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Apple quietly announces new 9.7 inch iPad

by on22 March 2017

Starts at $329 and is heavier and thicker

Apple has quietly announced the successor to the iPad Air 2 and simply calls it the iPad. It comes with a new A9 SoC and will be up for sale from March 24 and redefines its meaning of the word cheap. 

This time, there were no splashy announcements and special invitations for all its loyal press, it was a rather unorthodox release of a new iPad. We think Apple didn’t believe it was so much special to deserve its own event and one of the main reasons might be the fact that the new iPad is thicker and heavier. There is a first time for everything.  

Also in an indication of the end of the world, or at the very least the death of game-changing tablets, the fruity tax-dodging cargo-cult Apple has released its first “cheap tablet”.

When we say “cheap” we mean $329 which is hardly cheap for a keyboardless netbook but it is for Apple which has difficulty thinking in numbers below $500.

The “cheap” iPad is part of a refresh of products that Apple already has been making but are probably not shifting that well. The cheap version is for  32GB with no Wi-Fi which makes it about as useful as a chocolate teapot or an iWatch. The next version costs $459 for WiFi+mobile. It comes in silver, gold and space grey. The 128 Wi-Fi version will sell for $429 while the WiFi+Cellular will be offered at $559.

A couple of key features here. It still uses the same resolution that Apple calls the retina screen (2,048 x 1,536) but this time it starts from 32GB. There are only two storage options and you get to choose between 32GB or the 128GB and some will miss the 256GB.

The cameras have the same resolution as the previous iPad Air 2 and they retain a 1.2 megapixel “Facetime” camera at the front and 8-megapixel for the rear camera.

The new 9.7 inch iPad measures 9.4-inch (240mm) H x 6.6-inch (169.5 mm) W x 0.29-inch (7.5 mm) D and weighs 0.963 pounds of (469 grams). LTE version weighs 1.05 pounds (478 g).

Now we get it, this time, the new Apple iPad Air 2 that took two and a half years to cook measures 9.4-inch (240mm) H x 6.67-inch (169.5 mm) W x 0.24-inch (6.1 mm) D and weighs 1.03 pounds of (437 grams). The LTE version has the same dimensions but weights 444 g (0.979 pounds lbs.). as you can see they are both significantly heavier than the Air 2 version and this might be the reason why Apple didn’t have its executives on the stage who would have to admit creating a fatter iPad.

One of the biggest changes is of course the Apple A9 chip that you know from the iPhone 7. The iPad Pro will continue being the only iPad featuring the faster A9X version of the SoC. Apple claims 10 hours battery life for the new iPad.

Apple is using 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi capable of 866 Mbps speed but the 4G / LTE is stuck with 150 Mbps or Cat 4 speeds. Thank you, Apple, for enabling us 5-year-old LTE speeds, in the year where Samsung and Qualcomm are planning to launch GigabitLTE phones. Yes, that is close to 1000 Mbps (979 Mbps) maximal download speed.

Apple said its smaller iPhone SE model will be available in 32 and 128 gigabyte (GB) versions, replacing the 16 GB and 64 GB models.

Apple also announced a new app for creating videos and sharing them with friends on its iOS devices. The new feature, along with extra iMessage features released in recent years, pushes Apple closer to competing with the features in social networking apps like Snap Inc.

The new app, called Clips, lets users add captions and speech bubbles to videos and share them on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Apple's own messaging app, where videos can be sent to contacts with a single tap. But unlike Snap or other messaging apps, users can add captions to videos using their voice. It is a waste of time of course – apple fanboys don’t really have many friends.

At the same time, Apple is discontinuing the thinner and lighter iPad 2 Air and the iPad 2 mini. It comes as a surprise that there is no replacement for mini 4, as the half year old 7.9-inch tablet didn’t get the update.

Apple will remain selling its overpriced iPad Pro in both 9.7 and 12.9-inch screen sizes. 

Last modified on 22 March 2017
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