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

  • doobydoo - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    The hardware in the HDX is slower, and it is finished in plastic. So which part was inaccurate? Reply
  • melgross - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    There is no such thing as 100% RGB gamut. Which gamut are you talking about? sRGB? Adobe 1998 RGB? Pro RGB? There are a lot of RGB standards out there. Reply
  • Theard - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    what Cindy implied I didn't even know that people can earn $6894 in four weeks on the computer. look at this site ... j­­o­bs­2­3.c­o­m Reply
  • Lizbeth - Sunday, November 3, 2013 - link

    and is several price points less that the ipad air Reply
  • Krysto - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    > is probably the higher clocked Z3770

    I don't see that in any tablets today, let alone smartphones. So don't say it like that, as if it's already happened. As it is, Intel's chips aren't very competitive, in both CPU and GPU performance.

    > while Qualcomm will probably pass Apple's GPU early next year.

    They are equal right now, at least in smartphones. The others, perhaps with the exception of Nvidia, don't really make separate "tablet chips". They make one chip for both smartphones and tablets.
  • Speedfriend - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    "As it is, Intel's chips aren't very competitive, in both CPU"

    You obviously have a problem reading, given the Transformer T100 which is very close to the iPhone 5S and iPad Air in the benchmarks above, uses the Atom Z3740, which is only the second fastest. So the Z3770, which is clocked 33% higher, should be at least equal if not better than A7 in CPU benchmarks.

    How in your mind that equates to not competitive I don't know..
  • Homeles - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Not to mention that a lot of A7's strength isn't in the silicon, it's in the software stack on top of it. All of the CPU benchmarks are done through the stock web browser -- that's something Apple can fine tune, while Intel cannot. Therefore, the A7 outperforming Atom doesn't point to Atom being weaker at a silicon level, and instead shows the advantages of being able to hand tune your OS and applications and squeeze more out of your hardware. Reply
  • raptorious - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    I'll give you one reason: the fact that Anand omitted the iPad 4 from the latency graph in the "An Update on Apple’s A7: It's Better Than I Thought" page. Why is the iPad 4 in the bandwidth graph and not in the latency graph. I'll tell you why: because the iPad 4 has better latency and Anand doesn't want to make the A7 look bad, so he left it out. No bias? Right. Reply
  • syedjalalt - Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - link

    Apple iPad is a great product. No doubt. The word selection for writing such important reviews has been good here. IF you go The Verge and see the iPad review, you will notice how biased and predictable they have become. Nilay Patel doesn't know anything. The guys @verge always mock Android and especially Samsung.

    Last year's Nexus 4's review score had 8 for camera and 9 for ecosystem(as far as I remember). This year, ecosystem is 8 and camera is 5. Great!!!1
  • doobydoo - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    Yep it's ridiculous that the Nexus 4 got 8 for camera. Should have been 3/4.

    Ecosystem scores can vary over time so don't see the problem there. Android hasn't moved on much in the past year.

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