Tech giant Apple has been very active in the last few weeks, releasing new products and services. CEO Tim Cook hopes new releases will continue to improve the lives of users and the world overall. Prior to last Monday’s keynote address at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, when several new services the company will be offering were unveiled, refreshes to two of Apple’s hottest products were announced: the iPad and true wireless headphones, the AirPods.
The new iPad Air is the third generation of the iPad Air. The first-generation iPad Air was introduced in 2013, and the second generation debuted in 2014. The iPad Air model was discontinued in March 2017 and almost two years later, the third generation was rolled out.
The new iPad Air features Apple’s A12 Bionic chip that delivers great processing capability. Apple claims it can handle everything from photos, gaming, augmented reality and more.
The 4-core graphics engine in the A12 chip and the 10.5-inch Retina display help to deliver the graphics and picture quality that iPads are known for. The new iPad Air also features an 8MP back camera and a 7MP FaceTime HD Camera. It also has Apple Pencil compatibility, which hadn’t been a feature of non-iPad Pros since last year’s sixth-generation iPad was released.
The other iPad revealed on March 18 was the iPad Mini. The iPad Mini first-generation came out in 2012, and 2019’s iPad Mini is the fifth generation of the model. It also features the A12 Bionic chip, and Apple claims it is up to three times faster than the previous iPad Mini model, the iPad Mini 4. It has a 7.9-inch Retina display with over 3 million pixels. The cameras on the new iPad Mini are the same as the new iPad Air, 8MP in the back and 7MP up front. This is also the first iPad Mini model to have Apple Pencil capability.
Kevin Konsler is a technology instructor at Ridgewood High School in Norridge, Illinois. Every RHS student receives an iPad on their first day of classes at the school, and they use them daily for coursework, particularly in artistic areas. According to Konsler, the iPad is revolutionizing the classroom at Ridgewood and elsewhere.
“The iPad is a dynamic tool that promotes students’ abilities to explore their creative abilities in creating videos, editing photography, drawing and much more,” he said.
Since the new iPad models are compatible with Apple Pencil and have increased processing capabilities, these models are expected to further the creative wave of students and non-students alike using their iPads as their own personal canvas for a myriad of projects . Apple hopes the new models will take productivity to new heights.
The new iPad models prove the performance gap is narrowing between regular iPads and iPad Pros. With a starting price point of $499 and $399 respectively, the new iPad Air and iPad Mini models are easier on the wallet than iPad Pros (starting at $649.99), but still pack a significant punch despite a lesser price.
Apple also unveiled the second generation of their true wireless headphones, the AirPods. When initially released in 2016, the AirPods were scoffed at by Apple fans and haters alike, but they have since become some of the best-selling headphones on the market. If a buyer has products in the Apple ecosystem prior to purchasing the AirPods, they are even easier to set up and use.
Within the past few years, wireless charging, especially for smartphones, has become exceedingly popular. Smartphone brands like Apple, LG, Samsung and others have vied for wireless charging supremacy, and almost every high-end smartphone on the market today has wireless charging capability. Apple knows this, and every iPhone model since the iPhone 8, released in September 2017, has featured wireless charging.
Now, Apple has introduced wireless charging to the AirPods. Consumers will now have the ability to charge their AirPods on a wireless smartphone charger, which sell for as little as $10.
Apple is also offering to sell only the wireless charging case for consumers who want wireless charging capabilities but don’t need to part with their first-generation AirPods for $79. The price for new AirPods is $199, and the price for first-generation AirPods is $159.
Bowling Green State University sophomore Brianna Blackburn currently owns a set of first-generation AirPods and is very satisfied with the first iteration of the product.
“I love my AirPods, but I probably won’t upgrade anytime soon. I’m happy with the ones I have now, and I don’t think the [second-generation AirPods] will be worth the money. However, if I didn’t have [first-generation AirPods], I would probably get the new ones,” she said.
BGSU junior Meredith Troxel also owns a pair of first-generation AirPods, and her remarks are similar to Blackburn’s regarding a potential upgrade.
“I don’t believe [spending] extra money for the new AirPods is worth it. Mine stay charged for over a week and work just fine,” she said.
Apple says the new AirPods will have over 24 hours of battery life and five hours of listening time on one charge. They also claim just 15 minutes of charging (wirelessly or via conventional plug) will give the new AirPods up to three hours of listening time, or two hours of talk time. Apple claims talk time is increased by over 50 percent on the second generation of AirPods in comparison to the first generation. Also, the new AirPods will feature handsfree “Hey, Siri” activation, whereas the older model had to be touched in order for Siri to assist.
Apple has been insistent upon making its products easier to use and more attractive to purchase. These upgrades show the company is serious about remaining one of the foremost technology companies in the world.