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March 18, 2016

Apple iPad Air 3 vs iPad Air 2: What’s the rumoured difference?

by John_A

Apple has confirmed it is holding an event on 21 March where it is thought it will unveil several new devices, one of which is rumoured to be an update to the iPad Air 2.

The company chose not to succeed the iPad Air 2 during its September 2015 event when it revealed the iPad mini 4 and the iPad Pro, which led many to wonder where it was and when it would arrive. Reports suggest it will be coming in a few days though so all eyes are on what the third-generation of Air, or smaller model of the Pro will bring to the iPad table.

We have put the rumoured specs of the iPad Air 3 against the iPad Air 2 to see what the differences could be and what changes we might see.

Apple iPad Air 3 vs iPad Air 2: Design

The Apple iPad Air 2 measures 240 x 169.5 x 6.1mm and weighs 437g. It comes in three colours and it features Touch ID within the home button.

The Apple iPad Air 3 is said to be coming with a similar design to the iPad Pro including a four-speaker setup, a Smart Connector and compatibility with the Apple Pencil. This is why some rumours are suggesting the new 9.7-inch iPad will fall within the Pro family rather than the Air.

The device is reported to measure 240 x 169.6 x 6.15mm, which if true, would make it almost identical in size to the iPad Air 2.

Apple iPad Air 3 vs iPad Air 2: Display

The Apple iPad Air sits in the middle of the iPad line up when it comes to size. It has a 9.7-inch display in comparison to the 7.9-inch screen of the iPad mini and the 12.9-inch size of the iPad Pro.

The iPad Air 2 has a resolution of 2048 x 1536, which means it offers a pixel density of 264ppi. The iPad Air 3 is said to be keeping the same 9.7-inch size but upping the resolution to 3112 x 2334, which would mean a pixel density of 401ppi.

If this is the case, sharper and clearer images will be present on the new model, although you probably wouldn’t notice unless you looked very closely and had the two devices side-by-side. What you will notice is the pressure-sensitive display which is also said to be coming to the iPad Air 3, or smaller iPad Pro, allowing for the Apple Pencil compatibility. It’s all speculation for now though.

Apple iPad Air 3 vs iPad Air 2: Camera

The Apple iPad Air 2 features a 1.2-megapixel front camera, coupled with an 8-megapixel rear camera. As tablets aren’t as commonly used for taking shots as smartphones, this is more than adequate.

The iPad Air 3 is rumoured to be upping the game in terms of camera however, with reports suggesting it will arrive with a rear LED flash. It would make it the first iPad to offer this feature if it does arrive, which could mean a bump in megapixels too. Rumour has it that we will see a 12-megapixel rear camera capable of 4K video recording on the new iPad, which would be a nice jump from the iPad Air 2.

Apple iPad Air 3 vs iPad Air 2: Hardware

The Apple iPad Air 2 comes with the A8X chip and the M8 motion co-processor. This is supported by 2GB of RAM and there are internal storage options of 16GB, 64GB and 128GB with no microSD support, as is the way with all Apple devices.

The iPad Air 3 will include a faster and newer processor as updates tend to do, but whether that will be the A9X like in the iPad Pro, or an entirely new chip, which will probably be called A10 is unknown. Most reports are suggesting the A9X but either way, you should see an improvement in performance compared to the iPad Air 2.

It has been said that Apple will also increase the RAM for the iPad Air 3, with reports suggesting we will see 3GB as well as 4GB, the latter of which would be the same as the iPad Pro. Storage and battery haven’t been rumoured as yet.

Apple iPad Air 3 vs iPad Air 2: Software

The Apple iPad Air 2 runs on iOS 9, which is the latest version of Apple’s software. If the iPad Air 3 is released on 21 March, it will probably also run on iOS 9 as a new build isn’t normally announced until June at WWDC.

This means the experience on the iPad Air 2 and iPad Air 3 is likely to be very similar, unless a pressure sensitive display does arrive, in which case the new model will offer a couple of extra features, many of which can be found on the iPad Pro.

Apple iPad Air 3 vs iPad Air 2: Conclusion

For now, this feature is based on rumours and reports, with nothing official. That makes it difficult to determine how much better the iPad Air 3, or smaller iPad Pro will be over the iPad Air 2, but you can count on a few improvements for sure.

If the rumours are anything to go by, the iPad Air 3 will be the same size as the iPad Air 2 but it will bring many of the characteristics found on the iPad Pro, along with a better resolution displayed a better camera. You will also undoubtedly see an increase in performance and perhaps in price too with rumours claiming the iPad Air 3 will start at $100 more than the iPad Air 2.

It might be a guessing game for now but we will be updating this feature as soon as more leaks appear, as well as when the official specs are announced so keep checking back. If you want to read more about the rumours on the iPad Air 3, you can read our separate feature.

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