Apple's iPad Air 6 is great, but there's only one reason I'd buy one

Let Loose 2024
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Apple Let Loose Event

Let Loose Live

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- Let Loose event LIVE — Everything announced at the Let Loose event, as it happens
OLED iPad Pro — M3 and a major display upgrade expected!
iPad Air 6 — Apple's thinnest and lightest tablet gets a new processor!
Apple Pencil 3 — Or should we say Apple Pencil Pro?

The new iPad Air is here. Unveiled at Apple’s May 7 Let Loose event, it now comes in two sizes, has a spicy new M2 chip, and supports the all-new Apple Pencil Pro. Yet through no fault of its own, the iPad Air finds itself with something of an identity crisis. Thanks to the weight-saving power of OLED, the iPad Pro is now Apple’s thinnest and lightest tablet. The Air, which literally carries a moniker denoting its portability, is no longer the go-to choice if you want a thin and light iPad. 

Apple has also slashed the price of the iPad 10, which means the iPad Air is comparatively much more expensive. Where previously a user might have seen the price of the iPad 10 and decided that the extra cash for an M1 Air was no big deal, the gap is now $250, which isn’t pocket change by anyone’s estimation. 

The M2 iPad Air is powerful thanks to that new chip, but its lack of ProMotion and the limitations of iPadOS means that power is largely wasted on your average consumer. Likewise, support for the new Apple Pencil Pro is impressive, but anyone serious about drawing and creation on iPad is probably looking at the new M4 iPad Pro with OLED instead. In fact, there’s only one reason I’d buy the new iPad Air, and it’s that big new display. 

13-inch iPad Air to the rescue

Save for the new form factor, I find myself thoroughly underwhelmed by the new iPad Air. With its new M4 chip and OLED display, the 2024 iPad Pro makes for a much more impressive upgrade. However, thanks to those upgrades, it also comes with a $200 price increase across the board, which gives the iPad Air one unique selling point. The new 13-inch model, which is identical to the 11-inch model in every way save sound quality (where it is better), slots neatly into the gap left behind by the $799 11-inch iPad Pro, which now costs $999. 

If you’re in the market for a new iPad, you can now get an expansive 13-inch display without paying the $999 price of the old iPad Pro, or the $1,299 cost of the new one. The iPad is the ultimate content consumption machine, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stolen my wife’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro because my 11-inch model just doesn’t quite cut the mustard. This new 13-inch iPad Air is the cheapest big-screen tablet Apple has ever made, and that stands as this model's unique selling point in the lineup. In almost every other area it finds itself eclipsed. The M4 power of the new iPad Pro is significantly more enticing for users who want to take advantage of apps like the new Final Cut Pro for iPad and the Logic Pro for iPad, and the aforementioned iPad 10 is now a much more attractive budget option. As mentioned, the iPad Air doesn’t even offer the one unique feature its name suggests, with the iPad Pro now the thinnest and lightest tablet in the lineup. 

So there you have it, despite the M2 chip, and the Apple Pencil Pro, there’s only really one reason you should be considering that new M2 iPad Air. But with a 13-inch display for the masses long overdue on iPad, it’s a good reason nonetheless.

We're covering the Apple iPad event as it happens. Follow the Let Loose event LIVE here. Or check out our roundups for all the latest on the new OLED iPad ProiPad Air, and the new Apple Pencil

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9