The Apple iPad Air has made waves in the tech world, thanks to its feather-light design and punchy performance. However, much like with any device, it has its ups and downs.
We’ll dive into several reasons why you may want to think twice about buying the Apple iPad Air. But before that, let’s look at the device’s history.
Historical Context of the Apple iPad Air
The unveiling of the iPad Air in 2013 marked a significant turning point in Apple’s approach to tablet design and functionality.
Let’s journey back in time and see how the iPad Air evolved to its current state.
- Includes Apple's M1 chip
- 10.9-inch screen (2360 x 1640 pixels)
- Features Touch ID
- Wi-Fi 6
- Supports Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil 2 (not included)
2013 – The Dawn of the Air
The first iPad Air was introduced as a slimmer, lighter, and more efficient successor to the fourth-generation iPad. With a weight of just one pound and a thickness of 7.5mm, it was a stark contrast to its predecessors. This device was powered by the Apple A7 chip, making it the first 64-bit tablet, promising enhanced graphics and overall performance.
2014 – Enhancing the Experience
The iPad Air 2 was released with notable improvements. It boasted a thinner profile, an anti-reflective display, and the introduction of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. With the A8X chip under its hood, it offered 40% faster CPU performance than its predecessor.
- Inspected and tested by Amazon-qualified suppliers, which typically perform a full diagnostic test, replacement of any defective parts, and a thorough cleaning process
- Minimum 90-day supplier-backed warranty
- A8X Chip with 64-bit Architecture
- M8 Motion Coprocessor
- Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
- 16GB Capacity, 2GB RAM
- 8 MP iSight Camera; FaceTime HD Camera
- Up to 10 Hours of Battery Life
- Apple iOS 8
- 9.7-Inch Retina Display; 2048 x 1536p resolution
- Space Gray
2015-2018 – The Hiatus
After the release of the iPad Air 2, Apple shifted its focus to expanding the iPad Pro series. During this period, no new iPad Air models were introduced, leading many to believe that the Air series was being phased out.
- 8-core CPU and 10‑core GPU
- Wi-Fi 6E connectivity
- Features technologies like ProMotion, True Tone, P3 wide color, and ultralow reflectivity
- iPadOS makes the device more intuitive
- 11-inch Liquid Retina display (2388 x 1668)
2019 – A Breath of Fresh Air
Apple revived the iPad Air with the third generation, integrating features from both the standard iPad and the iPad Pro. This model brought in support for the Apple Pencil and a powerful A12 Bionic chip, bridging the gap between everyday users and professionals.
2020 and Beyond – Refinement and Redefinition
The most recent iterations of the iPad Air, starting in 2020, have seen design changes reminiscent of the iPad Pro, with slimmer bezels and the introduction of USB-C. The inclusion of the A14 Bionic chip showcased Apple’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what the iPad Air could achieve in terms of performance. The most recent iPad Air (5th Generation) was first released in 2022 and is still on the market today.
Throughout its journey, the iPad Air has been a testament to Apple’s dedication to merging form with functionality. It captures the essence of a device that is accessible to general consumers while packing enough punch to cater to the more tech-savvy needs.
This delicate balance, however, also brings with it the challenges and considerations that potential buyers must weigh, as will be discussed in this article below.
The 8 Reasons to Avoid an Apple iPad Air
The iPad Air is undeniably a marvel of design and engineering. However, like all tech products, it’s not without its downsides. Taking a closer look at these potential challenges can offer clarity for those standing at the crossroads of a buying decision.
Apple’s iOS, the heart of the iPad Air, is often praised for its stability and sleekness. Yet, this comes at the cost of customizability. If you’re someone who enjoys reshaping the interface, from icons to themes, the iPad Air might feel restrictive.
Unlike certain Android tablets that offer flexibility, the iPad Air keeps its gates closely guarded. Sideloading apps or altering certain functionalities often requires jailbreaking, which is not without its risks.
The iPad Air carries with it a premium aura, but this luxury is reflected in its price – a whopping $599. For those budget-conscious tech aficionados, this might be a point of contention. Apple’s meticulous attention to detail and user experience is commendable, but there are equally competent devices out there that won’t leave as significant a dent in your wallet.
Apple has made commendable advancements in multitasking over the years, but the iPad Air still leaves some room for desire. While splitting the screen between two apps is feasible, those accustomed to traditional laptop-level multitasking might find the experience somewhat constrained.
Lack of Expandable Storage
One significant limitation that could be a deal-breaker for some is the absence of expandable storage. For those who possess voluminous media libraries or manage hefty files, the iPad Air’s fixed storage can be a limitation. Turning to cloud services or external storage might become a necessity, which isn’t always convenient, and can sometimes be expensive.
