Apple updated the iPad Air at its “Peak Performance” event on March 8, 2022. While the star of the show was the Mac Studio, the iPad Air still surprised a lot of people because of the hardware the new model packs.
This new iPad Air will replace the outgoing iPad Air 4 that came out in late 2020, but is it worth the upgrade? And if you don’t have an iPad yet, should you buy the older model at a discounted price?
Here, we’ll compare the two models so you can make an informed decision. So let’s start.
Let’s start with the deciding factor for most people: price. Apple launches 2020 iPad Air for a starting price of $599. Luckily, if you’re willing to pay that price, you’ll be pleased to know that Apple hasn’t changed the price for the iPad Air 5. Yes, it still costs $599 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model.
Now, you might be wondering: Has Apple cut the prices of the iPad Air 2020?
Unfortunately, Apple no longer sells older models on its site. You also won’t find it in Apple Stores across the country. However, you can still manage to get one from third-party retailers at a discounted price, as long as stock lasts. But remember that pricing may vary between these retailers.
Overall, you can expect to save around $100 by choosing the older model, but what features will you miss out on? let’s take a look.
The biggest difference between these two models is performance, and if you consider yourself a power user, the new iPad Air 5 could be worth the $599 price tag.
The 2020 iPad Air packs the same A14 Bionic processor as the iPhone 12 that came out the same year. Sure, it’s still a capable processor for almost any task you throw at it. But the iPad Air 5 has the same Apple M1 chip that powers the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and even the more expensive iPad Pro models.
So, if you want iPad Pro-like performance on a budget, the 2022 iPad Air is a no-brainer, offering 60 percent faster CPU performance than the outgoing model. As for graphics performance, the 8-core GPU in the M1 chip is twice as fast as the A14 Bionic in the iPad Air 2020.
Will you see this 60 percent improvement in CPU performance? Maybe not under regular use, but you should see some improvement in speed in CPU-intensive apps. Although the game will benefit greatly, the iPad Air will double the frame rate as of 2020.
The M1 chip isn’t the only reason for the iPad Air 5’s performance advantage, however, as Apple has also doubled the memory compared to the previous generation. Even though the company didn’t mention it at the event, the iPad Air 5 has 8GB of RAM compared to just 4GB in the 2020 model.
We believe the company had to do this because of the addition of the M1 chip, but regardless, the new model should make it a multitasking powerhouse just like the expensive iPad Pro models.
The camera department is a mixed bag as both the models sport the same 12MP primary camera which is capable of 4K/60fps video recording. It’s nothing special and not really comparable to the dual-camera setup on the flagship iPad Pro model.
However, the front selfie camera on the 2022 iPad Air receives a significant upgrade for FaceTime video calls. While the 2020 model had a standard 7MP front-facing camera, the new iPad Air 5 packs a 12MP ultra-wide camera with f/2.4 aperture.
It’s the same camera from the top-of-the-line iPad Pro models, and as a result, you also get center stage convenience.
We’ve covered center stage in detail here, but to keep things short here, it’s just a software trick Apple uses to automatically keep you in the frame during a video call. When enabled, the iPad shoots a cropped scene with its ultra-wide sensor.
So, if you plan to make a lot of video calls with your new iPad, it is without a doubt worth spending the extra money on the new model.
Apart from the performance and camera setup, you will notice a huge difference in connectivity, especially if you are planning to buy the cellular version. In 2020, when the iPad Air 4 came out, none of the Apple devices had 5G connectivity. Fast forward to early 2022, and almost all Apple mobile devices have 5G, including the cheaper iPad mini.
Thankfully, the iPad Air 5 has 5G support for boosting download speeds up to 3.5Gb/s under ideal conditions. Although most users will be lucky to get a fraction of those speeds as well. When it comes to price, the 2022 iPad Air costs $749 for the 64GB cellular variant, which is a $20 premium for the 5G chip over the iPad Air 4’s cellular price at launch.