Here’s Why Apple’s iPad Air Is Worth the Upgrade


Just one week after its unveiling, performance scores for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad Air are starting to roll in. At the iPad event in California last week, CEO Tim Cook promised that his new product runs two times faster than its predecessor, and recent reports are proving his comments true.

Primate Labs’s Geekbench says it “provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks engineered to quickly and accurately measure processor and memory performance,” and the product has rated the iPad 2, iPad mini, third-generation iPad, fourth-generation iPad, and now, the iPad Air. The higher the score, the better the product, and double the score means double the performance.

First up is Primate Labs’s single-core performance evaluator. On this scale, the iPad Air scored a 1465 with its A7 processor, while the fourth-generation iPad earned a 771 with its A6. Both run at 1400 MHz, but the Air comes out substantially ahead. The iPad 2, on the other hand, scored a 261 with its A5 processor, which is similar to the figure earned by the older iPad mini that also runs on an A5. The fourth-generation iPad and iPad Air thus show significant upgrades from their ancestors.

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Primate Labs also rated the iPads’ multicore performance, and on that scale, the iPad Air scored a 2643, while the fourth-generation iPad earned almost half of that at 1408. Following the same trend as the first analysis, the iPad mini and iPad 2′s scores pale in comparison to the older models — they scored 496 and 494, respectively.

The iPad Air’s impressive results illuminate how powerful its new A7 processor is. To put it in perspective, Primate Labs compared its processor speed to that of the iPhone 5′s A7 processor, and it found that the A7 runs 1.4 GHz, 100MHz faster. It is still unclear whether that can be attributed to a larger battery, a larger chassis, or a combination of the two, but it is a significant upgrade that new users will likely take note of.

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When comparing the iPad Air to its predecessor, the fourth-generation iPad, the performance analysis firm also finds that the Air is more than 80 percent faster than the previous iPad. This result almost meets Cook’s promise that the new device will be two times faster than the iPad 4.

The iPad Air is also five times faster than the iPad 2, making it hard to understand why the iPad 2 is still on the market at such a high price point, but it remains on the shelves nonetheless.

Consumer reviews of the iPad Air will continue rolling in as more tech junkies get their hands on the tablets, especially this upcoming holiday season. It’ll be interesting to compare the iPad Air to tablet competitors from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Samsung Electronics (SSNLF.PK), because as the market gets more saturated, the companies will recognize a greater need to make their products stand out.

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