24 Hours with an iPad Air 2

The new iPad Air 2

With all the new innovations going into new tablet hardware, we run new devices through a series of tests before we say that it is a supported tablet for VentusAR. There are several stages to this:

  • we mount it on a tripod and check that everything from the 3D world is correct size according to the camera
  • we play with it intensively for a few hours to check it manages its memory properly
  • we try fitting the wireline to the camera feed to ensure that it fits correctly
  • we take it out on site and ensure that it aligns correctly against a built set of turbines of known size and location

We’ve had an iPad Air 2 for 24 hours now, so I thought I would write about some first impressions of it. Two thing immediately jump out at me – its overall size & thickness and the quality of the screen.

It’s Very Light and Thin

Apples marketing text describes this as 18% thinner and about 40g lighter than the iPad Air. I didn’t particularly notice the weight – I think all iPads are light enough weight to be carried anywhere and everywhere, but the thinness really struck me. We use our iPad 4s and iPad Airs in cases so this felt really thin on its own. I might revise my opinion when the cases for this new iPad become available, but it is an impressively slight device.

The Screen is Less Reflective

The screen is the same size as the iPad Air (2048×1536 pixels), so it looks the same, however the thing you notice is that there is less glare reflected in the screen. I set up an iPad Air and iPad Air 2 next to each other on my desk and took a photograph of the light reflection. There is less intensity to the florescent lighting reflected, so I am hopeful that this will be better at reducing glare in the field (I just need a bright sunny day to test it on – I think the next one due for Scotland is in March so I’ll know by then).

iPad Air left (white), iPad Air 2 right (black)

iPad Air left (white), iPad Air 2 right (black)

Under the Hood Changes

This supposedly has a faster processor (the A8X chip instead of the A7) which includes a faster motion coprocessor (M8 instead of M7), an improved gyroscope and accelerometer and improved CPU and graphic performance. Unfortunately the apple website doesn’t provide figures – the 180% faster performance quoted could be comparing the iPad Air 2 to the original iPad, not the iPad Air?

CPU & Graphics Performance - from https://www.apple.com/ipad-air-2/performance/

CPU & Graphics Performance – from https://www.apple.com/ipad-air-2/performance/

Interestingly it has an additional sensor – the barometer. I wonder how we can use that in VentusAR to help make things more accurate?  Or just help to forecast the weather!

Watch this space for more news on when the iPad Air 2 becomes supported by VentusAR.