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.