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New larger screen size isn’t the best feature of the new M2 iPad Air

I totally get that most people are going to look at the new iPad Air and think, the best thing about this is that it comes in a bigger version now. As valid as that is, I think the base storage bump is actually the sleeper hit for Apple’s mid-range tablet.

On Tuesday, Apple officially kicked off its long-awaited “Let Loose” event and revealed the next-generation iPad Pro and iPad Air as well as its new Apple Pencil Pro and next-generation Magic Keyboard. In addition, the company announced new versions of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro and discontinued the 9th-generation iPad and Smart Keyboard Folio for the iPad Pro.

What’s new with the new iPad Air?

There’s a lot to love about the new iPad Air. The most obvious change with the new models is that, instead of just one 10.9-inch option, Apple has created a larger iPad Air for the first time. Customers can now choose between an 11-inch or a larger 13-inch model.

The new iPad Air also comes packed with the M2 chip with an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, an upgrade over the M1 chip that came in the previous generation. Apple says that the M2 chip offers 50 percent faster performance when compared to the M1 in the previous iPad Air. The chip also boasts a 16-core Neural Engine that is 40 percent faster than M1.

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Best M2 iPad Air featuresThe new M2 iPad Air finally gets a 13-inch model. Image source: Apple Inc.

The M2 iPad Air also comes with a front-facing Ultra Wide 12MP camera, which has finally been moved from the landscape edge of the iPad (FINALLY). This certainly makes FaceTime and other video calls much more pleasant. It also includes Wi-Fi 6E, which Apple says increases performance up to 2x compared to the previous generation. Cellular models of the new iPad Air have also made the switch to eSIM over a physical SIM card. It also gets some new features with the Apple Pencil.

The sleeper hit is the increased base storage

While all of the above are great spec bumps to the tablet, I think the best feature of the M2 iPad Air is something that Apple basically glazed over: The storage.

Up until this generation, the base amount of storage that would come with an iPad Air was 64GB. While that may have been fine years ago, in 2024, this created some serious challenges for almost any user. People tend to use their iPads for entertainment and, especially when traveling, want to download movies and television shows to the tablet.

With movies and TV shows long being available in 4K HDR and the iPad supporting those resolutions and picture technologies, those movies and television shows can take up a heck of a lot of space on your tablet. I’ve already run into a number of instances where I have to limit what I download when traveling with my 64GB iPad mini due to the storage limit.

M2 iPad AirThe new iPad Air also gets some new Apple Pencil features. Image source: Apple Inc.

Of course, there are plenty of other things that can take up space quickly on an iPad. Whether you’re a photographer, videographer, artist, musician, or developer, all of these professions can find you easily operating with large file sizes, and 64GB has likely been very limiting for you as well.

So, while all of the other features are a nice touch, I think this upgraded base storage is going to make an even more meaningful difference to a lot of people — especially considering that Apple is keeping that base price at $599 and not charging you extra for that additional storage. While I would have recommended most people pay for extra storage in the past, Apple has finally fixed that problem.

The base model iPad Air is finally a good choice for most users! It only took until 2024!

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