The iPad Air is the first-generation iPad Air tablet computer designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. It was announced on October 22, 2013, and was released on November 1, 2013. The iPad Air features a thinner design with similarities to the contemporaneous iPad Mini 2 with the same 64-bit Apple A7 processor with M7 coprocessor. It was then discontinued with the launch of a 9.7 inch iPad Pro on March 21, 2016.
iPad Air in Space Gray
|Generation||First Air Generation (iPad 5th Gen)|
|Release date||November 1, 2013|
|Discontinued||March 21, 2016|
|Operating system||Original: iOS 7.0.3|
Current: iOS 12.3, released May 13, 2019
|System-on-chip used||Apple A7 with 64-bit architecture and Apple M7 motion co-processor|
|CPU||1.4 GHz dual-core 64-bit|
|Memory||1 GB LPDDR3 RAM |
|Storage||16, 32, 64, 128 GB flash memory|
|Display||9.7 inches (250 mm) 2,048 × 1,536 px color IPS display, (264 ppi) with a 4:3 aspect ratio, oleophobic coating|
|Input||Multi-touch screen, headset controls, M7 motion co-processor, proximity and ambient light sensors, 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, digital compass, dual microphone|
|Camera||Front: 1.2 MP, 720p HD|
Rear: OmniVision Technologies OV5650 5.0 MP AF, iSight with Five Element Lens, Hybrid IR filter, video stabilisation, face detection, HDR, ƒ/2.4 aperture
|Power||Built-in rechargeable Li-Po battery|
8,827 mAh 3.73 V 32.9 W⋅h (118 kJ)
|Online services||App Store, iTunes Store, iBookstore, iCloud, Game Center|
|Dimensions||240 mm (9.4 in) (h)|
169.5 mm (6.67 in) (w)
7.5 mm (0.30 in) (d)
|Mass||Wi-Fi: 469 g (1.034 lb)|
Wi-Fi + Cellular: 478 g (1.054 lb)
|Predecessor||iPad (4th generation)|
|Successor||iPad Air 2|
Its successor, the iPad Air 2, was announced on October 16, 2014, and was sold until its discontinuation on March 21, 2017. The "iPad Air" name was brought back with the announcement of the third-generation iPad Air on March 18, 2019.
The iPad Air comes with the iOS 7 operating system, released on September 18, 2013. Jonathan Ive, the designer of iOS 7's new elements, described the update as "bringing order to complexity", highlighting features such as refined typography, new icons, translucency, layering, physics, and gyroscope-driven parallaxing as some of the major changes to the design. The design of both iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks (version 10.9) noticeably depart from skeuomorphic elements such as green felt in Game Center, wood in Newsstand, and leather in Calendar, in favor of flat, colourful design.
It can act as a hotspot with some carriers, sharing its Internet connection over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB, and also access the Apple App Store, a digital application distribution platform for iOS. The service allows users to browse and download applications from the iTunes Store that were developed with Xcode and the iOS SDK and were published through Apple. From the App Store, GarageBand, iMovie, iPhoto, and the iWork apps (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) are available.
The iPad Air comes with several applications, including Siri, Safari, Mail, Photos, Video, Music, iTunes, App Store, Maps, Notes, Calendar, Game Center, Photo Booth, and Contacts. Like all iOS devices, the iPad can sync content and other data with a Mac or PC using iTunes, although iOS 5 and later can be managed and backed up without a computer. Although the tablet is not designed to make phone calls over a cellular network, users can use a headset or the built-in speakers and microphone to place phone calls over Wi-Fi or cellular using a VoIP application, such as Skype. The device has a dictation application, using the same voice recognition technology as the iPhone 4S. This enables users to speak and the iPad types what they say on the screen, though the iPad must have an internet connection (via Wi-Fi or cellular network) because the speech is processed by Apple servers. Apple also began giving away its popular iLife (iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband) and iWork (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) apps with the device.
On June 8, 2015, it was announced at the WWDC that the iPad Air would support most of iOS 9's new features when it is released in Q3 2015. Air users with iOS 9 will be able to take advantage of two features called Slide Over and Picture in Picture. Slide Over allows a user to "slide" a second app in from the side of the screen in a smaller window, and have it display information alongside the initial app. Picture in Picture allows a user to watch video in a small, resizable, moveable window while remaining in another app. Another feature, dubbed Split View (which allows the user to run two apps simultaneously in a 50/50 view), will not be supported by the Air, instead it will only run on iPad Air 2.
It was announced at the WWDC 2016 that the iPad Air (along with various other iOS devices) will support iOS 10.
It was announced at the WWDC 2017 that the iPad Air will support the latest version of iOS, iOS 11, while dropping support to its immediate predecessor, the 4th generation iPad.
Apple announced the iPad Air (together with other Apple A7 powered devices) will support the iOS 12 update making iPad Air one of the longest supported iOS device having to support six major versions of iOS from iOS 7 all the way to iOS 12.
