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Tech announcements might have been accompanied by a little less fanfare than usual in 2020, but there have been some major improvements in the tablet world throughout the year.
From improved artificial intelligence to increased app support and cutting-edge processors, here are the biggest tablet announcements and improvements in 2020.
This year Apple refreshed its iPad line-up with a new Pro, a new iPad Air, and the release of the 8th generation ‘garden variety’ iPad.
And each offered refinements on the previous year.
Probably the biggest redesign was in the iPad Air 4, which received an overhaul, taking many of its design cues from the iPad Pro while packing some serious power into the new A14 bionic chip that drives it.
This resulted in increased power, efficiency and a 40 per cent faster CPU, while the new model also came with the welcome addition of USB-C.
Noticeably missing was 5G compatibility, which many had hoped for. That came a little later to the Apple stable, with the iPhone 12 finally offering this feature.
Released at WWDC in September, the iPad 8th generation offered a general upgrade on the previous version, with speed and efficiency improved courtesy of the A12 bionic processors.
It still ranks as the most affordable of the iPad models, with Apple targeting this squarely at the general use and education sector.
Back in March, Apple also revealed its latest iPad Pro, which came with improvements to power and performance with the inclusion of the A12Z bionic chip, but was basically a slight upgrade on the major overhaul announced in 2018.
The area that received arguably the most attention was the camera array where a LIDAR scanner is now included.
The scanner uses reflected light to measure the distance of objects up to five meters away in literally a fraction of a second and is touted by Apple as opening up tremendous possibilities for augmented reality and beyond.
Indeed, AR was a major focus of this latest model.
At the time of release Apple noted: “On the new iPad Pro, AR apps become even more realistic” while they also claimed “placing an AR object now happens instantly” and “developers will be able to create even more immersive experiences”.
Samsung revealed two major tablet upgrades this year, delivering their flagship Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 at the Unpacked event in August, and later unveiling the budget friendly Samsung Galaxy Tab A7.
Available in two versions (the S7 and the S7+), Samsung’s latest high-spec tablets enjoyed a warm welcome when they hit the market, with commentators labelling the latest offering an “alternative to the iPad” and “one of the best Android tablets” currently available.
The latest models delivered a display that was described as gorgeous, and the fastest Android processors currently available, which led many to note they would give Apple iPad a run for its money.
A few months after the S7, Samsung quietly unveiled its budget-friendly A7 tablet. Although it doesn’t pack the high-specs of the S-Range, this year’s A7 includes a quality build, 10.4-inch screen, and a definite focus on entertainment.
It is powered by an Octa Core processor and Qualcomm chipset, and offers 3GB of RAM with the option of either 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage in addition to a MicroSD card slot that expands storage up to 1TB.
Microsoft’s been a little quiet on the release front in 2020, but many tip that will change in the coming weeks.
So far, they have released the Microsoft Surface Go 2 back in May and the Microsoft Surface Pro X in late October, but there’s still hope the Surface Pro 8 will also be unveiled prior to the end of the year.
When Microsoft launched the Go back in 2018, they knew they were onto a winner. Here was a device that packed in all the best features of the Pro, but with a much more affordable price tag.
2020 delivered the first upgrade to the Go range, with Microsoft rolling out the Surface Go 2 back in May.
In terms of upgrades, this year’s Go offered a 10.5-inch screen size, which was slightly larger than its predecessor along with an increase in screen resolution.
They maintained the features that many love about the device including USB-C, which allows the Go to easily connect with other devices, including cameras.
As the Pro X was only first launched last year, it received a small upgrade to focus on performance.
Inside, Microsoft included the updated Microsoft SQ2 processor, but also turned their attention to ARM app support, which allows Windows devices to run a whole lot more apps.
In a normal year, we would have expected to see the latest version of the Surface Pro unveiled in October. But, 2020 hasn’t been a normal year and all the tech co’s are experiencing disruption to the development and supply chains.
Many still hope the Surface Pro 8 will be announced before the end of the year, and tip it will come with improvements like an upgraded chip, a Thunderbolt 3 charging port, and improved battery life.
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