Apple’s latest press conference may not have feature any news on the iPhone front, but we did get some new hardware in the form of the Watch Series 6 and a newly refreshed iPad Air, the latter of which is quite interesting given the tech that it’s sporting.

During the pre-recorded virtual “Time Flies” press conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted how more than 50 percent of iPad users across the globe are actually new to the form factor, which means tablets are still big business for the Cupertino-based company.

As such the iPad Air could prove to be one of its most important pieces of hardware for the year.

So what is it packing?

Well first is a new design, with an all-screen design and reworked bezels to offer up a larger 10.9″ Liquid Retina (2360×1640) display. Added to this are a few new colour options, with a fresh version of Rose Gold, Green and Sky Blue now in the mix.

It also features a new generation of glass-based Touch ID sensor built into the power button that sits at the top of the iPad Air. There’s also a new 12MP camera on the rear, although we’re still not onboard with people using their tablets to take pictures over their smartphones, but that’s a discussion for another time.

One of the most important new elements on the 2020 flavour of iPad Air is the new A14 Bionic chipset that is powering things internally, with Apple tapping up a number of mobile app and game developers to tout the improvements it brings to the fore.

This 5nm design process is quite impressive on paper, with a hexa-core architecture that delivers 40 percent boost in CPU performance over the the previous generation of iPad Air. Added to this is a quad-core graphics setup that promises 30 percent better graphics too, with Apple claiming that the 16-core Neural Engine on the iPad Air being twice as fast as its predecessor.

As such it looks like Apple is aiming for this new tablet to be an option that consumers seriously consider over getting an everyday multitasking notebook. Whether that indeed happens is another question, but Apple is certainly touting the work-focused elements that this new device can offer.

The new iPad Air is expected in 30 countries next month, although which 30 precisely is yet to be known. US pricing for the new tablet starts at $599 (~R9 829) for the WiFi version and $729 (~R11 963) for the WiFi + Cellular model, with 64GB and 256GB flavours available.

South African pricing and availability are yet to be revealed at the time of writing.