Not a Laptop Replacement
For all its prowess, the iPad Air isn’t designed to fully supplant a laptop. While it excels at many tasks, certain professional-grade activities, like coding, intensive video editing, or managing complex databases, can feel a bit cumbersome due to software constraints and the absence of a conventional file system.
The allure of the iPad Air’s sleek design comes with a trade-off. Its thin profile and lightweight nature make it more susceptible to damage from accidental drops or bumps. Without a protective case, which adds to the cost and bulk, the risk of damaging the device increases. Replacement parts, especially for Apple products, can be expensive, and repairs are often not straightforward.
No Face ID
For those who’ve grown fond of Apple’s Face ID system, the iPad Air might disappoint. Relying on Touch ID for biometric authentication, it doesn’t offer the swift and versatile facial recognition system found in the iPad Pro range. This difference becomes even more pronounced when you consider scenarios like secure payments or effortless device access in varying conditions.
Lacks ProMotion Display
Artists, designers, or simply those who relish a buttery-smooth visual experience might miss out with the iPad Air. It does not incorporate Apple’s ProMotion technology, a luxury bestowed upon the iPad Pro lineup.
This means the iPad Air’s display, though still brilliant, lacks the ultra-fluid responsiveness of a 120Hz refresh rate – an aspect that’s particularly discernible when sketching with the Apple Pencil or navigating graphically-intensive applications.
Alternatives to the Apple iPad Air
The tablet arena isn’t short of contenders vying for the top spot. If the iPad Air isn’t up your alley, consider these formidable alternatives:
Microsoft Surface Pro 8
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is juiced up by Intel’s 11th-gen chips, RAM that scales up to 16GB, the vibrant PixelSense Flow display, and a storage ceiling of 1TB SSD.
This device blurs the line between tablets and laptops. The integrated stand is nifty and, coupled with the Surface Pen, will help your productivity soar. Also, it’s generous with connectivity options.
Check out the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 on Amazon.
Google Pixel Slate
- 12.3-inch 3000 x 2000 resolution display
- 10-hour battery life
- Chrome OS
- Two front-facing speakers provide superior audio quality
- Fingerprint reader for secure access
- Intel Core i5
- 8GB RAM
- Aspect Ratio: 3:2
The Google Pixel Slate sports the 8th Gen Core i7 for processing, up to 16GB RAM, a Molecular Display that’s sharp and bright, and storage variants that reach 256GB.
Chrome OS is at its heart, and it’s tailored for touch and traditional use. Updates roll in frequently, keeping it spruced up. Plus, it’s got a built-in stand that will save you from buying a supportive case.
You can find the Google Pixel Slate on Amazon.
Amazon Fire HD 10
The Amazon Fire HD 10 contains a snappy octa-core 2.0 GHz processor, 3GB RAM, a clear 10.1” 1080p Full HD display, and storage options that max out at 64GB.
Without burning a hole in your pocket, it delivers reliably. Alexa’s integration is a boon, and if you ever need more storage, just slot in a microSD card. Built to endure, it’s highly suitable for daily rigors.
Take a look at the Amazon Fire HD 10 on Amazon.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Series
- Includes Samsung's DeX feature for a desktop-like experience
- S Pen included with every tablet
- 11-inch Super AMOLED LCD display
- 128GB included memory, expandable up to 1TB with microSD card
Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Series boasts the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, RAM options peaking at 12GB, a stunning Super AMOLED display that refreshes at 120Hz, and storage choices that go up to 512GB.
It’s versatile with three size variants. The display is a treat for the eyes. Plus, storage woes? Pop in a microSD card. Also, the Samsung DeX offers a refreshing take on multitasking.
Check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Series on Amazon.
Lenovo Tab P12 Pro
- 12.6″ 2K display
- The 1.25 lb light weight saves you from the physical strain of carrying this tablet
- 12.6" screen allows a great view of movies and TV shows and yet is small enough to easily carry
- The lavish 3.20 GHz processing speed and 6 GB memory lets you easily juggle between social, professional and gaming apps
- Retrieve global maps and navigate with the help of GLONASS
- Octa-core (Kryo 585 Single-core (1 Core) 3.20 GHz + Kryo 585 Triple-core (3 Core) 2.42 GHz + Kryo 585 Quad-core (4 Core) 1.80 GHz)
The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro is armed with the Snapdragon 870, RAM up to 8GB, a 12.6-inch AMOLED display refreshing at 120Hz, and storage variants that top at 256GB.
With its Precision Pen 3 (included) and a keyboard, it’s a multitasking beast. It promises long battery hours, and its quad speakers promise rich audio. Plus, you can always increase storage with a microSD.
The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro is available on Amazon right now.
The iPad Air, with its bouquet of offerings, is tempting. However, it’s important to juxtapose its cons against its pros.
Your unique needs and preferences are paramount. Reflect on what you seek in a tablet before you splurge.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©sergey causelove/Shutterstock.com.