FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS some critics have accused Apple of losing its creative edge. These claims specifically targeted Apple's iPad series of tablets, with many claiming that, aside from releasing an under specified mini version of the iOS tablet, the California company's 2013 offering was woefully boring.
This was especially true considering the bold strides Google was making into the tablet market at the time by releasing its Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 Android tablets. One year on, Apple seems to have answered its critics by releasing what many have taken to be its most innovative tablet to date, the iPad Air. However, with many users now firmly embedded in the Android ecosystem, some have continued to question whether the iPad Air is enough to halt Google's offensive into the tablet market.
Design and build
For the past few years Apple has chosen to not radically change the design of its iPad. This meant that when it was first released, the Nexus 10 was a breath of fresh air design-wise. This was because the slightly curved, entirely black 10in tablet was intentionally made to look as different as possible from the glossy white or black and metal iPad.
Looking to update a design that was becoming slightly stale, Apple went back to the drawing board with the iPad Air, designing it from the ground up to be as "light and alluring" as its Macbook Air series of laptops. This means that, despite having a similarly sized display to the Nexus 10, the iPad Air is smaller, lighter and thinner, measuring 240x170x7.5mm and weighing a modest 469g. The measurements make the 264x177x8.9mm and 603g Nexus seem a little tubby, although the Nexus 10 is still comfortable to hold and still feels like a top-end device.
We also found that the Nexus 10's slightly rubberised chassis is slightly more scratch and mark resistant than the iPad Air's metal backplate, which has a tendency to pick up scratches and is a magnet for fingerprints. But overall the iPad Air's thin and light design has to take the round.
Winner: iPad Air
Next: Display, operating system and software.