The iPad Air was announced October 22, 2013 for delivery in November. The iPad Air 2 was announced a year later October 16, 2014. Replaced by the New iPad March 2017.
The iPad Air is the 5th generation of the iPad. It differs from its predecessors in dramatically reducing the weight to 1lb (1.05 for the cellular version.) Metric weight is 469g and 478g. It uses the A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor which is the latest CPU from Apple for iOS. While the screen is the same size as existing iPads the overall dimensions have been reduced to 9.4 inches (240 mm) x 6.6 inches (169.5 mm) * 0.29 inch (7.5 mm). This reduction is .1 in height, .71 inches in width, and .05 inches or more in thickness depending on the older model. The base price is the same but now includes all of the Apple apps.
The iPad Air 2 makes several important changes to the iPad Air. It is 18% thinner than the Air 1, to be exact, at 6.1mm. The weight was also dropped to less than a pound. The display is sharper and clearer. Apple bonded what had been three layers into one, eliminating air pockets. It also laid down a new anti-reflective coating on the surface of the display reducing reflections by 56%. The new iPad Air 2 features Touch ID finger print recognition for sign-on and purchasing. Apple specs the Wi-Fi connection at more than twice as fast as before—-with speeds reaching up to 866 Mbps. Apple upgraded the iPad's iSight rear camera with the 8-megapixel sensor that can capture 3,264-by-2,448 images and shoot 1080p video. A new A8X processor adds speed. With iOS version 9 the Air 2 has additional features like split screen.
In March 2016 Apple released a new 9.7" device called the iPad Pro, a smaller version in the Pro line of iPads. It looks and feels identical. The features of the Pro, not in the Air 2 include:
- wide color display - brighter and true tone.
- faster CPU and graphics
- 12 megapixel rear camera with flash and 5 megapixel facetime camera.
- 4 speaker audio
- support for Pencil
- support for smart connector keyboard - supplies power and non wireless connection.
- more ROM memory available up to 256GB.
The regular iPad line replaced the Air 2 with a New iPad 2017 model. The size and weight reverted to the older Air 1, but the processor is newer and faster.
Improvements over the iPad 4 include the weight and dimensions include a new processor chip, better Wi-Fi, better cellular service in addition to the suite of new Apple apps: iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
 Apple processor
The A7 chip with the M7 coprocessor takes iPad Air to new heights of power and speed. Thanks to the A7 chip, apps run faster. Games are more responsive. And everything you do with iPad Air feels quicker, because it is quicker. Up to twice as quick, in fact. But that’s just the beginning. It also supports OpenGL ES version 3.0, enabling detailed graphics and visual effects once possible only on desktop computers and game consoles. And the A7 chip features 64-bit architecture, opening the door for even more robust and powerful apps. Which means even more possibilities for what you can do with iPad Air. The M7 coprocessor makes so much sense as it measures motion from your iPad Air by pulling data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. So your apps can give you a better experience based on the movement of your iPad Air. It’s a task that would normally fall to the A7 chip. But M7 is more efficient at it, which saves on power.
Using a newly designed A8X chip for the iPad Air 2 which was a high-end 3-core variant of the A8. Apple claims the 64-bit chip delivers 40 percent faster CPU performance than last year's A7, along with more than double the graphics performance due to the PowerVR GPU 8 core graphics chip. The graphics processor is used extensively in the photo app. It also uses the Apple M8 motion co-processor which has a barometer and is the first generation of the iPad to inherit the fingerprint Touch ID sensor from the iPhone 6. It includes an improved 8-megapixel (3264 × 2448) rear-facing camera with 10 fps burst mode and slow motion video at 120 fps.
 Better Wi-Fi
iPad Air gives you up to twice the Wi-Fi performance thanks to two antennas and MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) technology. With dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802.11n Wi-Fi and MIMO, download speeds can reach up to 300 Mbps — double the data rate of the previous-generation iPad. So now when you want to download a movie, share photos or documents with AirDrop, or just browse the web, your connection is even faster than before.
Performance of the iPad Air 2 has more than doubled again to 866 Mbps using an 802.11ac wireless router with MIMO support.
 More LTE bands
iPad Air with Wi-Fi + Cellular lets you connect to the Internet even if you’re away from a Wi-Fi signal. iPad Air supports even more LTE bands to connect to more cellular data networks around the world. Now you can get online at really fast speeds — faster than broadband in some cases — in more places. And plans are flexible, so you don’t have to sign a contract. Some plans even let you share data across multiple devices. Cellular costs $130 more than equivalent Wi-Fi only model.
The iPad Air 2 adds more LTE bands making a total of 20 with up to 150 Mbps.
- Dimensions: 6.6 inches (169.5 mm) x 9.4 inches (240 mm) x 0.29 inch (7.5 mm)
- Air 2 is thinner at 0.24 inches.
