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The news about Apple's new A7 chip for the iPad Air just seems to keep getting better and better. According to benchmark tests performed by Geekbench (and reported by Cult of Mac), the new 64-bit chip allows Apple's newest tablet to reach 80 percent performance boosts over fourth generation iPad.
According to Geekbench's scoring system, the iPad Air attained a score of 1,465 in the single-core test compared to the iPad 4's 771. Those gains were similar for multi-core tests, as the iPad Air reached a score of 2,643 compared to the 1,408 attainable by the fourth-generation iPad.
As you can see from the graph above, that continues a trend in performance enhancements we've seen following the 4th generation iPad's release. The fourth generation iPad was already significantly faster than the iPad 2, but the lightweight iPad Air blows all of the previous models out of the way.
For actual numbers, Geekbench clocked the iPad Air's processor at 1.4GHZ, which allows it to attain an edge over even the iPad 5s' similar chip by 100MHz. If that seems odd considering the similarities of the chips, Cult of Mac notes that it's likely because Apple allowed the chip to perform better on the iPad owing to the device's larger battery.
However you look at these performance numbers, they makes Apple's widely criticized decision to keep the iPad 2 at $399 all the more bizarre. It may be $100 less than the iPad Air, sure, but since you're sacrificing whopping gains in performance, a Retina display, and comfort in the form of the Air's lighter model, you're also making a significantly poorer investment for the price.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.