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The new iPad Air comes in two sizes, including a 13-inch model

Apple has upgraded the tablet with the M2 chipset.


It's about dang time. During its Let Loose event, Apple announced it has updated the iPad Air for the first time in over two years. The latest model has an M2 chip, so it's not getting one of Apple's most recent chipsets, likely to keep costs down and differentiate it from the iPad Pro. Still, the M2 is about 50 percent faster than the M1, Apple says, and the tablet is about three times faster than the A14 Bionic-powered iPad Air from 2020.

Perhaps more significantly, the company has introduced an iPad Air with a 13-inch screen for the first time. That means there are two variants, as the 11-inch format is sticking around. As such, the iPad Air and iPad Pro effectively have the same display sizes. The 13-inch model has about 30 percent more screen real estate than the 11-inch, Apple says.

The smaller model starts at $599 (the same as the previous gen Air originally cost), while the 13-inch version is $799. You can add $150 to each of those prices if you want a cellular model. Both will be available on May 15, with pre-orders opening today.

In a welcome decision, Apple is also doubling the Air's base storage to 128GB. Storage maxes out at 1TB. There are two new finishes — blue and purple — to go with the starlight and space gray options.

Rumors initially suggested that the 13-inch model would have a mini-LED display. That turned out not to be the case as it has a liquid retina display, but analyst Ross Young says Apple may unveil an updated iPad Air later this year that does have such a display.

Another of the updates isn't quite as notable, but it should be a great quality-of-life change for many folks. Apple has moved the 12MP front-facing camera to the landscape edge of the display. That means you should be more centered in the frame when your iPad is docked and you're on a video call (the Center Stage feature will help with that too). The placement of the front-facing camera has been one of our biggest iPad bugbears for years, and it's great to see Apple finally seeing sense and repositioning it.

The wide 12MP camera on the rear supports 4K video capture at up to 240 fps. The new iPad Air has dual microphones that can minimize background audio, Apple says, while the stereo landscape speakers support spatial audio. The company claims that the 13-inch model offers double the bass output.

On the connectivity front, there's support for Wi-Fi 6E and 5G. The former should deliver up to twice the internet performance of the previous Air, according to Apple. As for 5G connectivity, the M2 iPad Air uses eSIM rather than a physical SIM.

Follow all of the news live from Apple's 'Let Loose' event right here.