The newest and hottest iPad from Apple is accepting pre-orders so in this article, I would like to talk about few things that you need to consider before clicking on the buy button. I am hoping that this will be extremely useful, especially if you are a first time iPad buyer. I am going to detail on the colour you need to choose, the storage options that would be ideal and whether you need the cellular connectivity option or not. Based on my decade of iPad usage, I am hoping that these points will help you in making the right decision of choosing the iPad Air 4 to suit all your needs.
First up is which colour to choose
If you have followed the iPad Air keynote back in September, then you are aware of the newer and refreshing colour palette added to the iPad Air 4 line up. See the Pro design was always offered in silver and space grey colour options but this time, besides the usual, we also get rose gold and 2 newer shades in the form of sky blue and green, the first for not only the iPad Air but any iPad ever. And needless to say those 2 new colours will be the most popular ones and will sell out first . So if you really want those newer shades then you need to be quick as the delivery options have already pushed back a few weeks on those.
However, no matter what colour you choose the front of the iPad will always be surrounded with black borders unlike other iPads where certain colours get white borders. This is a good thing as black borders blend nicely with the content especially when you are watching videos. The black letterboxing and the borders blend nicely together causing less distraction especially when watching movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime videos or Disney Plus.
And then I wouldn’t get upset if your favourite colour has sold out as the iPad is a device which you always use with a case on . And once it’s in the case, then it is the case which defines the colour of your iPad. Unless you use one of these magnetic cases. See I use my iPad out of the case when I am making videos out writing stuff or reading ebooks. So I sacrificed a bit of protection in leu of accessibility. This ZtoTop case from Amazon has a magnetic back where the iPad just sticks on. It hasn’t got much edge protection but it’s super easy to detach your iPad from the case just as you do it with your Apple Pencil 2 and then you can use your iPad in hands and feel it’s form factor and colour. ZtpTop offers the same case for the new iPad Air 4 as well, you can check it out on Amazon.
Let’s move on to next and more interesting point — What Storage Option To Consider
Apple really get a bit cheeky and clever in this aspect as it doesn’t offer the same storage options across its iPad lineup, which we would normally use for comparison. In this instance it’s the Air 4 and the iPad Pro 2020, with which the Air 4 shares its DNA.
The Air 4 offers 64GB and 256gb storage options whereas the iPad Pro comes in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and a whopping 1TB storage options. So you see we cannot compare a like for like base storage option between these two devices.
And going for the higher 256GB storage option on the Air 4 will rack up the cost to 729£ bring it super close to the iPad Pro. And despite the A12z chip sounding last gen, the iPad Pro is still going to pack enough punch even when compared to the A14 Bionic chip in the new Air 4. I will do a comparison review for sure when I have the new device but in a nutshell, with the x and zee variations of Apple processors, Apple usually tries to add desktop class performance in it. So you get more performance and insane graphical capabilities when compare to their standard ARM device processors. And then with the pro you also get the insane 120Hz screen which if you follow any tech YouTuber, they all unanimously vote this as the best feature of the iPad! So ideally I would recommend spending upwards of 700£ on an iPad Air which leaves you with the option of going with the base 64GB storage.
I am going to use both my iPads, the iPad Air 2019 which comes with base 64GB storage and iPad Pro 2020 which comes with 128GB storage and compare two contrasting storage usage scenarios to give you a better idea of how much storage you need.
Let’s take the iPad Air 3 first, my wife uses this as her main iPad here and she uses this for work and leisure purposes . But for storage she mostly uses Google drive and Dropbox so storage is not a huge concern here. She also doesn’t use her iPad for storing photos or music, we dedicate our iPhones for that purpose and they are choco-blocked with songs and pictures. And then the main usage of her iPad Air is watching movies and tv shows. With streaming services offering wide selection of movies and TV shows without having the need to download them helps with having lower storage on an ipad.
And then, the system takes about 6–7GB storage which is brilliant considering how amazing iPadOS has gotten . Don’t be alarmed by the other storage which is just temporary cache which includes the storage capacity of apps in it as well.
