iPad Air 5 to arrive 18 March with M1 chip, 5G and a new camera
The new iPad Air has been announced.
In this article we round up the latest news surrounding the iPad Air 5, from its release date and tech specs to new features, design changes and pricing.
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When will the new iPad Air be released?
The iPad Air 5 will be available to order from Friday, 11 March, and will be in shops from Friday, 18 March.
It was announced at the Peek Performance spring event (8 March), proving rumours correct.
Previously, “reliable sources in China” cited by Macotakara had pointed to a spring launch for the device.
Other evidence included a set of new Apple products that were spotted in the Eurasian Economic Commission registration database, which is generally a sure sign of launch activity. These included 11 models labelled as running iPadOS 15, at least some of which almost certainly refer to various configurations of the fifth-gen iPad Air.
Then in February, sources reported that new iPads and iPhones had been imported to India for testing ahead of launch. In addition to three variants of the new iPhone SE there were two new iPad Air models (A2588 and A2589) and what appeared to be an upgrade to the standard 10.2in iPad.
How much will the new iPad Air cost?
The new iPad Air is priced from US$599/£569, with Wi-Fi and Cellular models starting at US$749/£719.
Here’s how the upcoming iPad Air compares to previous iterations:
- iPad Air (2020, 64GB, Wi-Fi): £579/US$599/AU$899
- iPad Air (2020, 256GB, Wi-Fi): £729/US$749/AU$1,129
- iPad Air (2020, 64GB, Wi-Fi + Cellular): £709/US$729/$1,099
- iPad Air (2020, 256GB, Wi-Fi + Cellular): £859/US$879/AU$1,329
(You can find the lowest current prices in our guide to the best iPad deals.)
How does the new iPad Air look different to its predecessors? Here are the changes that have been announced.
Five new colours
The new iPad Air will come in five colour options: space grey, starlight, pink, purple, and a new blue shade.
The new iPad Air 5 will feature a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, with 3.8 million pixels. It’ll have 500 nits of brightness, full lamination, a P3 wide colour gamut, True Tone and an anti-reflective screen coating.
Tech specs and new features
The iPad Air 5 will feature some fantastic new tech features: the M1 chip, ultra-fast 5G and a new front camera with Center Stage.
Hot on the heels of the 2021 iPad Pro, it’s been confirmed that the iPad Air 5 will feature the M1 chip. The M1 is the most powerful chip Apple has created to date and it’s surprising – and great news for Air fans – that the iPad Air 5 will use it. It should deliver a solid performance boost.
According to Apple: “The 8-core CPU delivers up to 60 percent faster performance, and the 8-core GPU delivers up to 2x faster graphics performance compared to the previous iPad Air.”
Ultra Wide 12 MP Camera with Center Stage
The new 12MP Wide camera on the back of the iPad Air 5 will allow users to take sharper photographs and film in 4K video. It’ll also be compatible with Center Stage, which dynamically pans to fit everyone in the frame.
The new iPad Air will be compatible with the Apple Pencil (2nd gen), Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio.
There are also Smart Keyboard Folio covers in colours that’ll complement the new iPad Air colours: black, white, electric orange, dark cherry, English lavender, and marine blue.
Sadly, our hopeful plea that Apple would upgrade its storage options was not answered. The new device will be available with the standard storage options: either 64GB or 256GB.
5G and improved connectivity
The USB-C port will be up to twice as faster as the previous generation, with data transfers up to 10Gbps. The port will allow the iPad Air 5 to connect to a huge number of USB-C accessories, such as external storage (ahem – see above), cameras and displays with up to 6K resolution.
What software will run on the new iPad Air?
The next iPad Air will run iPadOS 15.
Version 15, the latest iPadOS update announced at WWDC 2021, has some exciting features. It improves the experience of widgets on the home screen, for example: not only are there more to choose from, but on iPad they now also have a larger format that takes advantage of the larger canvas. Because this means some of your frequently used apps might get pushed to secondary home screens, Apple also introduced an App Library that’s accessible from the Dock.
Tapping at the top of the screen brings up a new multitasking menu, offering options for Split-Screen and Slide Over, and new keyboard controls also support these features.
QuickNote, also available on macOS, and accessible on iOS, brings Notes system-wide. You can swipe in from the corner of the screen in any app to quickly scribble down a note with an Apple Pencil, then swipe away when you’re finished.
For developers, a more exciting addition is the updated Swift Playgrounds, which lets you build, test and even submit for approval iPhone and iPad apps right from iPad itself.
New privacy features include an exciting update to Siri: on-device voice recognition. Device-specific requests will now no longer require an internet connection to complete, and with no recording of your voice there’s no need to be concerned over how that recording is stored.
The upcoming release of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3 will also bring Universal Control. This will allow users to work with a single mouse and keyboard, moving between a Mac and an iPad seamlessly. This will even extend to dragging and dropping content between devices.
You can read more about iPadOS 15 in our dedicated article. It’s an exciting update – but we’re already looking ahead to iPadOS 16. Expect that update to be announced at WWDC 2022 in June, before rolling out to the public in the autumn.
You can read more about Apple’s upcoming product launches in other articles we’ve written.
Those eagerly awaiting the next iPhone announcements, for example, can read our thoughts on the iPhone SE 3 and the iPhone 14. We’ve got the latest rumours on the Apple Watch Series 8, too, as well as the next version of the Apple Pencil.
For a broader view of Apple’s year, read our guide to the new Apple products coming in 2022.