Apple’s new iPad Air: The best features for business users


The new A14 chip in the latest iPad Air has 11.8 billion transistors and a machine learning accelerator.

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Apple announced a new chip and a machine learning accelerator in the latest version of its iPad Air.

Image: TechRepublic

Apple announced its most powerful iPads ever on Tuesday at the annual Apple Event at the company’s headquarters with faster chips for the 8th generation of iPad and the iPad Air. Apple has updated the processor in its latest model with the addition of the A14 chip. The chip is so small that the dimensions are measured in atoms, according to Tim Millet, vice president of platform architecture at Apple. 

There are 11.8 billion transistors on the A14, which is a 40% increase in performance over previous chips with better power efficiency and better performance overall. Millet said this new chip will give the iPad Air a 30% increase in graphics performance as well. Business users editing 4K videos will find this power boost helpful. The new chip also can complete 11 trillion operations per second and has an advanced image signal processor. 

SEE: Apple unveils a number of health and fitness features, apps, and more (TechRepublic)

The new iPad now has machine learning (ML) accelerators as well, a first for this product and the most advanced chip Apple has ever made, Millet said. The neural engine has a 16-core architecture, and the new Apple iPad has Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and 60% faster LTE.

Apple moved the Touch ID sensor to the top button. Users can use a fingerprint to unlock the iPad, launch apps, and use Apple Pay. This is the smallest authentication sensor the company has ever designed, according to Laura Legros, vice president of hardware engineering. 

Ted Merendino, product manager for the iPad, announced improvements to the Apple Pencil as part of iPad OS 14. With Scribble, users can enter information into any text field with the Pencil in any app. Handwritten notes can be added into another app as typed text. The pencil clicks onto the side of the iPad via a magnetic connector. 

SEE: Everything Apple announced today that business pros need to know (TechRepublic)

The new version comes with 64GB or 256GB of memory. The display is 10.9″ and has an LED-backlit multi-touch display. The iPad Air comes in five colors–Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green, and Sky Blue–and will be available in October for $599.

8th generation iPad

Apple also introduced the 8th generation iPad today. This update includes an A12 bionic chip with a four-core GPU and a six-core CPU. It has a 40% faster CPU and a 2x increase in graphics performance. This iPad also has the neural engine for machine learning for the first time. It can complete 5 trillion operations per second. This generation of iPad works will a full-size smart keyboard and the Apple Pencil. It will be available on Friday, Sept. 18, starting at $329 for individual customers, and $299 for education customers. 

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