One of the great things about new technology is that moment when iFixit gets their hands on a brand new gadget and performs a veritable autopsy on it. No new device is safe from their prying (literally) hands, and the 2017 iPad is the latest victim.
The iPad team took a page from the iPhone SE playbook and released what appears to be a throwback—an arguably under-specced tablet that takes aim at the education and enterprise markets. This iPad is supposedly reasonably priced and powerful enough for professionals...
The teardown showed that not much has changed in the iPad department. If anything, it's a step back in time to 2013, when the iPad Air first made its debut.
So remember how we said this was similar to the first Air? We were serious—take a look at the Air 1 and iPad 5 respectively. Not much has changed.
Well, sort of. Much of the outside (and even a lot of the inside) of the 2017 iPad is nearly identical to the 2013 iPad Air. But, the changes that were made are significant and make it worthy of it's "new" nomenclature.
The original iPad Air sported a 64-bit A7 processor and M7 motion coprocessor, a 5 MP iSight camera with 720p HD video recording, and no Touch ID or Apple Pay support. The 2017 iPad is outfitted with a 64-bit A9 process or and M9 motion coprocessor, an 8 MP iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording and Touch ID with Apple Pay support.
The first-generation iPad Air also launched at a price point of $499 for the 16GB model. The comparable storage models (32 and 128GB) started at $699 and $799 respectively.
Today, you can get the 2017 9.7-inch iPad with a better processor, nicer camera, and Touch ID support for a starting price of $329. That's less than half the price of the comparable iPad Air from nearly four years ago.
I have, and still use, a first-generation iPad Air. It's my beta testing device. I love it. It runs like a thunderbird and works just as good as, if only a little slower than, my 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
So, yes. Apple appears to have repackaged the first generation iPad Air as a brand new tablet, but it's faster, more secure, and costs a heck of a lot less. It's the perfect model iPad for anyone looking to get into the Apple tablet market, or for anyone that's still chugging along with an iPad 3 that's ready for an upgrade.
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