Ok – hate might be a strong word, but not everyone has showered Apple’s new
iPad Air with praise. In this second part of our iPad Air review of reviews, we’ve gathered the negative comments that the iPad Air has picked up since it was launched on Tuesday night. Some of the complaints and criticisms are extremely astute… others aren’t.
What people love about the iPad Air: review of reviews |
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iPad Air complaints: The price
Apple announced that the iPad Air will be sold at the same price as its predecessor, the
iPad 4. Pretty impressive, but how does it compare with budget-minded rival tablets?
Cnet observed that while the top-end iPad’s price may have stayed the same, the market has shifted under its feet. “The market continues to shift,” the site wrote, “offering more and increasingly sophisticated alternatives at far cheaper prices, tablets like the Kindle Fire HDX and Google Nexus 10.” It did go on to state that the iPad Air shows enough improvements over the iPad 4 to justify its pricing, however.
iPad Air complaints: The name
The Verge, David Pierce was ambivalent about the new name.
“Where we’re perhaps most confused about the Air is its naming,” he writes. “There was a palpable tension in the room in San Francisco when the name change was revealed, as if an iPad Pro were imminent…”
It’s possible, of course, that Apple will launch an iPad Pro somewhere down the line, to match the Air/Pro division of its MacBook laptops, but we’re probably getting ahead of ourselves here.
iPad Air complaints: Lack of surprises
A theme of some reviews was a general sense of having seen it all before – that none of the releases, including the iPad Air, were truly groundbreaking.
Mirror man Dan Silver quipped that “anyone expecting a reinvention of the iWheel was left disappointed but surely not surprised”, although he conceded that “design guru Sir Jonathan Ive and his team have once again pulled off their party trick and made the utterly familiar utterly desirable”.
The Telegraph echoed the reservation that “this iPad doesn’t do anything serious that the previous version didn’t. Camera, processor and other under the hood improvements don’t make it a fundamentally different device, so it’s probably compulsory to call it an evolution rather than a revolution.”
iPad Air complaints: The display
The iPad Air’s display is a Retina model, like that of its predecessor. In theory, that makes it as sharp as the human eye would ever need, but not everyone is happy – after all, higher resolutions are available elsewhere!
“Though the iPad’s display [was] a big deal a year and a half ago, it’s not top dog any more – not now that other devices like the Nexus 10 and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition offer 2,560 x 1,600 panels with higher pixel density,” said
Engadget. “Heck, as soon as the Retina iPad mini launches, the Air won’t even be the sharpest tablet in Apple’s lineup.”
We’re not at all sure that the difference will be detectable, but we promise to compare the iPad Air and
iPad mini 2 screens side by side to see.
iPad Air complaints: Lack of Touch ID
Some reviewers were disappointed by what The Verge called “a couple of surprising omissions”, most obviously the Touch ID fingerprint sensor we saw on the
Daily Star man Dave’, in a review that’s very favourable overall, did note grumpily that “fingerprint recognition is nowhere to be seen”, adding in summary that “it’s disappointing we didn’t get Bond-style fingerprint technology.”
Look out for Touch ID in the next James Bond outing, in which 007 has to log into his MI6 iPad as quickly as possible.
iPad Air: no Bond-style fingerprint technology
Tech Radar were also surprised by the omission, but didn’t think it a dealbreaker: “There’s no Touch ID – which is a surprise given that it’s quickly become a nice feature of the iPhone 5S and the A7 chip can handle it – but it’s not by any means critical, and we’ll merrily take the reduction in size and weight,” wrote Patrick Goss.
iPad Air complaints: Lack of colour options
Apple will be selling the iPad Air in two colour schemes: silver and white, and black and space grey – nice enough, but lacking the vibrancy of the new iPhone colours, which included bright blue, green and yellow for the iPhone 5c, and a snazzy gold for the iPhone 5s.
