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Apple's fifth-gen iPad Air makes the leap to M-series processors

Apart from the new processor, it's not a huge leap over the previous Air, but all the improvements do make a difference.
By
March 8, 2022
iPad Air 5 Side
Apple
TL;DR
  • The 5th gen iPad Air now uses the M1 chip previously found in iPad Pros.
  • Other upgrades include 5G, a better front-facing camera, and 10Gbps USB-C.
  • Orders start March 11, with prices beginning at $599.

As anticipated, one of the key products announced during Apple’s spring press event was a fifth-generation iPad Air, marking a jump to the M-series processors previously limited to iPad Pros and recent Macs.

The new Air now features the same M1 chip in 2021 Pros. The iPad now sports an octa-core CPU paired with an octa-core GPU, the latter doubling graphics performance versus the fourth-generation iPad Air.

See also: Your guide to the best tablets

Other upgrades over the previous model include a 12MP front-facing camera with Center Stage (auto-framing), 5G support on cellular models, and double the speed (10Gbps) on USB-C data transfers. That last point is important since iPads are popular with some photographers and videographers who like to do editing from external drives.

The tablet’s design is otherwise similar to the previous model, with flat edges, a 10.9-inch display, and Touch ID. There’s no Face ID camera. You can, however, use the Air with the second-generation Apple Pencil, as well as accessories such as the Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio.

Orders start Friday, March 11, ahead of a March 18 ship date. Prices start at $599 — the same as before — and include 64GB and 256GB storage options on top of the choice of Wi-Fi or 5G. Available colors include black, white, Electric Orange, Dark Cherry, English Lavender, and Marine Blue.