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Tech review: Is Apple's iPad Air 2 worth it?

Apple’s new flagship tablet fails to show any sort of spectacular innovation, rather disappointingly it essentially offers a slimmer, slightly more powerful upgrade to last year’s excellent iPad Air.

gadgets Updated: Oct 17, 2014 13:09 IST
Siladitya Ray

At a surprisingly low key event in Cupertino, Apple CEO Tim Cook asked on the stage; ‘how do you improve on the already excellent iPad Air’. It seemed for a moment as if he was teasing a spectacular overhaul, but disappointingly what followed was essentially a slimmer slightly more powerful upgrade to last year’s iPad, the iPad Air 2.

It’s very telling that in its presentation Apple chose to compare the Air 2 not to its direct predecessor but to the 4 year old iPad 1. More than anything else this explains why the tablet market is in doldrums, simply put, there is no reason for people to upgrade.

Cook reminded everyone that the first iPad Air is thinner than a pencil. The launch video of the iPad Air 2 followed. How thin was the Air 2? Three-fourths the thickness of a pencil, they clearly were clutching at straws here point. The investors weren’t very impressed either, Apple’s stock closed down $1.28, or 1.3%, at $96.26.

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That is not to say the iPad Air 2 is a bad tablet, far from it, the Air 2 is an upgrade to what was probably the best tablet in the market already. It is a very powerful and beautiful piece of hardware with an exceptional operating system (iOS 8) and a thriving App Store. The new camera upgrade is a nice touch, but it’s highly unlikely you will prefer this over your phone as your primary camera.

But one thing that has become apparent is that just like Google’s Android Lollipop the focus of the show and going forward Apple itself will be its software ecosystem, iOS and OSX. Everything from the iPhone, iPad, Watch and the Macs are now closely tied to each other in terms of functionality and design.

Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the new Apple product line-up during an event at Apple headquarters on Thursday. (AP Photo)

Apple wants you to be able to seamlessly switch between its devices, wherever and however you want. The cost of this convenience, just like with Google’s Android is once you pick a platform you are essentially tied to that ecosystem. Apple’s ultimate goal is to make you buy everything in its stable, from the tiny wearable ‘Apple Watch’ to the mammoth 27 inch iMac, the new iPad Air 2 seems to be simply a rung on that ladder.