Not everybody gets to review the new Apple kit ahead of its launch but doing so meant I spent five days writing the iPad Air 2 piece. This was one of my favourite reviews to write, largely because the internal specifications had changed so much they demanded a greater attention to detail when it comes to benchmarking. I also wrecked a bathroom testing the slow-motion video features, and used several cats in the photographic tests.
My full review is live now on WIRED, which I scored ten-out-of-ten.
My photography of the new iPad Air 2 is presented below, shot mostly on a Canon 60D with 50mm f/1.4 L lens.
When I began this review 3,000 words ago, I wanted to determine whether the iPad Air 2 was as perfect in 2014 as the iPad Air was in 2013. The answer is yes. It has earned the same perfect score as its predecessor, making the iPad Air line the only two products to which we have ever awarded ten-out-of-ten. Its industrial design is a more refined version of the most accomplished iPad to date. Its power is so advanced, Apple will be onto the iPad Air 3 before most developers have even begun to be able to take advantage of the technology on offer. And its software has been baked so thoughtfully to work with OS X and the iPhone that there is serious benefit to owning all three -- no doubt Apple's intention of course, though it certainly isn't necessary to own any other Apple product to make the most of an iPad Air 2.
To do this for the same price as the original iPad Air is a remarkable achievement. For the hardware, slick operating system, range of apps on offer in the app store (nearly 700,000 for iPads alone at the time of writing), and the Apple-made bundled productivity apps, £399 is a bargain.
For many casual owners of an iPad Air, there's no single feature that would persuade us it's worth running out and replacing it immediately. Apple has kept that model on sale for a reason: it's still better than pretty much any other tablet out there. But what the iPad Air 2 offers is more potential to run the latest and greatest apps as they are developed, a significantly better camera experience, an even slicker design and gold colour option, stronger security options with the TouchID fingerprint sensor and an improved display. It would definitely be enough for us to warrant upgrading from the iPad 4 and older, as the Air really is a game-changer of a tablet line. But some soul searching will be needed to determine if there's enough value in security, photography and processing power to warrant the spend from a year-old generation to the new one.
The bottom line is this: the iPad Air was as close to perfect as we thought a tablet could be for 90 percent of users. The iPad Air 2 raises that to at least 95 percent.
I'm very pleased to announce I will become Editor in Chief of Ars Technica UK as it launches in Britain in 2015.
Please note: I will continue to be Editor of WIRED.co.uk and no changes are expected for that team or website, or the podcast.
Below is the official press release.
16th October 2014
Ars Technica will launch online in the UK in Spring 2015, it was announced today by Condé Nast Britain.
Nicholas Coleridge, President of Condé Nast International and Managing Director of Condé Nast Britain commented “Ars Technica is one of the world’s key technology brands, recognised for the breadth and depth of its technology journalism, insight, and ability to reach influencers, C-Suites, programmers and those who live and work on the leading edge of computing. For 16 years, it has been one of the hottest brands in the United States. We are delighted to bring it to Britain.”
Ars Technica – the name is Latin-derived for ‘the art of technology’ – will specialise in news and reviews, analysis of technology trends, and expert advice on everything from the fundamental to the inspirational. A leader in conversational media, the site will also offer a significant online community.
Ars Technica was founded in 1998, when Founder and Editor-in-Chief Ken Fisher announced his plans to start a publication devoted to technology that would cater to what he called ‘alpha geeks’: technologists and IT professionals. Ars Technica became a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, breakdowns of the latest scientific advancements, gadget reviews, software, hardware, and nearly everything else found in between layers of silicon. Acquired in 2008 by Advance, the parent company of Condé Nast, Ars Technica currently has offices in Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
Nate Lanxon, Editor of Wired.co.uk, will oversee editorial for the digitally native UK- based edition, with a dedicated Editor reporting to him, while sales will be overseen by the Commercial Director of Wired, who will be announced in due course. Founder and Editor-in-Chief Ken Fisher will oversee the brand experience, strategic planning, and technology. Albert Read, Deputy Managing Director of Condé Nast has special responsibility for the launch.
Condé Nast Britain is part of Condé Nast International. Condé Nast is a global media company producing the highest quality magazines, websites and digital content. Reaching more than 263 million consumers in 30 markets, the company’s portfolio includes many of the world’s most respected and influential media properties including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Brides, Self, GQ, Condé Nast Traveller/Traveler, Allure, Architectural Digest, Wired, W and Style. In addition to publishing 143 magazines and over 130 websites, the company operates a restaurant division and several ventures in education. The Condé Nast Entertainment division develops film, television and premium video programming. Please visit condenast.com and condenastinternational.com
It has been announced that I am judging this year's Talent Unleashed competition alongside Sir Richard Branson and other individuals, including Emma Mulqueeny and Mike Bracket.
The following comes from the official announcement.
"Leading global IT&T recruitment specialist, Talent International, welcome Nate to the panel of this year’s Talent Unleashed UK Awards. He will be judging entries alongside other tech icons such as Sir Richard Branson, and will help choose the most outstanding individual to send to the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship in South Africa this November."
The other judges for this year's award include:
Executive Director of Digital for the UK Government
Founder of Rewired State and Young Rewired State
Head of Channels in IT at Telefonica UK
Founded of Talent International
Disclosure: WIRED is also a partner for the event.
Conde Nast Traveller recently commissioned a column from me about how the Apple Watch may benefit travellers, as well as a wider look at potential use cases for the new technology.
You can read the full article on Conde Nast Traveller. An excerpt is below.
With the launch of Apple's first watch, Nate Lanxon muses on the possibilities for travellers now that wearable tech feels like it has finally arrived
It's a warm August evening in Barcelona as you step out of your hotel lobby onto the busy street beyond. Your wrist vibrates, you turn right and begin a ten-minute walk to that evening's choice of restaurant. You approach a junction; your wrist vibrates slightly differently, and so this time you take a left. Three more minutes, another vibration signals you to turn right. After a few hundred feet you're staring at the door of your chosen restaurant.
You slide your jacket sleeve up and the map on your Apple Watch, synced to the iPhone in your pocket, closes - it has completed its task. You've been guided using GPS and never once revealed to opportunistic onlookers that you had any doubts over your route that evening - or any valuable device navigating you.
This is one scenario Apple has predicted will become the norm. The Apple Watch - or "iWatch" to the rest of us - tells the time, but its usefulness as a timepiece is perhaps amongst the least of its uses. More useful to travellers, its integrated near-field communication sensor (NFC) can double as a contactless key to unlock hotel room doors once hotel chains sign up with Apple to support this feature. One group, Starwood Hotels, which operates 1,200 properties including W Hotels, St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton and more, has already jumped on board. That's the first nail in the hotel keycard's coffin already hammered.
You can read the full article on Conde Nast Traveller.
I offer you the warmest welcome it is possible for one to offer via the medium of a website. I could discuss at length the purpose of this blog, but suffice to say that would be pointless -- you know as well as I that I will blog on this blog.