To demonstrate how thin the iPad Air 2 is, Apple took a laser to a pencil. The new iPad is almost impossibly thin. At just 6.1mm, the iPad Air 2 contains a huge amount of technology, whilst being lighter and more powerful than ever before. To put this in context, the Air 2 is 18% thinner than the previous Air, or almost 40% thinner than the iPad 4.
The latest iPad’s are better by just about every metric possible. The screens have been redesigned to make the pixels seem closer to the users’ finger – which also has the huge benefit of making the screen less reflective in sunlight.
With the new devices, it’s apps that really make Apple’s products stand out. Apple fully understands just how important apps are to the ways in which people use its products. With the features that iOS 8 brings, matched with the power of the new iPads and the way in which they can interact with OS X Yosemite, Apple has created a huge number of reasons for people to play and stay within its ecosystem.
Bringing TouchID to the iPads also provides businesses with a compelling reason to upgrade any company provided iPads. TouchID means that firms can ensure data is protected and that employees can be more productive, by saving time on getting into their devices.
Whilst the new iPads are the best iPads ever and iOS 8.1 has a huge number of improvements, there are a few omissions.
Apple claims it is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, yet where is the public transport information? Millions of people who live and work in urban areas will rely on public transport to get to and from work and meetings. Apple’s calendar includes the ability to alert users when they need to leave, but without public transit information, this is confined to walking or driving.
There are thousands of third party apps that can be used for this purpose. However, without this functionality being a core part of Apple Maps or Siri’s intelligence, these are extra steps users have to take that just aren’t necessary on other platforms. Ever since Apple introduced its Maps, this has been a missing feature of iOS.
Preview and Mark Up is also something we’d love to see. Preview is one of the most useful pieces of Apple software on OS X. For a device that is used so much in the enterprise and education market, the iPad should have Preview. Having the software would be a huge productivity boost for many users, allowing them to edit PDF documents or make notes on them. Mail Mark Up is a new feature with OS X, making it easy for users to make edits on email attachments – this on the iPad would be a true productivity tool.
Apple had the opportunity to include NFC with the iPad Air 2. Doing so would have created a product that could have completely changed the way in which retailers process payments, by delivering a point of sale device. This could have the potential to deliver a huge amount of disruption in that space. Many retailers and venues are already using iPads as point of sale terminals, but are using third party devices for processing payments – delivering this in a single device could have been monumental.
We have no doubt that the new iPads will be successful. For people who are new to iPad or are looking to upgrade their iPad 2, 3 or 4, this is the iPad for them. It is the device that businesses will want to roll out to their employees, as it delivers on portability and security.
For us though, the true stand out from Apple’s event last night was the new iMac. As a company that believes in the importance of good design, it’s important to have the right tools to create award winning apps on.
Mubaloo’s Head of Design, Hannah Tempest said, “It will be interesting to have the opportunity to view high res graphics as we create them. Although, for some time, best practice has meant that we work in pure vector, so there shouldn’t be any real issue for asset creation and design quality assurance. Obviously, we would all welcome the opportunity to work from the 5K iMac!”
Apple isn’t trying to merge iOS and OS X. Instead, it recognises that each platform has its own, unique use cases but that they should play together. Yosemite and iOS 8 are designed to communicate and deliver a seamless user experience. This is Apple doing what it does best – the integration of hardware with software.