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iPad Air (2022) vs. iPad Air (2020): Must you improve?


The newest iPad Air represents the fifth technology of Apple’s light-weight and ultra-portable pill lineup. From the skin, the 2022 entry appears to be like and feels lots like its 2020 predecessor; it has the identical skinny, symmetrical bezels and a 10.9-inch show, all housed in a cool-to-the-touch aluminum physique.

However within the new iPad, Apple is giving it a breath of contemporary air by embedding an industry-disrupting M1 processor, a brand new front-facing digicam, and the buzzword of the last decade: 5G.

Apple WWDC

Whether or not you are an iPad Air (2020) person who’s contemplating an improve or a first-timer who’s break up between the 2 newest Air fashions, we have damaged down the important thing similarities and variations that will help you make the perfect shopping for resolution. Let’s start.


On the design entrance, each iPad Airs are headlined by a 10.9-inch liquid retina show, able to as much as 500 nits of brightness. The LED panels assist Apple’s True Tone, which calibrates the colour and depth of the shows for a snug viewing expertise irrespective of the lighting situations. In addition they assist the second-generation Apple Pencil in your stylus wants.

The identical array of USB-C port, audio system, TouchID scanner, and pins to hook up with a Magic Keyboard may be discovered throughout each iPad fashions. Likewise, the one 12-megapixel digicam on the again stays unchanged within the new Air. (Extra on the cameras later.)


All the colour choices for the 2022 iPad Air.

Picture: Apple

One change in look is the colour choices that Apple gives. The iPad Air (2020) is available in house grey, silver, rose gold, inexperienced, and sky blue. Whereas the iPad Air (2022) is available in house gray, starlight, pink, purple, and a darker blue.

Clearly, the design of the iPad Air (2020) was ok to not warrant any main shifts in {hardware} two years later. You will get pleasure from and recognize Apple’s industrial design irrespective of which of the 2 you purchase.

Extra: iPad Air (2022) vs iPad Professional (2021): What is the distinction?


The saying you’ll be able to’t train an outdated canine new methods does not actually apply to the iPad Air (2022). In actual fact, beneath the acquainted glass and aluminum exterior is Apple’s ARM-based, eight-core CPU, M1 chip. Trickling down from the MacBooks and iMacs, Apple’s M1 chip charges are as much as 60% quicker and extra highly effective than its Bionic counterpart — just like the A14 discovered on the 2020 iPad Air. That is a reasonably vital step-up, contemplating each iPads begin on an equal footing with 8GB of RAM.

With regular actions like shopping, streaming motion pictures and movies, and social media perusing, the distinction in efficiency between the M1 and A14 Bionic can be unnoticeable for many customers. However when dealing with graphics-intensive apps, corresponding to 4K video editors, 3D racing video games, augmented actuality, or multitasking, the processing hole is clear. With the M1 at its core, the iPad Air (2022) even provides the higher-end iPad Professional a run for its cash.

Each iPad Airs have two storage choices: 64GB and 256GB. Given the transportable nature of the Air, you will possible end up working from it on the go. That makes native storage all of the extra essential and the bottom 64GB all of the extra underwhelming. I might suggest upgrading to the 256GB variant, irrespective of which model you purchase.

Extra: iPadOS 16 brings improved multitasking, exterior show assist, and extra to the iPad


Digicam efficiency is not sometimes the important thing promoting level for tablets, not to mention iPads. However with this 12 months’s iPad Air, Apple does emphasize its new and improved front-facing digicam.


Picture: Apple

Whereas the 12MP rear digicam stays untouched, the entrance now homes a 12MP ultra-wide digicam. With a wider discipline of view than the earlier technology’s 7MP FaceTime HD lens, the brand new iPad can make the most of Middle Stage, Apple’s webcam function that tracks and follows your face as you progress round. That is notably helpful for displays and FaceTime calls with family and friends.

In addition to that, each iPads are able to recording 4K video and dependable sufficient for the standard point-and-shoot.


Apple tends to maintain battery capacities and specs below the rug however does state on its web site that each the 2020 and 2022 iPad Air can last as long as 10 hours of net shopping on WiFi, and as much as 9 hours on a mobile information community. We had comparable outcomes when testing the 2.

In actual fact, when ZDNet contributor Jason Cipriani reviewed the iPads, he had no bother getting a full workday of use, even with the Magic Keyboard linked. There’s one thing to be mentioned in regards to the M1 chip on the brand new iPad, although. With its improved energy effectivity and easy dealing with of professional-grade apps, marginally higher battery life is to be anticipated.

Ultimately, while you do have to high up, each iPad Airs include a 20-watt charger (brick and cable) within the field, and that is as quick as they may cost.


In addition to the extra environment friendly M1 processor, there are a pair extra enhancements on the brand new iPad Air which will or could not have an effect on your utilization.

The primary improve is 5G mobile connectivity. Although not mmWave 5G, the sub-6 GHz bands on the iPad Air (2022) can help you hook up with the fifth technology community and entry quicker obtain speeds than the 4G LTE of the iPad Air (2020). You’ll, after all, should be below a 5G information plan, have the suitable nano-SIM card (or eSIM), and buy the dearer, mobile model of the iPad, to reap the advantages of the quicker community.

Extra: 7 finest tablets that may exchange your laptop computer

One other improve comes within the type of the brand new iPad Air’s USB-C port. It now helps exterior displays with a 6K output (versus the 2020’s 4K) and transfers images, movies, and information at 10Gbps. That is double the velocity of the 4th technology iPad Air. With the quicker output, you theoretically can join the brand new iPad to Apple’s $1,600 Studio Show.


Even with the all-around enhancements, Apple sells the fifth technology iPad Air for a similar value as its predecessor. At retail, both mannequin may be had for $599 (64GB) and $749 (256GB). That’s, once more, should you’re shopping for the iPads at retail. With the discharge of the brand new Air, most shops and web sites have since marked down the 2020 mannequin as a way to filter out stock. 

Proper now, we’re seeing main retailers checklist the iPad Air (2020) for as little as $469 ($130 off), and there’s no telling whether or not that value will go any decrease earlier than it is fully discontinued.

Whether or not you are new to the iPad expertise or are a present proprietor of the iPad Air (2020), making the swap to the most recent mannequin boils down to 3 issues: 5G, Middle Stage, and M1. If you happen to search an iPad that is future-proof and able to dealing with any process you throw at it, then the iPad Air (2022) is well worth the pickup. However should you can reside with out the connectivity quirks and simply need a no-frills, iPadOS expertise, then save your self the cash and stick to the iPad Air (2020).

Options to think about

Nonetheless up within the air about which iPad to purchase? You might also wish to think about these ZDNet-tested tablets:

The iPad Professional line delivers the perfect efficiency out of all Apple tablets. The newest mannequin, out there in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, options the identical M1 processor because the 2022 iPad Air, a extra succesful digicam system, and a 120Hz refresh fee show.

If you happen to’re upgrading from an older iPad mannequin and may’t recover from the ol’ dependable TouchID sensor, then the Apple iPad (10.2-inch) is price contemplating. The 2021 model lacks the bodily enchantment of the iPad Air however is ever so able to dealing with day-to-day duties and pill duties.

Or, possibly an Android pill will serve you higher. One of many slimmer and extra light-weight choices out there, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 sports activities an 11-inch 120Hz show, 128GB of storage (doubling that of the iPad Air’s base mannequin), and assist for the thousands and thousands of apps throughout the Google Play retailer. A mountable S Pen stylus is included within the field. 

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