October brought us a pair of new iPads from Apple: the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 — just in time for the Christmas shopping season. I love my iPad 2. It has become the primary computing device in our home next to our iPhones. I am ready for an upgrade and the iPad Air 2 looks like it has all the right stuff.
The new iPad Air 2 weighs in at less than a single pound and is 18% thinner than the previous iPad Air. You have seen the commercial where they hide the original iPad Air behind a standard #2 pencil, well the new commercial slices off nearly a fourth of the pencil and hides the new iPad Air 2. It feels great to hold. Head out to a Best Buy and see for yourself. The Air 2 is light and sturdy. Just like the new iPhone 6, the display has been upgraded and features a fully laminated display that makes the images on the screen look like they are sitting on top of the glass which is one of the things I like the most about my new iPhone 6. The Air 2 sports the powerful new 64 bit A8X chip as well as the M8 motion coprocessor. The iSight (rear) camera has been upgraded from a 5MP camera to an 8MP camera for even better pictures and video. The WiFi network adapter also got a little boost by adding support for the latest 802.11ac standard. The new Air 2 also includes the Touch ID sensor allowing you to use your fingerprint to secure the device.
The iPad Mini 3 received only one update from the previous generation…Touch ID. While not earth shattering it is nice to be able to secure the device and be able to unlock it quickly and easily. Beyond that the iPad Mini 3 looks to be identical to the previous generation. The mini 3 is still even running on the last generation A7 processor and M7 motion coprocessor. Even though it did not receive the same love this year the iPad Air 2 did from Apple the iPad Mini 3 is still a solid tablet for any task you throw at it, just in a slightly smaller package.
Both devices come loaded with the latest version of iOS 8, with all the same bells and whistles iOS 8 provides. Cool new apps like health are supported on both the Air 2 and the Mini 3. Apple Pay is supported on both devices using the Touch ID sensor, but there is no NFC radio so you can only make Apple Pay purchases on participating websites.
Tablets are amazing devices with unbelievable power and functionality that is always at your fingertips. I believe iOS still leads the market in ease of use. These 2 attributes are exactly why my entire family has given up in almost every instance using a laptop or PC for our daily casual computing needs.