Initial iPad Air benchmarks show 90% performance increase

iPad Air airplane game app

There were two recurring themes in the first round of iPad Air reviews that began hitting the web late last night: the tablet has substantially decreased in size (that includes weight, thickness, etc.), and dramatically increased in speed.

While we will probably have to wait until we go hands-on to really understand the former claim, the latter can be seen in initial benchmark testing. Early GeekBench results show the Air outperforming its predecessor by a huge margin…


AppleInsider points to a blog post from John Poole of performance analytics firm Primate Labs, who has compiled all of the GeekBench test results for the iPad Air. And as you can see in the chart above, its performance is very impressive.

Poole offers up some observations on the data:

  • The iPad Air’s A7 processor is running at 1.4 GHz, 100 MHz faster than the iPhone 5s’ A7 processor. It’s not clear if the iPad Air processor runs at a higher speed thanks to a larger battery (providing more power), a larger chassis (providing better cooling), or some combination of the two. I expect the new iPad mini’s A7 processor will run at 1.4 GHz as well.
  • The iPad Air is over 80% faster than the iPad (4th Generation), close to the 2x increase promised by Apple.
  • The iPad Air is over 5x faster than the iPad 2, yet is only $100 more expensive. I do not understand why Apple kept the iPad 2 around, especially at a $399 price point. What market are they targeting?

To address this last point, we’ve come to the conclusion that Apple is still selling the iPad 2 at $399 because people are still buying it. Data shows that the device accounted for over 20% of the company’s tablet sales during the last quarter.

Otherwise, we agree with everything here. Although we tend to give benchmark test results a bit of an asterisk, there’s no denying the fact that the iPad Air’s performance is a significant improvement over the fourth generation of the tablet.

The big question for us, though, is how well will this added performance translate into real-world usage. And to answer it, we’ll have to wait until the iPad Air goes on sale to the public on Friday. We can’t wait to get our hands on this thing.