\r\n\r\nApple\u2019s new iPad Air hit stores on November 1, 2013. The new tablet boasts \u201ca ton of advanced technology\u201d in a slimmed design with 24-percent reduction in overall volume from previous models. In this article, we\u2019ll take a look at the best features of the iPad Air \u2013 most of them in comparison to the (non \u201cAir\u201d) iPad 2, but also how the 'Air' has improved upon the 3rd\u00a0and 4th\u00a0generation iPads that have been discontinued.\r\n\r\nFirst, let\u2019s mention a few characteristics Apple's iPad Air that may not be the tablet\u2019s best features, but are definitely things you want to know. The tablet is available in two colors: Silver and Space Gray. Battery usage is rated up to 10 hours per full charge on a smaller battery than in previous iPads.\u00a0And, the iPad Air comes with 90 days complimentary Apple technical support over the phone, and a one-year limited warranty on the device.\r\n\r\nIn terms of pricing, the iPad Air starts at $499 with 16GB storage. With Cellular connectivity (available from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon), the same model is priced quite a bit higher at $629. iPad Air is also available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB flash storage capacities. The priciest iPad Air is the 128GB model with Wi-Fi and Cellular listed at $929 US.\r\n1. Apple A7 System on a Chip\r\n\r\n\r\nThe iPad Air features Apple\u2019s newest A7 System on a Chip (SoC). The A7, also used in the iPad mini and iPhone 5s, is built on 64-bit architecture and performs roughly twice as fast and with twice the amount graphics power as the A6X used in the 4th-Generation iPad. The new Apple Cyclone Central Processing Unit (CPU) ranges from 1.3Ghz to 1.4Ghz, much faster than the 1Ghz ARM Cortex-A9 used in the 3rd-Generation and iPad 2. \u00a0The iPad Air also incorporates the M7 motion coprocessor to measure iPad motion using gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass data. The coprocessor was engineered for specific tasks to free up the A7 to perform other functions.\r\n2. Two-Antennas & MIMO Wireless Technology\r\nThe iPad Air features two built-in antennas and MIMO technology to improve bandwidth in wireless communications. MIMO, which stands for multiple-input and multiple-output, is rated with 2-times faster Wi-Fi than previous models. For cellular plans, the iPad Air supports more LTE bands than before (see data carriers mentioned in introduction above).\r\n3. Retina Display Resolution\r\n\r\n\r\nIf you\u2019re looking to upgrade your iPad 2 to the iPad Air, you\u2019ll be pleased to know the display is 2-times sharper. The iPad 2\u2019s display (pre-Retina) was fairly sharp for its time with a resolution of 1024x768 (132ppi). But the Retina display, introduced to the iPad line in the 3rd-Generation, boasts 2048x1536 (264ppi), exactly twice the resolution. One thing that hasn\u2019t changed though, is the size of the iPad display, which has remained the same at 9.7-inches (250mm) since the 1st iPad was released in 2010.\r\n4. Cameras\r\niPad Air\u2019s cameras remain the same as the 3rd and 4th-Generation iPad models, but are a huge improvement from the iPad 2. Instead of a back camera shooting video at a maximum of 720p and 960x720 still photos, the iPad Air back camera gives you 1080p video and 5 megapixel still photos. On the front or \u201cFaceTime\u201d camera, the iPad Air delivers 720p video and 1.2 megapixel photos. That\u2019s a big improvement over the VGA-resolution (640x480) photos and videos in the iPad 2.\r\n5. 24-Percent Less Overall Volume\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Apple iPad Air weighs just one pound -- almost half-a-pound less than the 4th generation iPad that weighs 1.44lbs. I\u2019ve never heard of anyone complaining about the weight of an iPad, but nevertheless it\u2019s an improvement that many users will appreciate. Besides the overall weight (which, by the way, can be quickly negated depending on what case you choose), the iPad Air is also 20-percent thinner than the 4th-gen\u00a0iPad, measuring just 0.29-inches (7.5mm) high.\r\nConclusion\r\nIf you waited to upgrade your iPad 2, the iPad Air will be a huge improvement. Essentially, you\u2019ll be getting a tablet that\u2019s twice as powerful. If you own a 3rd or 4th-Generation iPad, not so much. Besides getting a tablet that\u2019s half a pound lighter, and slight improvements in processing and graphics power, there isn\u2019t much more to boast about except the simple satisfaction you might get by telling everyone you\u2019ve got the iPad Air.