iPad Air 6 (2024) VS iPad Air 5 (2022)

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Intro

The last time Apple updated its iPad Air series was in 2022, introducing the 5th generation of its mid-range tablet and one of the best tablets on the market. After two years, the tech giant is said to have the next edition prepared for us, the iPad Air (2024).

This year there is a twist though, as leaks point at two iPad Air models in 2024, the regular 11-inch iPad Air and a larger 12.9-inch iPad Air variant. The likelihood of this rumor being true is pretty high, as the mid-range iPad series would sit perfectly nexto to the more expensive and premium iPad Pro models, of which it is also rumoured we will see a new generation in 2024.

So, without further ado, let us see what exactly will be different with the iPad Air (2024) and how it will compare to the 5th-gen iPad Air from 2022.

iPad Air 6 (2024) vs iPad Air 5 (2022) differences:

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

Some minor design changes and a new size option

The design and size are two of the main areas where Apple is said to introduce changes with the new iPad Air (2024) generation. For starters, there’s the aforementioned 12.9-inch iPad Air, which will be about 12.9 inches, or a similar size to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

The regular iPad Air (2024) will probably remain with the same dimensions as the iPad Air (2022), which are 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1mm  (9.75 x 7.03 x 0.24in). The weight probably won’t change too much either, so we expect it to hover somewhere around 462g.

The 12.9″ iPad Air dimensions, on the other hand, should be somewhere in the ballpark of 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm (11.05 x 8.46 x 0.25in), which is the size of the 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro. That being said, we expect it to weigh less than the Pro model. Given that the 11-inch iPad Air weighs about 5g less than the 11-inch Pro model, we expect the larger iPad Air to be around 677g.

Design-wise, rumors have hinted that Apple might finally move the front-facing camera on one of the sides, instead of placing it at the top bezel like it has been with the previous generations. This should make it more comfortable to have video calls while holding the tablet horizontally, which is the orientation most people tend to use their tablet in.

Display Differences

Speaking of displays, we don’t expect Apple to include anything crazy like Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED LCD panel that’s on the Pro models. There hasn’t even been any news about a higher display refresh rate, so it is safe to say that we will see the same 60Hz on the 11-inch iPad Air (2024) and the 12.9-inch iPad Air.

So, in other words, the only difference between the new iPad Air and the 2022 model would be the larger display of the 12.9″ iPad Air. This might seem insignificant as there wouldn’t be any actual upgrade to the display tech, but having the option to get a larger iPad without the need to pay the premium price for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is welcomed in our book.

Performance and Software

Better connectivity and a more capable chipset

Besides the design and size, the performance is the other part of the iPad Air (2024) that we expect to be a main upgrade over the iPad Air (2022). That’s because, at least according to the leaks, the new models will be getting Apple’s M2 chipset, which is advertised to have an 18% faster CPU, and a 35% faster GPU.

This is no small upgrade in terms of performance, and it will allow for some more demanding applications to run faster, like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, for example. Unfortunately, the M2 chip does not come with hardware acceleration for ray tracing, unlike the M3 chip said to come with the new iPad Pro (2024) models.

On the software side of things, you can expect the same minimum of 6 years of iPadOS updates and security patches. The 11-inch iPad Air (2024) and 12.9-inch iPad Air will come with the latest version of iPadOS 17. We are currently on iPadOS 17.4.

The 2024 iPad Air tablets will also most likely come with updated hardware for better connectivity. We expect support for Bluetooth 5.3 vs 5.0, meaning connections to Bluetooth devices will be more stable (especially at longer distances), and using the Bluetooth will draw less battery as 5.3 is more power-efficient.

There is also a good chance Apple will upgrade the Wi-Fi module to support Wi-Fe 6E (compared to Wi-Fi 6 on the 2022 iPad Air)l. This would enable the new iPad Air models to connect to 6GHz Wi-Fi networks, which can be noticeably faster compared to the alternatives.

Camera

From vertical to horizontal

The iPad Air (2022) comes with a single camera at the back, it has 12MP and an aperture of /1.8. It is nothing impressive, especially when placed to the recent iPhone cameras, but it does the job for quick snapshots. So far, we expect the iPad Air (2024) to come with the same camera (including the larger model).

The 12MP ultrawide front-facing camera of the 2022 iPad Air is arguably the more important one, given that we are talking about a tablet here. Apple intends to make some changes with this one, as we mentioned above, moving it from the top bezel to one of the side bezels. Besides making it more comfortable to have video calls while holding the tablet horizontally, this will also help keep you centered in the frame.

Other than the positioning of the selfie snapper, no other upgrades have been rumored to either of the two cameras on the iPad Air (2024). In other words, the main camera should be capable of 4K at 60FPS and 1080p at 240FPS video recording, just like with the iPad Air from 2022. Same goes for the front-facing camera, which can record video at 1080p 60FPS, and comes with Face detection.

Audio Quality and Haptics

Haptics are not that important with iPads, so Apple doesn’t pay too much attention the vibration motor inside or any software features that are related to haptic feedback. That being said, the speakers inside a tablet are of extreme importance, as most users buy one specifically to enjoy watching movies, TV shows, and videos.

The 2022 iPad Air has pretty good speakers, but unlike the Pro models that have four, it only comes with two. This isn’t likely to change with the iPad Air (2024), but there is some possibility Apple will upgrade the drivers with more powerful ones, hopefully with ones that have a bit more oomph than those of the last generation.

Battery Life and Charging

Larger body = larger battery

The 11″ iPad Air (2024) will likely keep the same battery size of 7,606 mAh as the iPad Air from 2022, but the new 12.9-inch iPad Air will most definitely have a larger battery capacity. If logic serves, we would venture to guess that the battery will be somewhere close to that of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which is 10758 mAh.

As for charging, there hasn’t been word of any upgrades, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that Apple decides to at least give the 12.9″ iPad Air faster charging to alleviate some of that extra charging time that comes with a larger battery.

Specs Comparison

Summary

So, in short, the main differences between the 2024 edition of the iPad Air and the previous generation from 2022 is the new 12.9-inch iPad Air with its larger display and battery. There’s also a performance upgrade in the form of Apple’s M2 chip, which will replace the M1 that the 2022 iPad Air came with.

What would make the new iPad Air models even more exciting though, would be some updates either to the display or the speakers, as both of these are integral parts of a great tablet user experience. Stay tuned for more information as we wait for the official announcement from Apple.


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