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iPad Air 2020 and iPad 8: Apple refreshes its tablets with the Bionic A14 and Touch ID

apple ipad air colors 2020
© Apple

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As expected, Apple presented two new iPads at its September keynote: The iPad Air 2020 and the iPad 8. There are innovations that nobody probably expected.

While the new iPad Air 4, or iPad Air 2020, is closer to the iPad Pro, the iPad 8 comes in a familiar design with relatively few changes. So the iPad 8 still has the Touch ID in the home button and the wide margins.

Inside, however, it is no longer an A10 chip from 2016 but a slightly cooler A12 Bionic that works. Apple is talking about a 40% faster CPU and a graphics chip that's twice as fast as before. This should allow Apple to provide updates to its cheapest tablet for many years to come.

These minor changes also mean that the entry-level model will remain affordable. The iPad 8 with 32 GB is available from $329. If required, a 128 GB model is also available, as well as variants with an integrated mobile phone chip for an extra charge.

The iPad 8 can be pre-ordered today and will be available from Friday 18 September.

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The iPad 8 is Apple's least-refreshed tablet in 2020. / © Apple

iPad Air 4 is getting closer and closer to the iPad Pro

Apple has kept the key innovations for the iPad Air 4, with a new design and various features that were previously reserved for the iPad Pro, bringing the tablets closer to the significantly more expensive ones.

At first glance, you can see what the new iPad Air is based on. Much smaller edges, which are now also flattened, show the design language of the iPad Pro. The screen has been reduced from 10.5 inches to 10.9 inches.

Unlike the iPad Pro, Apple did not give facial recognition to the iPad Air. Instead, they've built a Touch ID sensor for fingerprinting into the top button, which you also press when you turn on the tablet. Eliminating facial recognition reduces costs - and differentiates it from the iPad Pro.

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The iPad Air 2020 unlocks with a Touch ID reader located under the power button in the upper right-hand corner / © Apple

In the case of the photo module, the LiDAR scanner known from the latest iPad Pro must also be dispensed with. As with the old iPad Air, there is also, in the 8th generation, only one camera on the back. The same 12 megapixel camera as the iPad Pro will be used here. On the front there is a 7 megapixel sensor.

The secret is out: the new A14 Bionic is here.

However, the new iPad Air is slightly ahead of its big brothers and sisters. The new tablet already uses Apple's new A14 chip. This is the first time in many years that an iPad has the latest processor before a matching iPhone with the said chip is available.

The A14 Bionic has six processor cores and would be 40% faster than the chip in the old iPad Air. The GPU is said to be twice as fast as before. In addition, significant improvements have been made to machine learning and the neural engine.

imageThe The Apple iPad Air 2020 in its various colors. / © Apple

Like the iPad Pro, the iPad Air 2020 now has a USB-C port - lightning is no longer present. This also eliminates the possibility of recharging the first generation Apple Pencil. That's why the new tablet supports the latest Apple Pencil, which magnetically adapts to the iPad Air 4 and charges at the same time.

The Smart Connector has remained, but is now located at the back of the tablet. This makes the new iPad Air compatible with Apple keyboards. This also includes the magic keyboard.

The new iPad Air will be available from October at prices starting at $599 and $729 for the cellular version. As with the other Apple tablets, there are also variants with 64 and 256 GB. New are the blue (Sky Blue) and green colorways of the iPad Air 4.

Which of these two new Apple iPads do you think is the most interesting tablet? Let us know in the comments.

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