- Weight: 1.03 pound (469 g)
- cellular: 1.05 pounds or 16.86 oz (478 g)
- Air 2 drops the weight to 15.36 oz. (435 g)
- Display: Retina display
- 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
- 2048-by-1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch (ppi)
- Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, The Air 2 adds new anti-reflective coating
- Air: A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor
- Air 2 Apple A8X chip with 40% more speed and a coprocessor with 2X M7 performance
- Memory: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB available
- RAM: 1 GB on Air and 2 GB on Air 2
- Carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T Mobile, Verizon
- Wireless and Cellular
- Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n); dual channel (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and MIMO
- Bluetooth 4.0 technology, 4.2 on the Air 2.
- Cellular: Data only (Only select models)
- UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
- CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900 MHz)
- LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26)
- Air 2 has a total of 20 LTE bands.
- Cameras, Photos, and Video Recording
- FaceTime HD Camera: 1.2MP photos, 720p HD video
- iSight Video Recording: 1080p HD video recording
- Video stabilization
- Face detection
- Tap to focus while recording
- Backside illumination
- 3x video zoom
- Air 2 has larger pixels for higher speed exposure.
- Air 2 has time lapse video.
- iSight Camera:
- Air: 5MP photos (2592 x 1944), Air 2: 8MP photos (3264 x 2448)
- iPad Air 2 can now shoot burst mode (10 pictures per second) and create slow motion videos (120 fps in 720p)
- Face detection
- Backside illumination
- Five-element lens
- Hybrid IR filter
- ƒ/2.4 aperture
- Tap to focus video or still images
- Tap to control exposure for video or still images (Air 2 up to 4 f-stops in either direction)
- Photo and video geotagging
- HDR photos
- Air 2 timer mode 2 second or 10 second delay.
- Air 2 panorama 43MP.
- External Buttons and Controls
- Home, Volume
- up/down Silent/Screen
- rotation lock On/Off
- Connectors and Input/Output
- Dual microphones
- 3.5-mm stereo headphone minijack
- Lightning connector Built-in
- Built-in speakers
- Cellular: Nano-SIM card tray
- Power and Battery: Air 32.4WH and Air 2 27.3WH.
- Built-in 32.4-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
- Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music
- Up to 9 hours of surfing the web using cellular data network
- Charging via power adapter or USB to computer system
- Three-axis gyro
- Ambient light sensor
- Barometer on Air 2.
- Digital compass
- Assisted GPS on Cellular version
- Operating System: iOS 7 (iOS 8 on the Air 2) - includes
- Control Center
- Notification Center
- Spotlight Search
- iTunes Radio
- Facebook Integration
- Twitter Integration
- iCloud Keychain
- Built-in Apps
- Photo Booth
- Mail - Mail Attachment Support
- iTunes Store
- Game Center
- App Store
- Free Apps from Apple
- iTunes U
- Find My iPhone
- Find My Friends
- iTunes Trailers
- Audio Playback
- Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
- Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
- User-configurable maximum volume limit
- TV and Video
- AirPlay mirroring and video out to Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation)
- Video mirroring and video out support: Up to 1080p through Lightning Digital AV Adapter and Lightning to VGA Adapter (adapters sold separately)
- Video formats supported: H.264 video up to 1080p, 60 frames per second, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format
- Viewable document types: .jpg, .tiff, .gif (images); .doc and .docx (Microsoft Word); .htm and .html (web pages); .key (Keynote); .numbers (Numbers); .pages (Pages); .pdf (Preview and Adobe Acrobat); .ppt and .pptx (Microsoft PowerPoint); .txt (text); .rtf (rich text format); .vcf (contact information); .xls and .xlsx (Microsoft Excel); .zip; .ics; .epub and .pdf (iBooks)
- Languages: English (U.S.), English (UK), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese
- Intelligent Assistant: Siri - Use your voice to send messages, set reminders, and more.
- VoiceOver screen reader
- Guided Access
- Switch Control
- Support for playback of closed-captioned content
- Full-screen zoom magnification
- Larger type
- Bold text
- Increase contrast
- Reduce motion
- On/Off labels
- Invert colors
- Left/right volume adjustment
- Environmental Requirements
- Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)
- Nonoperating temperature: -4° to 113° F (-20° to 45° C)
- Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
- System Requirements
- Apple ID (required for some features)
- Internet access
- Syncing with iTunes on a Mac or PC requires:
- Mac: OS X v10.6.8 or later
- PC: Windows 8; Windows 7; Windows Vista; or Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 3 or later
- iTunes (free download at www.itunes.com/download)
- In the Box
- iPad Air or Air 2
- Lightning to USB Cable
- USB Power Adapter