For all those saying Apple is going down the gutter, they should take a look at how much market share they have on the tablet side of the ocean, before throwing their stocks in other Android partners.

The iPad Air is Apple’s fifth generation full sized tablet and comes with a cool new redesign, similar to the iPad Mini. The new tablet also comes packed with the latest version of iOS and new components stripped from the iPhone 5S.

Design

The iPad Air is the first major overhaul on the design since the iPad 2, Apple’s legacy tablet they are still selling for a steep $399. The design is not new in the sense Apple has just came up with the machined curved sides and new aluminium finishes, it is exactly the same as the iPad Mini, but with the color options on the iPhone 5S.

There is a lot of coherence with the iPad Mini and iPhone 5S design on the new iPad Air. The camera lens, the smaller bezels and the thin, light design echoes the iPad Mini and the color choices echoes the iPhone 5S, apart from gold, sold exclusively on the iPhone 5S.

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In terms of quality the iPad Air really is in a league of its own, the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX and Galaxy Note 10.1 just cannot stand up to the aluminium tablet, making plastic look and feel like the most degraded material in the world. The iPad Air is also incredibly light, to the point many are saying users need to try it out just to experience the “air” feel.

Display on the iPad Air stays the same, Apple is not quitting on the Retina Display. This is still a high performer with 2048 x 1536 resolution, but it is beat by the Galaxy Note 10.1 and Nexus 10 2560 x 1600 display, although the difference is minimal and the iPad Air still wins in certain areas like text reproduction and touch performance.

Performance

Apple has wedged the new A7 processor into the iPad Air and while this is not the fastest or biggest mobile processor in the world, it is the first 64bit processor, capable of so much more power and performance.

App developers have not yet taken full advantage of the 64bit architecture, but a few games like Infinity Blade 3 take full advantage of the new size and design. This may be one of the first years mobile gaming may actually have some great titles that can make it seem more than just cow-clickers and the iPad Air is one of the most perfect ways to experience these tablet games.

The iPad Air is no slow coach and never has been, the speeds even on multitasking are tremendous and we never see any lag on Apple’s newest tablet, apart from the minor hiccups some applications have – this is more bugs on iOS7 than Apple’s A7 chip performance hiccups.

Battery life on Apple’s iPad Air is decent but we would not give it an all 5 star rating, the tablet will definitely not last a day if the only thing you do is play games and HD movies, but it can last a full day on average usage.

We long for something better from Apple, something half as good as what the Kindle offers. We know the limitations of making an OLED display last as long as an E-Ink or even half as long, but it would be an amazing experience to only have to charge the iPad Air maybe once a week, instead of everyday.

Software

This is the first iPad to come with iOS7, Apple’s new design overhaul for their mobile operating system. Many complained about the stale design of iOS, fitted with a ton of skeuomorphism, the latest update strips the operating system bare, leaving behind a flat design with a ton of gradient, color and small animation.

Reviews for iOS7 have been mixed, some love the new design, icons, UI and animation, others find them intrusive, annoying and ugly. The user will be the end voice but the more you use iOS the more it becomes normal. The one second animations become part of the day-to-day and the OS starts to become what you look at everyday and begin to enjoy using.

Apple has added a whole bundle of new features on iOS7, including Control Center to manage all the important features on an iPhone, multitasking similar to how Windows Phone works, automatic app updates and iTunes Radio, a new free music streaming alternative.

iLife, iWork

Apple is also in the process of making all their applications and operating system updates free from now on, in an attempt to get more users engaged in their products but also to make competitors like Microsoft and Google have a harder time engaging the iOS/Mac OS audience.

iLife and iWork, the two productivity and creativity suites for iOS, are now free with any new iPad or iPhone purchase. This includes the iPad Air and the new applications look incredible on the tablet.

There are still some design inconsistencies on Apple’s first party apps, iBooks still has the bookshelf iOS6 look and needs to be redesigned and some apps in iLife and iWork need to be redesigned for iOS7.

Overall

When we look at the 10-inch tablet landscape, apart from the iPad all the Android and Windows offerings seem a little jargon, uncompelling and most importantly do not deliver the full experience of impressive design, powerful software and a huge ecosystem of third party apps, three key features for a successful tablet. The iPad Air is definitely the best 10-inch tablet out right now and may be the best tablet in any size, the only other major competitor being Apple’s smaller iPad Mini.