New iPad 8th-gen and iPad Air announced: A14 chip, new design, more features

The cheapest iPad gets a big speed boost, and the iPad Air gets a really funky new look

iPad Air
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has unveiled the new 8th-generation iPad (the cheapest version of the tablet) and a redesigned iPad Air at its latest event. The iPad is a simple power upgrade, but the iPad Air gets an all new look and features drawn from the iPad Pro.

2020 iPad vs iPad Air: the differences explained

The iPad 8th generation's price starts from just $329 / £329 / AU$499 for a 32GB model, or $429 / £429 / AU$649 for a 128GB model, and is available to order to order right now, for delivery on Friday September 18th.

Browse new iPad 8th gen at Apple US
Browse new iPad 8th-gen at Apple UK
Browse new iPad 8th-gen at Apple AU

The iPad Air price starts from $599 / £579 / AU$899 for 64GB, or 256GB for $749 / £729 / AU$1,129, which is higher than the previous model, which started from $499 / £479 / AU$779. The iPad Air release date is in October, which is… vague. You can take a look at the pricing now, but can't order as yet.

Browse iPad Air 2020 at Apple US
Browse iPad Air 2020 at Apple UK
Browse iPad Air 2020 at Apple AU

The iPad Air has the same slim-bezel design as the iPad Pro, but in a range of funky colours. The display is a 10.9-inch screen, matching the 11-inch iPad Pro. It has the wide P3 colour gamut, and True Tone, but not ProMotion 120Hz support.

Happily, it doesn't use the same Face ID unlocking as the iPad Pro, which we're not the biggest fans of – it uses Touch ID, integrated into the power button. Our only concern is that this may be less convenient when using a keyboard, but we'll withhold judgment. The iPad will now work with Apple's Magic Keyboard, adding full trackpad support.

iPad Air 2020

(Image credit: Apple)

The new iPad Air also supports the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil, which can magnetically connect to the frame, and charge wirelessly when you're not using it. It also includes USB-C connectivity, instead of Apple's Lightning connector, so it's more flexible for accessories.

Apple has also debuted its latest chip bound for the iPhone 12, the A14 Bionic, in the iPad Air. It's the world's first 5nm chip, meaning Apple can fit more electronics into the same space. The six-core design is 40% faster than the A12 chip in the previous iPad Air.

The cameras have been upgraded with higher-quality capture and stabilised 4K video on the rear 12MP cameras. The forward camera is 7MP. 

The new iPad Air doesn't have the same advanced four-speaker sound system as the iPad Pro, but it does have improved stereo speakers in landscape.

It comes in blue, green, gold, silver and black finished.

New iPad 8th-gen details

The iPad 8th generation is the new low-cost iPad, with a 10.2-inch screen. A12 Bionic chip – which was in the previous iPad Air. it's 40% faster processor and double the graphics power compared to what was in the cheapest iPad before.

Otherwise, it appears to be just the same – still the same design, and Apple didn't mention any improvement in the camera, though the new processor may mean it can take better shots due to more advanced processing.

More to come…

Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's former AV and Smart Home Editor (UK), master of all things audiovisual, overseeing our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also covered smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable. Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair. Matt now works for our sister title TechRadar.