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Last week Apple unveiled the iPad Air 2, and the reviews are out: it's great, but not revolutionary.
Re/code's Walt Mossberg, one of the world's most influential technology columnists, was impressed with the iPad Air 2 but disappointed with how similar it is to its predecessor. Mossberg also noted that the iPad Air 2 has a weaker battery than its predecessor:
In fact, in one key metric, battery life, the Air 2 actually regressed from the original Air. In my tough battery test, it lasted 10 hours and 37 minutes, exceeding Apple's 10-hour claim. That's quite good, better than most other tablets. But in 2013, the original iPad Air turned in the best tablet battery life I've ever seen on my test: 12 hours and 13 minutes - about 90 minutes longer. And earlier this year, Samsung's latest similar-sized slate, the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, lasted 11 hours and 14 minutes in the same test.
TechCrunch called the Air 2 "the best tablet available" because of its A8X processor:
The new iPad Air is unique among Apple's lineup of products in offering the A8X processor, an enhanced version of the chip that Apple released in September to power the new iPhone lineup. The A8X uses Apple's second-generation 64-bit mobile architecture, and improves CPU performance by up to 40 percent over the speed of the A7. Graphics performance is improved by a factor of 2.5, and with the help of Apple's Metal game development technology, the company says this can result in unparalleled application performance when working with advanced visuals.
The Verge had a more negative outlook, saying the iPad Air 2 was "mostly just thinner."
"It's not Apple's best product; it's not the company's most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price," wrote Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel.
Patel said Apple has become complacent with its position in the tablet market:
I said it in last year's iPad Air review and I'll say it again: it feels like Apple is so content with its commanding lead in the tablet market that it's willing to let the iPad's superlative hardware sell itself instead of figuring out new places for it to go. For better or worse, Apple's allowed the iPad to become the giant iPhone its critics have always insisted that it is, and in a world with giant iPhones that's a tough spot to be in.
To be sure, no one is calling the iPad Air 2 a bad tablet. But Apple has set the bar so high with the iPhone that consumers have begun to expect every Apple product to revolutionize their lives.
The iPad Air 2, however, is a small jump forward, not a monumental leap. And it shows in the reviews.