The iPad Air marks the first major design change for the iPad since the iPad 2; it now has a thinner design that is 7.5 millimeters thick and has a smaller screen bezel similar to the iPad Mini. Apple reduced the overall volume for the iPad Air by using thinner components resulting in a 22% reduction in weight over the iPad 2. Though it still uses the same 9.7-inch Retina Display as the previous iPad model, an improved front-facing camera makes using FaceTime much clearer. The new front-facing camera is capable of video in 720p HD, includes face detection, and backside illumination. The rear camera received an upgrade as well; now being called the iSight camera, in addition to the same functions as the front camera it also contains a 5MP CMOS, hybrid IR filter and a fixed ƒ/2.4 aperture. The device is available in space gray and silver colors.
As with previous generations, Apple continued to use recyclable materials. The enclosure of the iPad Air is milled from a solid block of aluminum making it 100% recyclable. The iPad Air is also free of harmful materials such as BFRs and PVC.
Although the Air inherits most of the same hardware components from the iPhone 5S, such as its 64-bit Apple A7 system-on-chip and Apple M7 motion processor, it uses the same home button that was built in previous iPad models and therefore does not support Touch ID and fingerprint sensor. The A7 present in the iPad Air is slightly different however, in that it does not use a PoP design which stacks the RAM on top of the SoC. It also features a metal heat spreader to compensate for the slightly faster clock speed and better thermal management. The Air also includes a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera (iSight), a FaceTime HD front-facing camera, support for 802.11n, and an estimated 10 hours of battery life. It boots faster than any previous iPad model.
As with all previous generations of iPhone and iPad hardware, there are four buttons and one switch on the iPad Air. With the device in its portrait orientation, these are: a "home" button on the face of the device under the display that returns the user to the home screen, a wake/sleep button on the top edge of the device, and two buttons on the upper right side of the device performing volume up/down functions, under which is a switch whose function varies according to device settings, functioning either to switch the device into or out of silent mode or to lock/unlock the orientation of the screen. In addition, the WiFi only version weighs 469 grams while the cellular model weighs 478 grams – over 25% lighter than their respective predecessors. The display responds to other sensors: an ambient light sensor to adjust screen brightness and a 3-axis accelerometer to sense orientation and switch between portrait and landscape modes. Unlike the iPhone and iPod Touch's built-in applications, which work in three orientations (portrait, landscape-left and landscape-right), the iPad's built-in applications support screen rotation in all four orientations, including upside-down. Consequently, the device has no intrinsic "native" orientation; only the relative position of the home button changes.
The iPad Air was available with 16, 32, 64 or 128 GB of internal flash memory, with no expansion option. Apple also sells a "camera connection kit" with an SD card reader, but it can only be used to transfer photos and videos. As of the announcement of the iPad Pro 9.7-Inch on March 21, 2016, the iPad Air was discontinued.
All models can connect to a wireless LAN and offer dual band Wi-Fi support. The tablet is also manufactured either with or without the capability to communicate over a cellular network. The iPad Air (and the iPad Mini 2) cellular model comes in two variants, both of which support nano-SIMs, quad-band GSM, penta-band UMTS, and dual-band CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and B. Additionally, one variant also supports LTE bands 1-5, 7, 8, 13, 17-20, 25 and 26 while the other variant supports LTE bands 1-3, 5, 7, 8, 18-20 and TD-LTE bands 38, 39 and 40. Apple's ability to handle many different bands in one device allowed it to offer, for the first time, a single iPad variant which supports all the cellular bands and technologies deployed by all the major North American wireless providers at the time of the device's introduction.
The audio playback of the iPad Air is in stereo with two speakers located on either side of the Lightning connector.
The iPad Air has received mainly positive reviews. Writing for AnandTech, Anand Lal Shimpi writes that the iPad Air "feels like a true successor to the iPad 4," praising it for its reduced weight and size. Shimpi further states that the Air "hits a balance of features, design and ergonomics that I don't think we've ever seen in the iPad." UK Editor-in-Chief of TechRadar, Patrick Goss, gave the iPad Air a positive review, giving praise to the A7 chip and camera upgrades, as well as the crisp and colorful display. He concludes by stating: "It's hard to put into words how much Apple has improved the iPad, offering a stunning level of detail and power with a build quality that's unrivalled." Christina Bonnington of Wired awarded the Air a rating of 8 out of 10, calling the performance "outstanding" and noting that high-definition video streams and gaming animations are "smooth and stutter free." She also praised the loading speeds of Safari, the web browser.
Bonnington criticized the speakers for being slightly muddled. Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak criticized the focus on decreasing size and weight rather than increasing storage space and stated that he did not want an iPad Air as it did not fit his personal needs. Dave Smith of International Business Times wrote two less than positive reviews for the Air, arguing that while the device is nice, it does not bring anything new to the iPad. Smith strongly criticized the lack of Touch ID, and noted that the updates, such as the increased speed and the decreased size and weight, are only slight improvements.
The launch date for the iPad Air did not see as large of a turnout as usual for Apple products; however, this was expected by analysts due to the delayed release of the iPad Mini 2. The Air sold out in Hong Kong two hours after becoming available online.
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