New iPad Air (2022) vs Old iPad Air (2020) Compared
(Pocket Ribbon) – At its March 2022 Peek Performance event, Apple announced a fifth-generation iPad Air, also known as iPad Air (2022).
Here’s how that tablet compares to the old version, the fourth-generation iPad Air (2020). We looked at their size, display, processor, connectivity and more to see which one is worth your hard-earned cash.
What is the same on the iPad Air models?
The fifth-generation iPad Air has only received new internal upgrades, meaning there’s nothing new on the outside of the tablet. It has the same general appearance, even the physical dimensions remain largely the same.
Both the fourth and fifth generation models are 247.6mm high and 178.5mm wide, and each is just 6.1mm thick. However, both Wi-Fi and cellular versions of the newer model are a gram heavier. Still, it would be hard to look at this one and tell the difference.
The fourth-generation (2020) iPad Air and the fifth-generation (2022) model both have a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with LED backlighting.
The resolutions are also the same for both models (2360 x 1640 with a pixel density of 264ppi and a brightness of 500nits). Both also support True Tone for a more natural viewing experience.
As for the Apple Pencil, the second generation stylus is supported on both the new and the latest model.
The fourth-generation iPad Air (2020) and the fifth-generation iPad Air (2022) both use Apple’s general tablet standard of up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi or watching video.
Power is supplied via USB-C and Apple provides a 20W USB-C power adapter for each.
Both models will continue to use Touch ID for biometric security.
Both models feature Smart Connector, so they can take advantage of the Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio.
What’s different on the iPad Air models?
The latest iPad Air is up to 60 percent faster than the previous model and, according to Apple, has twice the graphics thanks to the M1 processor.
The latest iPad Air comes with the M1, the same desktop-grade chip used in the iPad Pro lineup. It features an eight-core CPU, an 8-core GPU, and a 16-core “next-generation” Neural Engine.
The fourth-generation iPad Air (2020) uses the A14 Bionic, featuring a six-core CPU with two high-performance cores and four power-efficient cores, a four-core Apple-designed GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine.
Both the rear cameras for the fourth-generation iPad Air (2020) and the fifth-generation iPad Air (2022) have the same 12-megapixel wide-angle camera — complete with an f/1.8 aperture, 5x digital zoom, and 4K60 video footage .
On the front, however, the 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera has been replaced by a 12-megapixel Ultra-Wide version on the fifth-generation iPad Air (2022). As part of this upgrade, it also offers 2x zoom out. In fact, the new camera supports Center Stage, so video calls and conferences can be more engaging.
Both models have USB-C for physical connections such as video output to an external display and storage devices. Each tablet also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. The fifth-generation model introduces connectivity over 5G, although Apple specifies that 5G support is for sub-6GHz bands, which have similar coverage to LTE.
On the new model, there is no support for mmWave – the fastest part of 5G.
What colors are available for the iPad Air models?
Apple originally offered five color options for the fourth-generation iPad Air (2020), although it is no longer available through Apple:
Space GreySilverRose GoldGreenSky Blue
Apple offers five color options for the fifth-generation iPad Air (2022):
The fifth-generation iPad Air launched with an upgrade to M1 and 5G support, but it will be a tough sell for those who already own the fourth-generation model.
The new iPad Air, which sits between the standard iPad and iPad Pro, has the same dimensions and screen as the previous model. But the massive processor and speed improvement, plus improved cameras, is enough to keep potential buyers chasing.
Both are attractive tablets, but one is clearly much better for basically the same price.
Written by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Britta O’Boyle.