What people hate about the iPad Air: review of reviews

Cherry picking the best, worst and silliest complaints by iPad Air reviewers
  • (Macworld U.K.)
  • — 28 October, 2013 10:55

Hate might be a strong word, but not everyone has showered Apple's new iPad Air with praise. In this second part of our iPad Air review of reviews, we've gathered the negative comments that the iPad Air has picked up since it was launched. Some of the complaints and criticisms are extremely astute... others aren't. (Catch up on everything that happened at the iPad Air launch event here)

iPad Air complaints: The name

Writing on The Verge, David Pierce was ambivalent about the new name.

"Where we're perhaps most confused about the Air is its naming," he writes. "There was a palpable tension in the room in San Francisco when the name change was revealed, as if an iPad Pro were imminent"

It's possible, of course, that Apple will launch an iPad Pro somewhere down the line, to match the Air/Pro division of its MacBook laptops, but we're probably getting ahead of ourselves here.

iPad Air complaints: Lack of surprises

A theme of some reviews was a general sense of having seen it all before - that none of the releases, including the iPad Air, were truly groundbreaking.

Mirror man Dan Silver quipped that "anyone expecting a reinvention of the iWheel was left disappointed but surely not surprised", although he conceded that "design guru Sir Jonathan Ive and his team have once again pulled off their party trick and made the utterly familiar utterly desirable".

iPad Air complaints: Lack of Touch ID

Some reviewers were disappointed by what The Verge called "a couple of surprising omissions", most obviously the Touch ID fingerprint sensor we saw on the iPhone 5s.

'Daily Star man Dave', in a review that's very favourable overall, did note grumpily that "fingerprint recognition is nowhere to be seen", adding in summary that "it's disappointing we didn't get Bond-style fingerprint technology."

Look out for Touch ID in the next James Bond outing, in which 007 has to log into his MI6 iPad as quickly as possible.

iPad Air: no Bond-style fingerprint technology

Tech Radar were also surprised by the omission, but didn't think it a dealbreaker: "There's no Touch ID - which is a surprise given that it's quickly become a nice feature of the iPhone 5S and the A7 chip can handle it - but it's not by any means critical, and we'll merrily take the reduction in size and weight," wrote Patrick Goss.

iPad Air complaints: Lack of colour options

Apple will be selling the iPad Air in two colour schemes: silver and white, and black and space grey - nice enough, but lacking the vibrancy of the new iPhone colours, which included bright blue, green and yellow for the iPhone 5c, and a snazzy gold for the iPhone 5s.

"Sadly, there's no golden iPad Air," mourned Daily Star Man Dave. "It's disappointing we didn't get a golden iPad."

iPad Air in silver and white...

...and in black and space grey. No green, yellow or gold on offer

iPad Air complaints: Lack of noticeable speed upgrade

The iPad Air is faster than its predecessor the iPad 4 on paper, but will users notice this in day-to-day use? Trusted Reviews didn't reckon so.

"The iPad Air is cleverer, faster and slimmer than the iPad 4, but will it feel completely different to use? Not a chance."

iPad Air vs iPad 4 comparison review: Is it worth upgrading from your iPad 4 to Apple's new iPad Air?

iPad Air complaints: Camera

Expert Reviews weren't overly impressed by the barely upgraded camera.

"Despite the A7 chip also having an image processor built in, you don't get the same camera modes [as on the iPhone 5s]. So there's no Slo-Mo mode on the iPad," the site noted. "This is likely to be down to the lower-quality 5-megapixel iSight camera on the iPad Air."

iPad Air complaints: Wireless limitations

We thought Apple might upgrade the iPad's wireless to the fast new 802.11ac standard, but no go, causing slight disappointment among our reviewers, although most were still broadly pleased by the changes Apple did make to the Air's wireless capabilities.

"Wireless has been upgraded, too, with the iPad Air now having a MIMO 802.11n (dual-band) chip," wrote David Ludlow on Expert Reviews. "This should help improve wireless speed and range, although 802.11ac would have been nice to see."

iPad Air complaints: Lack of a "smarter keyboard accessory"

Cnet writer Scott Stein had been hoping for what he called "Apple's answer to a tablet-laptop hybrid", and felt that a properly optimised, smart keyboard accessory was key to this.

"Apple used to have its own keyboard accessory when the iPad first debuted So, obviously, Apple's not opposed to keyboards and iPads. I don't even necessarily need a trackpad on my keyboard. But I do want a smarter keyboard accessory that elevates the iPad to a new level. That's what I hoped Apple would do for the iPad Air. It didn't happen."

Macworld nitpicker Mark Hattersley - playing Devil's advocate to some extent - did explore a similar idea in his article '5 features missing from the iPad Air':

"You'd think by now Apple would have made an update to the Apple iPad Keyboard," Mark wrote. "Maybe some kind of Smart Cover Keyboard (similar to the Microsoft Surface), or maybe a smaller, thinner separate keyboard. There are some great third-party options out there, but it'd be fantastic to see what Apple could come up with."

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David Price

Macworld U.K.
Topics: Apple, consumer electronics, iPhone, hardware systems, smartphones, tablets, iPad
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