Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Air is one of the best tablets in the world and a slate that should be on the radar of all tablet shoppers. However, before you set out to buy it, know that there are some reasons why you should avoid buying the iPad Air right now.
Last October, shortly after it announced iOS 7, the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, Apple took to the stage once again to show off a slew of new products including OS X Mavericks, an iPad mini with Retina Display, and a brand new 9.7-inch iPad Air. The iPad Air, the company’s new 9.7-inch model, replaced the iPad 4 as the flagship moving forward.
Apple’s iPad Air is arguably the best tablet ever made. It comes with a beautiful 9.7-inch Retina Display, a compact design that’s both sleek and lightweight, a solid rear camera, a good front-facing camera, a 64-bit A7 processor, and Apple’s brand new iOS 8 update that breathes new life into one of the world’s best slates.
With the fall upon us and Black Friday and holiday shopping on the way, many consumers in the United States have their eyes on the iPad Air either as a gift to themselves or as a gift for their loved ones. If that sounds like you, we don’t blame you at all. Apple’s tablet is one of the best in the business. It’s just not a tablet that we’d buy right now.
For most of 2014, we’ve recommended the iPad Air to friends, family and readers looking for a brand new tablet. We, like many others, hold the iPad Air in high regard. However right now, with the climate the way it is, we cannot recommend the iPad Air. While that might sound odd given our glowing review, hear us out because there are some reasons why you shouldn’t buy the iPad Air right now.
iPad Air 2 Release Date
The next 40 days or so represent the absolute worst time to buy the iPad Air and really, any large screen tablet. That’s because we’re hitting the tail end of Apple’s yearly tablet cycle. And while an iPad mini 3 may not hit shelves until 2015, it looks like a brand new iPad Air release could be just weeks away.
For months, we’ve heard about this rumored iPad Air 2. We’ve seen a number of rumors and leaks including information from well respected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who believes that Apple has an iPad Air 2 release up its sleeve for the holidays. Kuo was the same man who accurately predicted most of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus features ahead of time. He also made accurate predictions regarding the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display.
Apple still isn’t talking about the iPad Air 2 but we’ve already seen various sources align around a very specific launch window for the device. Early iPad Air 2 release rumors centered on Apple’s usual iPad launch window of October and November and more recent rumors suggest that Apple is indeed targeting an iPad Air arrival in October.
Chinese publication Commercial Times claims that the iPad Air 2 will arrive in October. Bloomberg is also reporting that Apple’s gearing up for a mid-October launch for new iPads. And while that October 21st launch date theory has been debunked by The Loop, there’s still a good chance that Apple hosts an October launch event to show off new iPads, OS X Yosemite and perhaps, new MacBooks.
At this point, all roads lead to an arrival in October which means that those of you in the hunt for a new iPad may only have to wait a few weeks before Apple drops a new iPad Air. Given that Apple only releases iPads once a year, we think that waiting a few weeks before buying is the smart play.
iPad Air 2 Specs
The iPad Air was a huge bump up from the iPad 4. However, iPad Air 2 rumors suggest a modest upgrade from the current model, something that makes sense given Apple’s iPad release pattern. It tends to make incremental updates for a few years before unleashing a major change.
iPad Air 2 specs will supposedly include the company’s brand new A8 processor that arrived alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus earlier this month. The new processor would deliver improved performance. It’s also supposed to come with Touch ID fingerprint technology, the same tech found inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s.
We’ve also heard that it may feature a new 8MP rear camera, come in three colors including gold, silver, and space gray, just like the iPhone, and that it could have an anti-reflective display. Here is what Ming-Chi Kuo had to say about the iPad Air 2 in early September:
In light of limited development resources and the fact that iPad Air contributes more to Apple’s sales and earnings than iPad mini, we think that only iPad Air 2 will see a major upgrade in specs this year, including anti-reflective coating for the cover lens, full lamination for the touch panel, a gold-colored metal casing, an A8 processor, Touch ID/ fingerprint recognition and an 8-megapixel rear camera. iPad mini may be upgraded with fingerprint recognition, if any.
It does look like it will keep a similar design and a similar screen size. In other words, the iPad Air 2 could just be a souped up version of the current iPad Air that’s sold at the same price point as the current model.
We think that’s worth waiting for.
iPad Air Deals
Even if none of this pans out, by waiting a few weeks, you’ll open yourself up to more iPad Air deals. If Apple does release a new iPad Air 2, we could also see it position the older model at the $399 price point currently occupied by the iPad 4.
If that doesn’t happen, we will almost certainly see retailers offer Black Friday and holiday specials on the iPad Air and iPad mini and we could potentially see some of these deals emerge in late October or early November ahead of Black Friday in late November.
If you’re not in a hurry to replace your current tablet and you aren’t one hundred percent sold on the iPad Air, we highly recommend waiting, at least until the end of October. By then, you could have a few more options to weigh against the current iPad Air and you should also have access to a cheaper iPad Air. In our eyes, passing on the iPad Air right now, if you can, is a win-win situation.
If you simply can’t wait, make sure that you don’t pay full price for the iPad Air. It’s still a top tablet but there are deals to be had now that it’s almost a year old.