At its Tuesday media event (live stream options here), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) finally introduced its fifth-generation full-size iPad, which is not called "iPad 5" but rather "iPad Air." The release date for the iPad Air is set for Friday, Nov. 1, and its price will start at $499 and range up to $929.
The design of the 9.7-inch iPad has remained static since the March 2011 release of the iPad 2, but two and a half years and two iPad models later, Apple finally revamped the full-size iPad to better resemble its "mini" counterpart. Apple has chosen to release the iPad Air with the same thickness, thin side bezels and symmetrical speaker grilles as the iPad mini, as well as a similar aluminum unibody and less-tapered back for an easier grip. With this new form factor, the iPad Air is significantly lighter than its predecessors at just 1 pound, which makes it the lightest tablet currently on the market.
The iPad 4 was powered by a dual-core A6X chip with quad-core graphics, but for the release of the iPad Air, Apple implemented its new A7 chip, the same processor that powered the iPhone 5s. Unfortunately, the presence of an A7 chip doesn't mean Apple chose to release Touch ID in the new iPad Air, but it does release with Apple's latest M7 co-processor, which is largely reserved for the upcoming iWatch.
The iPad Air also comes with a new camera: While the iPad 4 featured a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with 720p HD video and a 5-megapixel rear-side camera with 1080p HD video, Apple tweaked both cameras, opting to release the iPad Air with the same 5-megapixel camera with larger pixels (like the iPhone 5s) and a slightly improved 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with 1080p HD video. The iPad Air will also release with faster Wi-Fi and more LTE bands on the cellular model, but both iPad Air models (Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + cellular) will release in two color options: white with silver, and space grey with black.
What do you think of the iPad Air? Are you upset it's not called the iPad 5? Do you plan on purchasing the new iPad when it is released on Nov. 1? Sound off in the comments section below.
Follow Dave Smith on Twitter