Apple finally unveiled the iPad Air 4, the company’s new slate that fits into its midrange Air line. The new tablet is a big leap over its predecessor, the iPad Air 3, from its specs and functions to its design.
However, saying “Big Jump Up” is pretty vague because tablets are complex devices that are equally important to creativity, communication, business, and gaming.
So if you’re interested in upgrading your current Air 3 or looking to treat yourself to a new tablet, we’ve put these side by side so you can see how they differ.
iPad Air 4 vs iPad Air 3: Price and Availability
The iPad Air 4 starts at $ 599 / £ 579 / AU $ 899 for the 64GB model and 256GB: US $ 749 / £ 729 / AU $ 1
When the iPad Air 3 first launched, it was priced at $ 499 / £ 479 / AU $ 779 for 64GB of storage and $ 649 / £ 629 / AU $ 999 for 256GB. If you do, it was an additional $ 130 / £ 120 / AU $ 200 wanted LTE connectivity on top of standard Wi-Fi.
Over time, the price has dropped slightly at third-party retailers, and with the launch of the Air 4, we would expect the price of the iPad Air 3 to drop again as retailers try to get rid of the old inventory.
|iPad Air 4||iPad Air 3 (2019)|
|64 GB||$ 599 / £ 579 / AU $ 899||$ 499 / £ 479 / AU $ 779|
|64 GB + cellular||$ 729 / £ 709 / AU $ 1,099||$ 629 / £ 599 / AU $ 979|
|256 GB||$ 749 / £ 729 / AU $ 1,129||$ 649 / £ 629 / AU $ 999|
|256 GB + cellular||$ 879 / £ 859 / AU $ 1,329||$ 779 / £ 749 / AU $ 1,199|
iPad Air 4 vs iPad Air 3: Design and Display
The iPad Air 3 has a step back that’s reminiscent of entry-level iPads, with rounded edges, thick bezels, a physical home button, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It has a Lightning connector for charging.
It’s very different from the iPad Air 4, which is more like an iPad Pro. It has a flat, non-rounded edge with a USB-C port instead of Lightning, no side bezels, and a bezel-less display. The Touch ID scanner is located in a button on the side of the tablet, not a button on the front.
The screen of the iPad Air 3 has a diameter of 10.5 inches and a resolution of 1668 x 2224 with LCD technology. There are some of Apple’s display software that run like True Tone Display and subtly adjust the color composition to match the environment you are in.
That’s a tiny bit smaller than the iPad Air 4 with its 10.9-inch display, but the resolution is about the same at 2360 x 1640, and it’s LCD too.
This is where you’ll find many of the features of Apple’s display software, like the True Tone display, which allows you to adjust the screen color and brightness depending on your surroundings, and the anti-reflective coating so you can see better in the sun.
iPad Air 4 versus iPad Air 3: camera and battery
The iPad Air 3 had an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 7-megapixel front camera. This is good enough for video calls or taking reference pictures for projects, but it doesn’t make fantastic photos for display in art galleries. This is roughly the case with the Air 4 with its 12-megapixel snapper at the rear and 7-megapixel snapper at the front, although the rear camera may be a little better suited for snapshots.
In terms of battery capacity, the iPad Air 3 has an 8,134 mAh power adapter that, according to Apple, has an operating time of 10 hours. We found this number to be roughly accurate if you use this thing quite a bit, but with less use it can take up to 24 hours or even a week if you rarely use it.
Apple didn’t talk about battery life when the iPad Air 4 launched, so we’ll have to test this out for ourselves if it comes out.
iPad Air 4 vs iPad Air 3: Specifications and Features
The iPad Air 3 runs on Apple’s A12 Bionic chipset, which was up to date at the time of release, but it’s a bit dated now – the iPad Air 4 runs on the newer A14 Bionic, which we’re expecting in the iPhone 12 as well to see.
Apple didn’t mention the RAM on the iPad Air 4, but we’d expect it to be a little more than the 3GB for the iPad Air 3. Apple doesn’t use high amounts of RAM on its devices, however, so we wouldn’t expect it to be as high as 8GB.
You can use the Apple Pencil with the iPad Air 3, but only with the first generation pen. So, if you want to use the second generation version (which attaches magnetically to the side of the slate for charging, not through the Lightning port), you can do this and I’ll have to use the iPad Air 4.
The iPad Air 4 appears to be an improvement over the iPad Air 3 in almost every way – some of its changes are large and some are relatively minor.
The design is the biggest change, with a more professional square edge, useful USB-C port, and bezel-less display to ensure the device has a small body but a large screen.
The Apple Pencil Gen-2 connectivity, improved rear camera, and chipset come in handy for a range of users too, depending on what your tablet is for.
However, the price of the iPad Air 4 is a significant step up from its predecessor, especially given the fact that the iPad Air 3 will likely see a fair price drop as it gets older, so people who don’t need all of the creativity and business features might Find this older slate just as good as the newer one.