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Is 6.1mm Needlessly Thin?

Maybe there are better uses for that space?

Michael Cruickshank
Is 6.1mm Needlessly Thin?© 2018 Apple

By all accounts the new Apple iPad Air 2 is a very good device. It combines everything people loved about the previous, and highly successful iPad Air, and adds new functionality such as Touch ID and Apple Pay. In addition it features new, more powerful processors, and improved camera optics. This aside, the most important change from the previous version of the device is the thinness.

At just 6.1mm thin, the Apple iPad Air 2, is one of the thinnest tablets on the market. But is there such a thing as too thin?

Image: © 2014 Apple

Perhaps the best way to tackle this question would be, what would a thicker tablet been able to include, that the new iPad Air 2 can not? The best use of this space would likely be a bigger battery pack. Consistently, polls have shown that the number one feature that users want improved in their devices is battery life, and having a long-life tablet would definitely be a larger selling point for Apple.

In addition, the space could have been used to include not just a lower-reflectivity display, but also a higher-resolution one too. Competing devices, such as the Nexus 9 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 have somewhat higher resolutions and pixel densities. Should the iPad Air 2 have been able to best these devices in these fields, then this as well could have been the device’s selling point.

Image: © 2014 Apple

But instead Apple chose to go with thinness. This was probably done for two reasons. Firstly, a form factor difference is most easily noticeable to consumers, and would clearly differentiate the iPad Air 2 from competitors. Secondly, the company probably made the decision that performance or resolution increases would be more difficult to market to less tech-savvy consumers.

What will be interesting to see, is if competitors follow Apple’s lead in building every smaller tablets, or rather try and up the specs while keeping roughly the same product size.  



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