Product of the Week: iPad Air

It doesn’t really matter what Apple launched this week.

We could talk about the five separate press releases that heralded the arrival of new iWork and iLife apps, a new Mac Pro and MacBook Pro with Retina display, a new operation system (OS X Mavericks) and the iPad Air.

We could talk about the fact that the iPad Air is 28 per cent lighter than its predecessor and 20 per cent thinner, both impressive improvements in design. We could talk about the Retina display that sits within a thinner bezel, or the A7 chip that delivers twice the CPU and graphics performance.

We could even talk about the fact that it’s being promoted with the tagline, “The power of lightness” — one of the more Zoolander-esque quotes we’ve seen in recent years that perfectly encapsulates Apple’s advertising ethos.

But all of this is ultimately irrelevant for retailers. The iPad Air is exciting for two reasons.

Firstly, despite the rise of Android, Apple still has seriously cultural cache and pulling power. A new Apple product brings people into stores — whether they’re die-hard early adopters who are willing to queue for new technology, or tire kickers who just want to see what the fuss is about — and that increase in foot traffic is great for electrical stores. They come for the iPad, but they stay for the myriad other products that are on display around the store.

That brings us to the second point: a new Apple product release brings with it new accessories. New covers for the iPhone or iPad, new speaker docks, laptop bags, Bluetooth keyboards and more — third party suppliers get in on the action, which in turn gives retailers more exciting new products to sell and stunningly simple add-on sales to offer to consumers. Within a few hours of the iPad Air announcement, Kensington and Belkin had both begun talking up their matching accessories and many more will no doubt follow.

So kudos to Apple. While Steve Jobs is no longer there to get the audience stretching their turtle-necks to catch a glimpse of the latest product, the brand still has street cred.

The iPad Air is available in Space Grey (pictured) or Silver from next Friday, 1 November. Wi-Fi only models will be available for RRP AUD $598 (16GB), RRP $699 (32GB), RRP $799 (64GB) and RRP $899 (128GB). Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for RRP $749 (16GB), RRP $849 (32GB), RRP $949 (64GB) and RRP $1,049 (128GB).

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