Everything you need to know about Apple iPad Air 3’s Design, Display, Hardware, Software, Camera and Performance
iPad Air 3 release date rumours, new features, specs, UK price | When will the new iPad Air (or iPad 7) come out? | iPad Air 3 could be pushed back to 2016
iPad Air 3 Release Date: It’s Late 2015 or Early 2016
iPad Air 3 Release Date: It’s Late 2015 or Early 2016 – While Apple has just announced a slew of new products during its event last month, some fans are still asking questions about when the media- and entertainment-centric iPad Air 3 will be out.
With the official availability of the iPad Pro is still in November, Apple will unlikely to release the iPad Air 3 anytime soon. The tech giant is cautious that the tablet will cannibalize the larger tablet. Thus, the tablet will most likely be introduced at the end of 2015 or early next year.
The iPad Air 3 will include significant improvements in comparison with the previous iPad Air. The iPad Air 3 will include a 9.7 inch screen display with 4K pixel resolution, 2GB to 4GB RAM, improved cameras, longer battery life and fingerprint sensor.
With the threat posed by Microsoft Surface Pro 4, it is expected that the Cupertino-based firm will respond with a better device to keep its dominance in the market. Thus, the new iPad Air 3 is speculated to focus on media and entertainment functions making it superior than iPad Pro.
Pad Air 3 release date rumours: Design
Last time around Apple tweaked the design of the iPad Air 1 rather than totally reimagining it. That already-slender device was trimmed down: at 6.1mm thick, the iPad Air 2 is the slenderest tablet Apple has yet produced, and significantly thinner than the 7.5mm-thick iPad Air 1.
Indeed, the successive reductions in depth from generation to generation mean the iPad Air 2 reached a milestone: it is half the thickness of the original iPad.
It’s possible that Apple will repeat the trick on the iPad Air 3, but that seems a little unnecessary – how much lighter and thinner does a tablet need to be? We’ve also started having slight worries about flex on the iPad Air 2: it’s not fragile, but there’s just enough give, and it feels just delicate enough, that we’d be nervous about its toughness if any more of the body was trimmed off.
Of course, another possibility is that Apple will make the next iPad bigger. We think that will happen in the bigger-screen iPad Pro, but feel sure that Apple will continue to make 9.7-inch iPads.
iPad Air 3 design rumours: iPad Air 3 colour options
We’d expect the iPad Air 3 to be available in Apple’s now-standard three iOS device colour options: silver, space grey and gold.
Every year someone suggests that the next iPad will come in the bright primary colours of the iPhone 5c and every year that person is disappointed. We don’t expect the iPad Air 3 to be particularly colourful (except for that lovely gold finish).
iPad Air 3 rumours: Specs
It’s time to look deeper into the iPad Air 3. What do the latest rumours say about the iPad Air 3’s specs?
iPad Air 3 specs rumours: Processor and speed
The iPad Air 2 got a new processor chip, the A8X – a souped-up version of the iPhone 6’s A8. This has three billion transistors and offers (Apple says) 40 percent faster performance than the iPad Air 1’s A7 chip in most apps and up to 2.5x graphics performance.
Offering a historical perspective (if four years counts as history), Apple pointed out that the iPad Air 2 is capable of up to 12 times faster processing than the iPad 1 (the first-gen iPad, that is, not the iPad Air 1!), and a staggering 180 times faster graphics.
It would be a big shock if Apple didn’t upgrade the processor again when it launches the iPad Air 3, and it doesn’t take a genius to predict that the iPad Air 3’s chip will be an A9 or an A9X, and very speedy indeed. Given the near-overkill of the iPad Air 2’s power, mind you, it might make sense for Apple to focus more on power efficiency than on sheer processing welly, and try to improve battery life.
This idea is backed up by the focus on streamlining and power-efficiency that we see in iOS 9, which is said to increase an iPhone 6’s battery life by an hour on average. iPad battery life tends to be less of a hot issue than iPhone battery life, granted, but it’s clear that Apple is taking power-efficiency seriously at last.
One other thought based on the iOS 9 announcements: new multitasking capabilities are likely to be extremely demanding on processor power (the iPad Air 2 is the only device capable of the most advanced multitasking feature in iOS 9, Split View) so a powerful chip wouldn’t be wasted in the iPad Air 3.
iPad Air 3 specs rumours: Screen
We thought that the iPad Air might get a screen upgrade, possibly gaining the Retina HD designation given to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. But the iPad Air 2’s display is largely the same, with the same resolution and size.
(One screen modification Apple did talk about was an anti-reflective coating: a nice – if unglamorous – upgrade.)
The iPad Air 3’s screen, then, may well get a resolution boost – perhaps approaching the 401ppi (pixels per inch) pixel density of the iPhone 6 Plus. We dread to think what this would do to the battery life, though. The iPhone 6 Plus got round that because its larger size allowed it to include a bigger battery.
iPad Air 3 specs rumours: Camera
Apple upped the megapixel count on the iPad Air’s rear-facing (iSight) camera, from 5Mp to 8Mp. The iPad Air 2 also gained new camera features: burst mode, panoramas (up to 43Mp), slo-mo, timer mode and time-lapse.
The front-facing (FaceTime HD) camera retained the same (1.2Mp) rating, but Apple said it had improved the sensor and made the pixels bigger for better low-light performance.
iPad Air 3 release date rumours: iPad Air 3 UK price
How much will the iPad Air 3 cost in the UK?
Most likely it will cost pretty much what the iPad Air 2 cost when it launched. The iPad Air 2’s UK price starts at £399 for the 16GB model in Wi-Fi only, moving up to £479 for 64GB Wi-Fi (as with the recent iPhones, Apple removed the popular 32GB storage option) and £559 for 128GB Wi-Fi. The 3G/cellular models cost £100 more at each configuration: £499 for the 16GB model, moving up to £579 for 64GB and £659 for 128GB.
With the iPad Air 3 filling in these price points, the iPad Air 2 will drop in price, most likely by around £80. The iPad Air 1 could get yet another price cut and remain on sale – much as Apple currently sells three versions of the iPad mini – but it’s more likely to be discontinued. Apple usually tries to keep its range simple, and the main reason we can see for it keeping the iPad mini 1 around is that the iPad mini 2 and 3 are so similar.
iPad Air 3 features wish list
It’s still too early to offer any concrete details of the iPad Air 3’s new features. But what new features would we add, if we were in Jony Ive’s shoes?
Here’s our iPad Air 3 feature wish list. Some are brand-new wishes: perhaps ideas triggered by issues with Apple’s latest line of iPads. Others are features we’ve been asking for since before the iPad Air 2 but weren’t included in that device.
Let us know what features you want to see in the iPad Air 3 in the comments, or let us know on Twitter.
iPad Air 3 feature wish list: Larger screen
You can never be too rich, or too thin, or have too much screen space.
In fact, there would be plenty of negatives attached to increasing the iPad Air 2’s screen size from its current 9.7in diagonal: mainly increasing the bulk of the device (and having to incorporate a bigger and heavier battery to power the screen for as long), thereby reducing its fantastic portability. But a bigger screen would make the iPad Air more adaptable as a work device, and more immersive for entertainment, so who cares about practicalities?
As many tech fans have pointed out, Apple said it wouldn’t make a smaller-screen iPad, then it made the iPad mini – so anything is possible. In fact, we think this could happen, but in a separate product: possibly an iPad Pro. We think the main iPad will continue to be based around a 9.7in screen.