Hands-On With the New M2 iPad Air

Apple this week came out with new iPad Pro and iPad Air models. The ‌iPad Pro‌ has a next-generation M4 chip and an OLED display so it got much of the attention, but Apple added a whole new size to the Air lineup to offer a more affordable way to get a bigger screen. We spent some time with the new ‌iPad Air‌ to see what's new and whether it's worth buying.

The smaller version of the ‌iPad Air‌ measures in at 11 inches, and the larger version is 13 inches, the same as the ‌iPad Pro‌. Prior to now, the only way to get a 13-inch tablet was to buy the Pro, but the new Air is a much more affordable option.

Pricing starts at $599 for the 11-inch version and $799 for the 13-inch version, while the 11-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ is priced starting at $999 and the 13-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ is $1,299. So the 13-inch Air is a full $500 cheaper. You're losing out on the OLED display, ProMotion, compatibility with the new Magic Keyboard, and the M4 chip, but not too much else.

The M2 chip in the ‌iPad Air‌ is still super fast and able to handle anything you might want to do on an iPad, and while the display doesn't have the brightness or the contrast of the OLED display, it's good enough for almost everyone.

Confusingly, the ‌iPad‌ "Air" name no longer really fits because the ‌iPad Pro‌ models are now thinner and lighter than the Air models, so you can also expect a little bit of extra bulk going with the Air line. The ‌iPad Air‌ can only be used with the prior-generation Magic Keyboard, but it does work with the new Apple Pencil Pro that has haptic feedback and a gyroscope for barrel roll.

At $799, the 13-inch ‌iPad Air‌ paired with a keyboard is probably the best ‌iPad‌ for those who want a computer replacement, given its size, speed, and price point. The 11-inch model is ideal if you want something smaller and more affordable that's still powerful, but for those who just want a simple tablet for watching movies or browsing the web, even the Air might be too much tablet.

What do you think of the revamped ‌iPad Air‌ and Apple's new iPad lineup? Let us know in the comments below.

Related Roundup: iPad Air
Buyer's Guide: iPad Air (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPad

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Top Rated Comments

smithc Avatar
5 weeks ago
It's an iPad. Feels like using an iPad.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bradman83 Avatar
5 weeks ago

Confusingly, the iPad "Air" name no longer really fits because the iPad Pro models are now thinner and lighter than the Air models, so you can also expect a little bit of extra bulk going with the Air line.
This has been true of Apple's Air product line for a while now; the MacBook Air was thicker and heavier than the 12" plain old MacBook back while it was still around. Personally I think both the MacBook Air and iPad Air should be renamed just plain old MacBook and iPad accordingly as they're the default consumer options, with the base model iPad renamed iPad SE and "Mini" models to denote smaller.

That alone would dramatically simplify the product line. Heck, call the 13" iPad variants and 15/16" MacBook variants "Plus" models if you want.

MacBook Pro

iPad SE
iPad Mini
iPad Pro

iPhone SE
iPhone ##
iPhone ## Pro

Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch ##
Apple Watch Ultra ##
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RobNYC Avatar
5 weeks ago
I got the 13" air on Wed and after having it a couple of days decided it was just too big. I didn't realize the heft of the thing so I returned it and got the 11. Since this is replacing a 7 year old iPad anything feels like a massive upgrade.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gusping Avatar
5 weeks ago

It's an iPad. Feels like using an iPad.
And the 11in $599 can do the same stuff as the $2000+ iPad Pro…
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
seek3r Avatar
5 weeks ago

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but why only an M2 and not M3? I would think that simplifying the lineup (so moving to just M3 & M4, instead of M2, M3 & M4) would help with economies of scale or something.
My bet would be that Apple will want to keep M3 use low because it’s a transitional node, more expensive and with worse yields than M2s or M4s
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GMShadow Avatar
5 weeks ago

And the 11in $599 can do the same stuff as the $2000+ iPad Pro…
I can use Word on a $699 MBA M1, why would anyone buy a $7199 loaded out MBP16?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)