Apple’s newest iPad, dubbed the iPad Air, is in stores now. If you didn’t bother to wait in line, that’s totally fine.
It looks like Apple has the supply situation well-covered for the iPad Air. You can order online and pick it up today at your nearest Apple Store (see the “Check availability” link in the right sidebar of Apple’s online store). You can also have the iPad delivered to you on Monday.
I checked a handful of zip codes around the country and saw hardly any availability issues. With home shipping, every single model is scheduled to arrive on Monday.
The iPad Air has the same 9.7-inch screen as its predecessors, but is much thinner and lighter, with a weight of one pound and thickness of 0.29 inches. It also has a narrower border when held in portrait mode, and it has a faster A7 processor. Pricing is unchanged from previous years, starting at $500 with 16 GB of storage, and $630 with 4G LTE connectivity. My colleague, Harry McCracken, gave it a great review.
Still, you may want to wait until later this month, when Apple will launch a new iPad Mini. The 7.9-inch tablet, priced at $400 and up, is actually a tiny bit thicker and heavier than last year’s model, but it has a Retina display and the same A7 chip as the iPad Air. Apple’s larger iPad Air is good for video, or for light consumption tasks like editing in iMovie, making music in GarageBand or typing on a Bluetooth keyboard. The iPad Mini is a good fit for reading and playing games.
It’s unclear, however, how well-stocked the new iPad Mini will be. There have been murmurs about supply issues, and the fact that Apple hasn’t given a firm release date suggests that it’s a fluid situation. So while you should be able to waltz into any Apple store right now and snag an iPad Air, being the first to get an iPad Mini might require more dedication.