Ars Technica reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPad Air: Very impressive

“You don’t need to hold an iPad Air to see that it’s very different from full-size iPads of years past. With its thinner profile and slimmer bezels, it resembles nothing so much as a big iPad mini,” Andrew Cunningham reports for Ars Technica. “If you want to summarize the new tablet for a layperson, that’s the one-sentence explainer.”

“Compared to quad-core, Snapdragon-powered Android tablets, the dual-core A7 continues to hold its own. Apple has created a very impressive architecture with Cyclone, and it stacks up well compared to Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 800,” Cunningham reports. “That being said, bear in mind one thing we noticed when we looked at the A7 in the iPhone 5S—apps need to be recompiled for 64-bit before they can realize the full extent of Cyclone’s performance improvements. 32-bit apps running on the A7 are about 50 percent faster than they are on the A6, still a reasonably impressive improvement but not as drastic as the 100 percent improvement for 64-bit apps.”

“Should you upgrade? For iPad 2 owners, it’s an easy answer: the iPad Air is a substantial step up in every aspect but battery life (which stays roughly even among the various iPad models),” Cunningham reports. “The question is a little more difficult for Retina iPad owners. I would hedge closer to ‘yes’ for third-generation iPad users, since you’re getting four times the CPU power and a little over three times the GPU power, plus a couple of iOS 7 features the third-gen iPad doesn’t support (AirDrop is one, the visual effects and transparency are others). Fourth-generation iPad owners can probably hold out for another year, unless weight is absolutely the thing you hate the most about your iPad and you can get a good price for your tablet on the second-hand market. Waiting another year likely won’t change the form factor much, but you’ll get a faster tablet that might also incorporate some extra hardware features like Touch ID or 802.11ac.”

Tons more in the full review here.

Related articles:
Bloomberg News reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPad Air: Hands-down the best tablet on the market – October 30, 2013
CNET reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPad Air: The best full-size tablet, Editors’ Choice – October 30, 2013
AnandTech reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPad Air: In a completely different league – October 30, 2013
USA Today’s Baig reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPad Air: Best of breed, superior to each and every rival – October 30, 2013
Mossberg reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPad Air: ‘The best tablet I’ve ever reviewed’ – October 29, 2013
Fox News reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPad Air: Best in class – October 29, 2013
The Independent reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPad Air: Super-light and most powerful – October 29, 2013


  1. I personally think that the iPad Air is an excellent product hardware wise. And the 4:3 screen aspect ratio is perfect for reading e-books or watching movies in portrait or landscape mode. I think they made the right choices hardware wise. Absolutely without a shadow of a doubt.

    When it comes to software though I think they stepped in the wrong direction. Flatter does not equal better. It only makes text, fonts, graphics, symbols and navigational aids that much harder to read with no compensatory advantages. None whatsoever. I can’t see why they couldn’t have kept the look and feel of the old iOS 6 and tweaked it marginally to remove the more egregious aspects of skeuomorphism. I think that would have satisfied many users.

    Instead this revamp, this rejiggering, is causing no end of anguish. If you make the default system text bold, then everything is bold. You cannot distinguish bold text from normal text in e-mail messages, because everything is in bold text. And why should anyone have to make text bold so it becomes readable. Shouldn’t the default text be readable already?

    When I look at the flat icons on an iPad home screen it looks depressingly like a revolting Android tablet.

    1. I completely disagree with you. And the UI isn’t flat, it’s very 3D with the movement and animations. The text options give you far more flexibility to set text to your particular readability preference (if you don’t like the bold, just increase text size).

      iOS 7 is also far more than a change in look. Much more work went under the hood to improve iOS and add features, in particular making it 64-bit. Keeping the same look and feel would be akin to GM or Ford or Honda never changing the look of their cars, just tweaking the bumpers every year or so. Sure, it would still look nice, but very soon it would be very, very outdated an then people would whine and cry about that.

      iOS 7 is here to stay. Deal with it.

    2. Whether one disagrees with Fire the SWD, the comments aren’t new, just a part of a few, nor are they anything but familiar.

      Flatter isn’t inherently better, as it really doesn’t offer “compensatory advantages” and the comments about bold are quite reasonable. For those that “turned on” bold…like many people in the mid to later stages of life, there’s no text variation…it’s all bold.

    3. I propose this person can’t see any further than his dik… iOS 7 has depth well beyond any and all operating systems to date.

      It is actually a rethinking of layers of information and utility not unlike the original iPhone that made “multi-touch” a household name.

  2. Having to wait for the 128GB models to appear again. Probably hold out for the Black Friday Sale, as they have those here at the UK Apple Stores too (despite us not officially having Thanksgiving).

    1. With Christmas coming on and more countries having roll outs I say buy while you can. Do you really think their 2nd most popular product will see discounts in light of these more than glowing reviews?

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