad Air came with 64GB or 256GB, but the new models offer far more choice, including a top tier of 1TB. You pay for the privilege at those upper ends, of course, but the entry-level 11-inch gives you twice as much storage for the same price.





Other than this, the Air has been upgraded from Bluetooth 5.0 in the 5th-gen model to Bluetooth 5.3, and from Wi-Fi 6 to Wi-Fi 6E. And the 13-inch model only gets what Apple describes as “2x bass” in its stereo speaker setup. Don’t worry, we’ll test this too.

Release date and availability

The 2024 iPad was announced at Apple’s Let Loose event on May 7, and can be ordered right away. It will ship to customers, and appear in stores, on Wednesday, May 15.


The 11-inch iPad Air starts at $599. The 13-inch model starts at $799. Here’s the full pricing for the smaller model:

iPad Air 2024 (11-inch, 128GB, Wi-Fi): $599 / £599 / A$999

iPad Air 2024 (11-inch, 256GB, Wi-Fi): $699/ £699 / A$1,179

iPad Air 2024 (11-inch, 512GB, Wi-Fi): $899/ £899 / A$1,529

iPad Air 2024 (11-inch, 1TB, Wi-Fi): $1,099/ £1,099 / A$1,879

iPad Air 2024 (11-inch, 128GB, cellular): $749 / £749 / A$1,249

iPad Air 2024 (11-inch, 256GB, cellular): $849/ £849 / A$1,429

iPad Air 2024 (11-inch, 512GB, cellular): $1,049/ £1,049 / A$1,779

iPad Air 2024 (11-inch, 1TB, cellular): $1,249/ £1,249 / A$2,129

And here’s the price list for the new big-screen model:

iPad Air 2024 (13-inch, 128GB, Wi-Fi): $799 / £799 / A$1,299

iPad Air 2024 (13-inch, 256GB, Wi-Fi): $899/ £899 / A$1,479

iPad Air 2024 (13-inch, 512GB, Wi-Fi): $1,099/ £1,099 / A$1,829

iPad Air 2024 (13-inch, 1TB, Wi-Fi): $1,299/ £1,299 / A$2,179

iPad Air 2024 (13-inch, 128GB, cellular): $949 / £949 / A$1,549

iPad Air 2024 (13-inch, 256GB, cellular): $1,049/ £1,049 / A$1,729

iPad Air 2024 (13-inch, 512GB, cellular): $1,249/ £1,249 / A$2,079

iPad Air 2024 (13-inch, 1TB, cellular): $1,449/ £1,449 / A$2,429


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