Then games take up the next highest storage space . Still I have Fortnite installed which takes up over 10GB. Asphalt 9 takes up 2GB storage, don’t have PubG Mobile here but it takes about 3gb. So, based on this, you can estimate how many games you can download and keep on your iPad.
For students, documents and ebooks shouldn’t take up that much space, this complete Steve Jobs biography only takes about 7MB storage space.
Another contrasting view here is my iPad Pro which comes with a decent for 2020 128GB storage space and I use my iPad Pro bit more for my YouTube videos. So Lumafusion app takes up over 30gb storage space, I usually keep around last 4 video project of mine and delete the rest.
I have a few more productivity apps such as keynote, pages, Lightroom so you can see in the screenshot below, how much memory they take up. I have iCloud sync turned ON for photos so it’s really doesn’t account for much and then I have the habit of purchasing movies from iTunes Store. I buy those which I absolutely love and watch them over and over. But now with fast speed internet access, whenever I want to watch those movies I stream them instead of downloading and keeping them on the device. Because, if you start to do that, then storage will soon rack up. I mean the Interstellar movie 4K edition is over 7GB and the HD edition passengers movie is about 2.5GB. So if you have the habit of buying and storing movies, they will soon add up and eat up your storage space.
Hopefully this gives you a better idea on how much storage will be ideal and how to manage your storage even when you get the base models. Honestly 128gb is perfect storage option as you can be more carefree with that whereas with the 64GB on Air 4, you need to be a bit more cautious on how much stuff your are downloading and installing on your device.
Next up is connectivity options
See in my decade long usage of iPads I never for even once felt the need of cellular connectivity. Most places that I used my iPad had WiFi and then for those odd countable moments where I needed internet access on my iPad, I easily used the personal hotspot feature on my iPhone and gained internet access onto my iPad via that. So unless you a heavy data user, always using the iPad on the go and cannot share the data allowance from your mobile phone, then the cellular option is for you. For the rest of us, it’s better to save that extra cash and invest on an accessory such as the Apple Pencil 2.
Which brings me to the accessories which you need to buy with the iPad Air 4
See case is a must with the iPad along with a screen protector so I am going to leave them out of this article, but for now let’s focus on other accessories which will enhance your user experience with the iPad Air 4.
Firs is Apple Pencil gen 2 — This really is a remarkable stylus input device and if you are a graphic designer or an artist then it goes without saying that you need to get this for sure. For the rest of us, if you are a student or use pro apps like Lumafusuon then the Apple Pencil will seriously help. Especially for students, rough note taking with the Apple Pencil beats out any keyboard attachment and will seriously help with productivity.
Talking about keyboard attachments , next accessory to consider is Apple’s Magic Keyboard. If you are seriously considering to do away with your laptop and hoping to replace it with the iPad Air 4, then the magic keyboard is the one which provides that closest alternative. Having a trackpad included provides that laptop like experience. But you do need to seriously consider your requirement, if you really are going to use it extensively as the cost of it is almost close to the full blow 8th Gen iPad.
And if you are just looking for a keyboard case then there are cheaper third party alternatives including Apple’s own Smart Folio keyboard case.
And the final thing on this iPad Air 4 buying guide is Airpods. See this time around, the 3.5mm headphone jack gets the boot so you need to either buy A USB C to 3.5mm headphone adapter which Apple sells for 10£ or buy the Airpods. Honestly once you get hooked onto these you’ll probably never switch to any other headphones. What’s remarkable about them is the ease with which they connect, the in-ear comfort which they provide, the speed with which they charge and the sound isn’t bad either. I absolutely love them and use them daily. With the recent software update you get even faster pairing and switching between your Apple devices making them super useful and if you can spare a little more cash then you can go for the AirPods Pro. I haven’t personally used them but my friends swear by them saying they have the best sound isolating feature ever and with the recent 3D cinematic sound update, they got even better.
So there you guys, everything you need to consider whilst buying the iPad Air 4. Hope you found this useful and if you wish to check the video version of this, then please check below or head over to my YouTube channel RaavMedia.