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Nine Reasons to Upgrade to
the iPad Air 2

Posted Friday, October 17th, 2014 by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

We ordered our iPad Air 2 at 8AM PDT today. While we wait for it to arrive, we have come up with 9 reasons you may want to consider upgrading from your 2013 iPad Air (or previous model).

1. CPU Faster: A8X chip is claimed to be 40% faster than the A7 in the 2013 model. Apple has a graph showing it 12 times faster than the original iPad, in case you still have one of those. We will attempt to quantify this with various CPU intensive benchmarks.

2. GPU Faster: Claimed to be 2.5 times faster than the previous model (and 180 times faster than the original iPad). We will attempt to verify this with our suite of graphics intensive benchmarks.

3. Improved Display: Anti-reflective coating and fully laminated display is designed to cut glare by 56%. Apple states that the "colors are richer, contrast is greater, and images are sharper." PhoneArena measured last year's iPad Air display at 1069:1 contrast ratio. It will be interesting to see if they rate the iPad Air 2 close to the advertised 1400:1 contrast ratio of the iPhone 6 and 1300:1 contrast ratio of the iPhone 6 Plus.

BTW, at 264 pixels per inch (ppi), the iPad Air 2's Retina effect will not be quite as 'retinal' as the iPhone 6 (326 ppi) and iPhone 6 Plus (401 ppi).

4. Improved Camera: Increased from 5 to 8 megapixels (finally!); added burst mode and 120 fps slo-mo video. That puts it on par with the iPhone 5S camera, but it's not as good as the camera in the iPhone 6 (f/2.2 aperture, up to 240 fps slo-mo video, cinematic video stabilization, continuous autofocus video) or iPhone 6 Plus (all that plus optical stabilization).

5. Faster WiFi: added 802.11ac capability

6. Added Touch ID. (Yes!)

7. Added Barometer: As with the iPhone 6, it joins other sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, GPS, compass).

8. Thinner and Lighter: Depth reduced from 0.29 inch to 0.24 inch (7.5 mm to 6.1 mm). Weight for WiFi only reduced from 1.0 pounds to 0.96 pounds (469 grams to 437 grams). Weight for WiFi + Cellular reduced from 1.05 pounds to 0.98 pounds (478 grams to 444 grams). Height and width remain the same.

9. No Loss of Battery Life (but no gain): In spite of faster processor, still rated at 10 hours of web surfing on WiFi, video watching, and music listening.


Geekbench list of overall cpu/memory performance scores for all iOS devices (watch for iPad Air 2 to be added soon)

FutureMark lists the graphics performance scores for iOS devices (watch for iPad Air 2 to be added soon)

Comments? Suggestions? Email , mad scientist.
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copyright 2014 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"