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Apple unveils updated iPad Air with M1 chip, 5G and improved USB-C port

The latest iPad Air will be available for purchase on March 18.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

Apple released the details of its latest version of the iPad Air, announcing on Tuesday that it will be available for purchase on March 18, with prices starting at $599.

The iPad Air comes in both 64GB and 256GB configurations, and there will be Wi-Fi and cellular models available. 

iPad engineering program manager Angelina Kyazike said the new iPad Air will have the M1 chip, which is already in the iPad Pro. Kyazike said the design delivers up to 60% faster performance over the A14 in the previous generations of iPad Air.

Thanks to M1, the latest iPad is able to deliver a graphics performance twice as fast as previous versions and Kyazike claims its speeds make it "faster than the fastest competitive tablet."

"The new Air is also up to two times faster than the best selling Windows laptop in its price range. A device that is three times thicker and four times heavier than iPad Air," Kyazike said.

"So for users doing things like drawing a filter for a social media post with Procreate, or designing the ultimate kids bedroom in SketchUp, the new Air will fly right through it. And with M1, the new Air becomes a mobile gaming powerhouse." 

Also: The best iPad Air case


She noted that the new iPad Air has a liquid retina display with P3 white color, true tone, 500 nits of brightness and anti-reflective coating.

"Another big update for iPad Air is the front camera because it will now feature a 12MP, ultra-wide camera, which means it supports Center Stage. This has been hugely popular for connecting with friends, colleagues and loved ones. And this means that, now, all iPad models feature Center Stage," Kyazike added. 

Also: iPad Air (2022) vs iPad Pro (2022): How to choose

The iPad Air will also have 5G capability and improved performance of its USB-C port to enable faster connections to drives. Kyazike said it was twice as fast as previous models, making it easier to transfer large photos or videos. 

The new iPad Air also supports accessories like Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil second generation. It will also come with iPad OS 15. 

First look: Apple 'Peek Performance' event in pictures

Apple also noted that the device is built with some components that are made from recycled materials like aluminum, tin and rare earth elements. 

It comes in space grey, starlight, pink, purple and blue. 

Customers can begin ordering it on Friday.

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