Why I’m buying Apple’s new M1-powered iPad Air

Image: Apple. Apple's new iPad Air is powered by the Apple M1 Silicon chip and features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display.


Apple’s March 8 event showcased several new products, but the real winner in the bunch is the new M1-powered iPad Air. The new tablet ranks favorably with other popular products boasting impressive value.

Image: Apple. Apple's new iPad Air is powered by the Apple M1 Silicon chip and features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display.
Image: Apple. Apple’s new iPad Air is powered by the Apple M1 Silicon chip and features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display.

Discovering quality products that also offer compelling value is almost always a delightful experience. The Honda Accord, winner of Car & Driver’s 10 Best Award 36 years in a row, is just such an example, as are most Leatherman tools, Timbuk2 bags and Anker charging products. Following Apple’s March 8, 2022, special event, you can add the $599 iPad Air to that list of coveted products.

Power users seeking a capable tablet have typically turned their attention to one of Apple’s two M1-powered iPad Pros. Starting at $799 for a 128GB, 11-inch Wi-Fi model and topping out at $2,399 for the 2TB 12.9-inch cellular-equipped version, Apple’s M1-powered iPads were expensive. The new M1-powered iPad Air, sporting a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display runs only $599 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model. Boosting the specifications to 256GB with cellular connectivity increases the price, but to a more affordable $899.

SEE: M1 MacBook Pro vs M1 iPad Pro: Which is quickest in the real world? (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The tradeoffs, especially for small and medium-size businesses needing to buy multiple units, make the updated iPad Air a bargain. Apple didn’t skimp on features. The new M1-powered iPad Air features a capable camera (12 megapixels), video recording (4K at up to 60 frames per second), FaceTime (12 megapixel ultra-wide front camera with a 122-degree field of view and 1080 HD video), Center Stage video call support and high-quality audio (stereo speakers and dual microphones).

The new tablet is also compatible with two common accessories iPad users favor: Apple’s $179 Smart Keyboard Folio for iPad Air and the $129 2nd Generation Apple Pencil. Users seeking Apple’s Magic Keyboard, with its backlit display and integrated trackpad, are in luck, too. The $299 Magic Keyboard, is compatible with the new iPad Air.

Image: Apple. Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which includes an integrated track pad, is compatible with the new M1-powered iPad Air.
Image: Apple. Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which includes an integrated track pad, is compatible with the new M1-powered iPad Air.

Mobile users need not sacrifice networking performance, either. With Wi-Fi 6 compatibility and optional 5G support available in cellular models, the M1-powered iPad Air is a potent model that packs all the features and capabilities of iPadOS 15. The device’s expandability exceeds previous expectations, too, thanks to its M1 chip. In addition to connecting other drives or docking stations, the new iPad Air’s USB-C port supports up to twice as fast data transfer speeds and even cameras or an additional external display connected via an optional VGA, HDMI or DVI adapter.

Video mirroring is another option. The new iPad Air supports video mirroring up to 4K via AirPlay. Alternatively, optional adapters support video-mirroring or output using a USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter or USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter.

With up to 10 hours of web surfing via Wi-Fi or nine hours on cellular models, the new M1-powered iPad Airs are capable machines. I’m buying the mix. While I personally purchased an 11-inch iPad Pro last summer, if I need a new iPad or must recommend or purchase new tablets for employees or customers, the new M1-powered iPad Air is the model I’m buying. The feature-to-price ratio—forever a concern for SMBs needing to maximize technology investments—is outstanding.

Priced mid-tier, you’ll be hard-pressed finding a better bargain. That is, unless you’re in the market for a new Honda Accord.



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