The iPad Air moves to a 2-stream dual-band 802.11n solution, a sort of compromise between where the iPad was with its previous single-stream implementation and some of the newer devices shipping with 802.11ac. Moving to two spatial streams obviously helps improve performance tremendously. Peak performance on 5GHz 802.11n, assuming an equally capable AP, went as high as 180Mbps in my tests. I was able to average 168Mbps during our standard UDP WiFi test on 5GHz.

iPerf WiFi Performance - 5GHz 802.11n


Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s MDM9615 modem in the iPad Air, the big difference this round is there’s only a single SKU (A1475) for the cellular model covering a total of 34 countries across the Americas and EMEA. The LTE iPad Air supports a total of 14 LTE bands (1,2,3,4,5,7,8,13,17,18,19,20,25 and 26). In his usual awesome fashion, Brian speculated that the increased number of supported LTE bands was partially a function of moving to Qualcomm’s WTR1605L transceiver.

iPad Cellular Speeds
Property iPhone 3G/3GS/iPad 1 3G iPhone 4 / iPad 2 (GSM/UMTS) iPhone 4 / iPad 2 (CDMA) iPad 3 iPad 4/iPad Mini iPad Air/iPad Mini w/Retina
Baseband Infineon X-Gold 608 Infineon X-Gold 618 Qualcomm MDM6600 Qualcomm MDM9600 Qualcomm MDM9615 w/RTR8600 Qualcomm MDM9615
Max 3GPP Release Feature Release 5 Release 6 Release 7 Release 9 Release 9 Release 9
HSDPA Category Cat.8 - 7.2 Mbps Cat.8 - 7.2 Mbps N/A Cat. 24 - 42 Mbps Cat. 24 - 42 Mbps Cat. 24 - 42 Mbps
HSUPA Category None - 384 Kbps WCDMA only Cat.6 - 5.76 Mbps N/A Cat.6 - 5.76 Mbps Cat.6 - 5.76 Mbps Cat.6 - 5.76 Mbps
EVDO N/A N/A 1x/EVDO Rev.A 1x/EVDO Rev.A 1x/EVDO Rev.A 1x/EVDO Rev.A
LTE N/A N/A N/A 100/50 UE Cat. 3 100/50 UE Cat. 3 100/50 UE Cat. 3

From a spec and performance standpoint, the LTE modem in the iPad Air is no different than what was in the 4th generation iPad. Consistent cellular connectivity options remains one of the staples of the iPad lineup. Although WiFi tablets still tend to be the more popular, it’s hard to argue with the productivity benefit to having LTE on a tablet. Being able to just reach for the iPad Air and know it’ll have connectivity regardless of where I am, without having to search for and log in to a WiFi network, is tremendously convenient.

Just as before, there’s no contract commitment necessary to buy an LTE iPad Air. You can manage your account directly on the device itself. Furthermore, at least in the US, the LTE iPad Air isn’t locked to any one network operator. You specify what provider you’d like to go with at the time of purchase, but afterwards you’re able to swap in any other activated nano SIM from a supported network operator. You could feasibly start out with a Sprint iPad Air and later switch to a Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T SIM and continue using the device. The flexibility offered by a single SKU with support for a ton of bands is pretty awesome.


Camera Battery Life


View All Comments

  • jonjonjonj - Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - link

    but they are such an innovative company. look they released another iphone with a different size screen. Reply
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Kindle HDX actually uses magnesium unibody case. Reply
  • Kamus - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    It is really only a "more limited device" just because it is a much newer plataform. Not because Apple is a super-open platform. Also, it is not plastic, but magnesium. And its also 130 dollars cheaper... It wouldnt hurt to get your facts straight before you drop those "knowledge" bombs on us.
    I would have bought one right now if the App Store had more developer support.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    100% RGB gamut means nothing if the display isn't factory calibrated. Actually, it means highly oversaturated colors, as most content is designed for sRGB. Reply
  • Kamus - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Actually, 100% means it should fit the sRGB triangle perfectly. And the reason it does this, is in fact, because it IS factory calibrated. The amount of ignorance and bashing on the HDX is cringe inducing. All the info is right there on the amazon product page. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    100% color gamut and being properly calibrated are two completely different things. You have no idea what you're talking about. Reply
  • Kamus - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    No... They are not "completley different things". There is grayscale calibration and gamut calibration. If they claim 100% sRGB it suggests that they are gamut calibrated. And again, the reason that i said that the HDX is factory calibrated is because it says so right there on the Amazon product page. All you did is the same thing everyone else is doing by sprouting nonsense with out even bothering in doing any research at all. Reply
  • Boissez - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    One thing is marketing material an another thing is actual reality. By Ars Technicas measurements the HDX covers about 90% of sRGB - the iPad have been at 94% or over ever since the first retina iPad. Reply
  • youmenimum - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    pixel density alone is not a quality to consider. In real comparison kindle tablets are not good at display compared to iPad. which one are you using by the way? Reply
  • Kamus - Monday, November 4, 2013 - link

    It's been settled. The kindle fire HDX 8.9 has the best display on any tablet as of today:

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