Take Two

App Chat: What's new about the iPad Air and iPad Mini?

Apple's New iPad Air Goes On Sale

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Apple employees sell the new iPad Air at the Apple Store on November 1, 2013 in New York City. The new iPad, which will also come in a mini version and is the fifth generation of the popular tablet, is 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the current fourth-generation iPad. It has the same 9.7-inch screen as previous iPads and uses the same A7 processing chip that's in the iPhone 5S. The iPad Air, which went on sale today, will start at $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only model and go up to $629 for a 16GB with 4G LTE connectivity.

Now it's time for App Chat, our weekly look at what's new in mobile tech. Apple's iPad Air and iPad Mini were released a few days ago, Both look sleek and well-designed, but how do the compare to their predecessors?

Devindra Hardawar, senior mobile editor of VentureBeat, joins the show with the lowdown on these new tablets and which apps work best. 

Interview Highlights:

What new things are we seeing on iPad Air and iPad minis?
"Basically with the Air, the bigger one, everybody was expecting an iPad 5 or something like that, but Apple took a totally different route and they just slimmed down the bigger iPad altogether. It is significantly lighter, much thinner than last year's model and it is actually closer to the iPad Mini in terms of weight than it is to last year's iPad."

How much lighter could it possibly get?
"It is pretty insane. So it is a pound now and that is a good thing because on problem I have always had with very big tablets is that they are tough to hold for a long time, especially one-handed. You want them to be as light as possible. So weight and size reduction is the biggest upgrade for the iPad Air. For the iPad Mini, its got a Retina display which means it is very high resolution now. Text looks crisper, images look better and what is really interesting too is that both of the devices run the same hardware. Brand new chip, a lot of memory and lots of graphics power so they are both very powerful."

Which of the two would you recommend?
"It depends on your use case. I feel like if you have a lot of big documents, if you deal with images a lot, you may need the bigger screen space. The iPad Air is close to 10 inches and for viewing comics or reading newspapers and magazines it is kind of a better experience, but personally I really like the Retina iPad Mini just because that is a great size. You can slip it in your bag, it weighs about the same as a paperback book. You can slip that in your bag and forget that it is even there. For some people, it can even fit into their pockets. It is just a great portable experience for me. That is more important than having a bigger screen."

If people can buy a used version of the previous iPad for less, might that be worth it or is the upgrade to great?
"This is a pretty significant upgrade. There are many ways to get an iPad slightly cheaper, you could buy one from Apple and actually pay in installments. T-Mobile just launched a new thing where they will actually give you an iPad with no down payment if you are a T-Mobile customer and then you just pay for it in monthly installments. Do whatever it takes to get the newer iPads because they are a huge improvement."

Favorite Apps:

Flipboard
"One thing that I always keep going back for is Flipboard, this is an app that lets you view news, links from your social media sites in a really magazine-like interface. Flipboard has always been a great experience for tablets, but with the higher resolution displays you can really see more in those photos and the text looks great. It is just a great experience to read and it is free app too, which is why I really enjoy it."

SketchBook Pro
Its a really great app for people who want to do digital illustration and digital art. It is almost as close to painting with an actual paintbrush.

Panna
This one is a digital cooking magazine which I really enjoy. It has high quality photos, recipes, and videos that teach you how to make certain things. Leading up to Thanksgiving, you will probably find a lot of good recipe ideas there.

Star Walk HD
I am kind of an amateur astronomer, and I like to look up things about space. I like to research things when possible, but Star Walk is really nice too because if you are outside you can actually use it to figure out what you are looking at up in the sky. It can give you walk-throughs, it can show you what the different constellations are. I find it to be very useful.

Infinity Blade III
The gamer side of me just has to point out this one. It's a game series that has been kind of the créme de la créme in terms games on the iPhone and iPad, just because they really take advantage of the graphics power on these devices. This later game is the most beautiful one ever and it runs incredibly well on these new devices. There is no loading time, everything moves quickly. It is like you are playing a console game so it is a great way to show off your tablet. 

Alternative Tablets:
"I really like the Nexus 7, Google's new, smaller Android flagship tablet just because it is significantly cheaper than the iPad Mini. It is $229 when the mini starts at least twice as much. It does pretty much everything that the mini does and that the other iPads do, it just does not have access to Apple's iOS app ecosystem. That is not a big deal if you are just browsing the web or you want to use some very popular apps. Most of the grid apps are on Android, but maybe some of the games you will lose out on. You lose out on some of the magazines that iOS has."


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