Apple’s new iPad for the spring is a $329 model with an A9 chip; it replaces the $399 iPad Air 2 in the lineup that Apple sold — until today. However, the new iPad is not an upgrade over the iPad Air 2 in every respect; it is cheaper, but it is also significantly thicker and heavier.
The iPad Air 2 was very slender; 6.1mm and 0.96 pounds. The new iPad is relatively bulky, measuring at 7.5mm thin and weighing 1.03 pounds …
In relative terms, this is a pretty substantial change. The new iPad is more than 20% thicker than the iPad Air 2 although in absolute terms, it’s important to note we are still talking about millimetre differences here. An increase of 1.5mm is small but it will definitely be noticeable in the hand if you have handled both tablets before. At 9.7 inches, the weight increase of 0.07lbs or about 30 grams is probably not discernible in practice.
Nevertheless, it’s something to watch out for. For a company that is known for making things ever thinner and smaller, Apple has actually released a lot of products recently that are thicker than what came before; Apple Watch 2 was thicker to accommodate GPS, iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 are thicker than iPhone 6, and now the iPad has a thicker iteration too.
iPad Air 2 compared to $329 iPad:
Depth: 6.1mm -> 7.5mm
Weight: 437 grams -> 469 grams
The $329 iPad is still an attractive offering to people wanting an iPad that don’t care about the Pro features like Apple Pencil or Smart Keyboard support.
It features an Apple A9 chip, an upgrade from the A8X previously offered in the iPad Air 2, and obviously headlines a $70 price cut for the entry price of an 9.7-inch iPad.
The new iPad goes on sale this Friday, March 24th. In the US, the cheaper iPad costs $329 for a 32 GB WiFi model and $459 for a 32 GB WiFi + Cellular model.