“Sadly, there’s no golden iPad Air,” mourned Daily Star Man Dave. “It’s disappointing we didn’t get a golden iPad.”
iPad Air in silver and white…
…and in black and space grey. No green, yellow or gold on offer
iPad Air complaints: Lack of noticeable speed upgrade
The iPad Air is faster than its predecessor the
iPad 4 on paper, but will users notice this in day-to-day use?
Trusted Reviews didn’t reckon so.
“The iPad Air is cleverer, faster and slimmer than the iPad 4, but will it feel completely different to use? Not a chance.”
Harry McCracken wrote: “The real point of Apple’s speed improvements for iOS devices is about allowing developers to write ever-more ambitious apps in the future, not correcting an existing deficiency.”
iPad Air complaints: Camera
Expert Reviews weren’t overly impressed by the barely upgraded camera.
“Despite the A7 chip also having an image processor built in, you don’t get the same camera modes [as on the iPhone 5s]. So there’s no Slo-Mo mode on the iPad,” the site noted. “This is likely to be down to the lower-quality 5-megapixel iSight camera on the iPad Air.”
Pocket Lint described picture quality as “ok, but not amazing – we still wouldn’t recommend using this as a main camera, but one for ‘in case of emergencies’.”
iPad Air complaints: Specs
ExtremeTech, Sebastian Anthony argues that the iPad Air loses out to the Kindle Fire HDX in a head-to-head comparison of specs.
“The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX has a quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC, a 2560×1600 (339 PPI) display, and battery life of between 12 (mixed use) and 18 hours (reading),” he begins. “Perhaps most importantly, though, the HDX is just 7.8mm thick and weighs 374 grams. The iPad Air is slightly thinner (7.5mm), but in almost every other way – weight, resolution, battery life – it is inferior to the HDX.”
Why do people continue to buy iPads, then, Mr Anthony? Why, it’s that old favourite the Reality Distortion Field. That, and the larger screen, faster processor and vastly superior software experience of the iPad Air.
iPad Air complaints: Wireless limitations
We thought Apple might upgrade the iPad’s wireless to the fast new 802.11ac standard, but no go, causing slight disappointment among our reviewers, although most were still broadly pleased by the changes Apple did make to the Air’s wireless capabilities.
“Wireless has been upgraded, too, with the iPad Air now having a MIMO 802.11n (dual-band) chip,” wrote David Ludlow on Expert Reviews. “This should help improve wireless speed and range, although 802.11ac would have been nice to see.”
iPad Air complaints: It’s too thin
Tech Radar managed to find the cloud surrounding the silver lining of the iPad Air’s slim chassis, kvetching about the problems this would create for those with accessories tailor-made for the iPad 4’s thicker body.
“If you’ve already plonked down big notes on a Smart Cover you’ll need to do so all over again,” wrote
Gary Marshall, “or suffer the ignominy of having a cover that doesn’t quite fit your iPad.”
iPad Air complaints: Lack of a “smarter keyboard accessory”
Cnet writer Scott Stein had been hoping for what he called “Apple’s answer to a tablet-laptop hybrid”, and felt that a properly optimised, smart keyboard accessory was key to this.
“Apple used to have its own keyboard accessory when the iPad first debuted… So, obviously, Apple’s not opposed to keyboards and iPads. I don’t even necessarily need a trackpad on my keyboard. But I do want a smarter keyboard accessory that elevates the iPad to a new level. That’s what I hoped Apple would do for the iPad Air. It didn’t happen.”
“You’d think by now Apple would have made an update to the Apple iPad Keyboard,” Mark wrote. “Maybe some kind of Smart Cover Keyboard (similar to the Microsoft Surface), or maybe a smaller, thinner separate keyboard. There are some great third-party options out there, but it’d be fantastic to see what Apple could come up with.”
All of our iPad Air coverage:
iPad Air review (all Macworld’s
What people love about the iPad Air |
What people hate about the iPad Air