| Christoph Dernbach |
Berlin (dpa) – Apple has focused its advertising campaign for the iPad Air 2 on the fact that it is the world’s thinnest tablet computer.
But a test shows that what impresses isn’t so much its size as its powerful display.
When the first iPad Air came out a year ago, it was already the thinnest machine Apple had ever cranked out, at 7.5 millimetres.
But that was not thin enough for Jony Ive and his Apple design team.
The second version is only 6.1 millimetres thick, meaning it’s so thin that two of them wouldn’t even be as thick as one of the first-generation iPads, introduced in 2010.
The dpa recently tested a new iPad Air 2. It might be 30 grammes lighter than its predecessor, but that’s barely noticeable.
To boot, the boast that it is the world’s thinnest tablet won’t hold true for long, as competitors are already working on tablets that are a touch thinner.
More interesting than the millimetre and gram measu-rements is the way Apple trimmed down the iPad, because that reveals one of the tablet’s true strengths.
Apple took the iPad’s protective glass layer, the LCD display beneath it and the touch-sensitive layer and merged them together.
As an extra, Apple added a glare-minimising layer.
The combination means users not only have the sense they’re closer to the image when manipulating the screen with their fingertips, but they have far fewer frustrations with glare. It makes the screen much easier to see, even if looking at the display from a side angle.
The 9.7-inch size and 2,048 x 1,536 pixels of the display haven’t changed.
The iPad Air 2 is powered by a three-core, 1.5-gigahertz A8X processor.
Tests showed that the new CPU, which comes with an M8 co-processor, is about 40 per cent faster than the A7 processor of the older model, just as promised by Apple.
Just in terms of graphics power, the new iPad Air is about two and a half times more powerful than its predecessor, a trait that is most obvious with games. The Air 2 is also the first iOS device that comes with two gigabytes of working memory (RAM).
That level of technology ensures that the display isn’t the only part of the Air 2 that impresses.
It reacts quickly and without delay, even standing up through console-level games like Asphalt 8: Airborne.
However, most apps don’t put such strenuous demands on the tablet’s processor and graphics capabilities, meaning the machine should be able to keep up with progress for a while.
It’s the first iPad into which Apple has put its Touch ID fingerprint recognition system, which limits access to a snoozing machine as well as adding an extra layer of protection to sensitive data.
Online file storage provider Evernote relies on the fingerprint sensor to unlock data.
At the same time, the Air 2 loses the switch that used to be at the top right for turning off the sound and deactivating the display rotation.
The camera has also seen an upgrade, with the main one now meeting the same image standards as that in the iPhone 6.
That means eight megapixels of resolution, with better slow motion and time lapse functions. It can also take Full-HD video (1,080 pixels).
However, it lacks the iPhone 6’s image stabiliser.
The camera in the front also got a boost, enabling better selfies and videoconferences via FaceTime, Skype and other messenger services.
Additionally, the tablet supports the new 802.11ac WiFi standard, which should, theoretically, allow it speeds of up to 866 megabits per second. The Air 2 comes in gray, gold and silver and comes in a WiFi version or a 16 GB version with LTE.