Is it Real? How the $500 Apple iPad Air Could Be a Photographer’s Dream

According to reports, the Apple iPad Air might be a powerful, yet cheaper option for creators over the iPad Pro.

For as long as I can remember, Apple has been touting the power and capabilities of their iPad and have often said that their tablets are bonafide PC replacements. Still, to date, that hasn’t materialized. Apple has come close with their line of iPad Pro’s, but they are just too costly to only be ‘almost’ good enough. There are now new reports that suggest a new Apple iPad Air might be in the works, and that it could be a very powerful, yet still affordable option for photographers, and creators who work while on the go. If there is indeed a new Apple iPad Air, it’s going to need a serious bump in specs to be taken seriously by creators. Let’s talk about this after the break.

A recent article over at Creative Bloq talks about the possibility of a new Apple iPad Air that could start going into production between July and September of this year. This, of course, will be dependent on if countries have recovered from the impacts of COVID-19, and if the speculation about a new Apple iPad Air is even true.

The Specs

“At this point, the technology is usually good enough, but it’s the software that drives these devices, and there isn’t enough.”

Some possible specs of the new Apple iPad Air, which were first reported on by China Times, include a larger screen (a bump from 10.5-inches to 11-inches), and that the new tablet could feature a secondary LED screen which sits under the main display. (I think this may be like the Mac Touchbar) and, there are murmurings about an under the screen fingerprint reader. 

Looking at these reported specs, I just cannot see how the new Apple iPad Air would appeal to creators just based on these new features alone. There is going to have to be significantly more about the tablet to make photographers and videographers swoon to it. The inclusion of a touch bar that will let you see a video timeline might be nice, or that could let you adjust sliders in a photo editing suite could be cool, but come on, the whole device is a touch screen. Would there really be any need for a feature like this on a tablet?

Work With Software Companies

As we have stated before about the iPad Pro, Apple needs to be working with software companies to get more professional-grade apps that are catered towards content creators. At this point, the technology is usually good enough, but it’s the software that drives these devices, and there isn’t enough. 

Apple iPad Air

“If Apple can work with companies like Adobe and Phase One, or even directly with major camera manufacturers to make wired or wireless tethering work seamlessly, the iPad would be a killer tool in a photographer’s camera bag. ”

There are a whole ton of photographers out there who do not use Lightroom, so if their editor of choice is not available, they won’t buy. Who wants to change their whole editing workflow? I know I don’t. We need to see a Capture One Pro app, and then there’s Luminar, ON1 (which, a mobile app is apparently is in the works), and many more that we need.

For Retouching

The new Apple iPad Air also needs to be able to get the most out of the Apple Pencil 2 so that fine detail editing is a piece of cake, and there will need to be a serious bump in processing power too. That bump in processing power needs to be able to support wired or wireless tethering that won’t make you pull your hair out. Hasselblads Phocus Mobile app supports this, but the iPads just aren’t powerful enough to make this feature shine. If Apple can work with companies like Adobe and Phase One, or even directly with major camera manufacturers to make wired or wireless tethering work seamlessly, the iPad would be a killer tool in a photographer’s camera bag.

Apple iPad Air

The iPad Air is and will continue to be a great media consumption device that can be used by creators in a pinch if needed, but it simply hasn’t been designed to be a workhorse, and I doubt that Apple will cannibalize it’s iPad Pro line. Could Apple surprise us and make it an affordable content creators’ dream? Sure, they could, and it would be refreshing to see, but I think we want too much from a device like this. 

It’s nice to fantasize about a new $500 tablet that can do it all, but I think we will need to keep on dreaming. The new Apple iPad Air (if even real) could launch early next year. If you want an Apple tablet that can do most of your heavy photo and video editing now, though, grab the latest iPad Pro, or get the last-gen version at a significant discount.