Review: iPad Air

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When you think about digital devices like tablets you have to think about how they have affected us. iPads have integrated themselves into our lives–especially the lives of photographers. We use them to show our portfolios, have contracts signed, check email, manage things and even read magazines. They are great tools to have. Earlier on this year, Apple released the iPad Air–the latest evolution in the lineup. And though it’s got quite some charm, do you really need it?

Tech Specs

Taken from the Amazon listing:

9.7 inch Display

Apple 1.3 GHz

32 GB Flash Memory, 1 GB RAM Memory

1.05 pounds

Apple iOS 7; 9.7 Retina display; 2048 x 1536 resolution

5 MP iSight camera; 1080p HD video recording

A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor

Up to 10 hours of battery life; 1.05 lbs

Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) + Verizon 4G LTE; 32 GB Capacity Ergonomics

Ergonomics

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Its size is the major change in this release. While it is not the iPad mini, the iPad Air is smaller that the iPad 4. It’s actually more pleasant to hold along with being a little lighter and smaller. It is like the iPad went to the gym for a while and lost some weight. This may not seem like a big deal, but it takes a little less room in your bag. If you’re a photographer trying to shrink your overall kit, know that this does fit into a smaller bag nicely.

The screen is the same size as the iPad 4 with its slimmed down size. You don’t lose any functionality there. I did not buy the iPad mini because the amount as well as what I read, in my spare time, lends itself to the bigger size.

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The buttons are in their usual places keeping most things familiar with this upgrade. They have not changed much at all as well, remaining nice and simple. The mute button works the same as it does on the iPhone turning off the sound and or locking the orientation of the iPad Air. The other buttons raise and lower the volume. They are easy to access and use.

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The iPad Air uses the lighting connector. There are a few memory card readers out there that will use this connector. Then there is the home button–this is where the magic happens. Well maybe not magic, more of your command and control button. It takes you back to your main screen, you can also triple click it, for special command that can be set up via Settings > General > Accessibility > Triple-click the Home button.

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The sleep/wake button is also in the same place. There is no real innovation here. Apple kept this the same. They don’t change the ergonomics much on the iPads. While the shapes may subtly change, the layout stays mostly the same.

Performance

Use Social Media to Enhance Your Photography

With iOS7, it is extremely fast. There is a noticeable improvement in speed from the iPad 3, but not from the iPad 4. What is improved is the screen and size. The retina display is lovely. This comes in handy when showing off your portfolio. I do most of my email from my iPad Air and it’s easier to look at for longer periods of time.

Free Productivity Apps Now Included

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I’m enjoying Apple’s new “giving” mindset. The iPad Air come with a new and free set of apps that actually make it more productive: Garage Band, Pages and Numbers.

For photographers, we have iPhoto, which is a way to edit and organize photos on the iPad Air, and iMovie. iMovie allows for movie editing on the go.These are nice little tools to have. They may not be not your first choice, but they are free and available to use.

Photography Use

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More and more we have to work on the go. With the iPad’s new screen, it’s a lot nicer to edit on the go. With a tool like the CF card reader and an all-in-one card reader, you can pull your images to the iPad. With Apps like Snapseed or Photoshop Touch you can edit the images. And with WordPress you can run your blog. It does not replace a Macbook or laptop though, but when traveling light, it does work.

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If you are shooting with an Eye-fi card, the iPad is a dream as well along with updating or running your blog while traveling, you can do even more. If you are working out in the field, you can show your client the work right away in a pleasing manner. They don’t have to look at the back of your camera, they have the retina display to look at. Having a personal portfolio on-line at a place like 500PX or on the iPad Air, you are always going to get a decent display. If a person has an Apple TV at a location, you can get it on a bigger screen. The iPad air will run it smoothly.

 Conclusions

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It’s nice to go out with your mind at peace and know you can show your work on a nice screen. The iPad Air is a nice multipurpose device, that is actually an improvement and not just a minor upgrade. If you have an iPad 4 already, however, you may want to skip this. Like most things Apple does, it is not a super innovative update. Rather, it’s an evolutionary one. For photographers, an iPad is a good tool. There is enough support for it to make it a viable working tool.

Now does every photographer need and iPad? No, it’s up to each individual to decide what they need.

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Gevon Servo

Gevon Servo aka @GServo is an eclectic, NJ/NY Photographer. He’s a Nikon shooter, by choice nevertheless, will always test any piece of photography equipment. He believes that like ‘Photography’, ‘Coffee’,’Beer’ and ‘Comics Books’ and other things ‘Geek’ “You must try everything once to discover what you want to try again.