There is no doubt that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has dominated the tablet market since it first became popular. This is succinctly illustrated by the fact that the world’s most successful producer of consumer electronics devices have managed to sell over 200 million iPads worldwide.

It has seemed for a long time that there has been no significant competitor in the marketplace for the iconic Apple iPad. Those two significant manufacturers have teamed up to produce a device that they hope will at least eat into Apple’s market share to some extent.

The Nexus 9 has been developed as part of a collaboration between Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) and HTC. It seems that the former wished to draw up on the experience of the latter, while HTC will certainly benefit from the clout of Google given the fact that its previous devices have been critically acclaimed but relatively weak sellers.

Of course, the device is up against the iPad Air 2, which has received outstanding reviews ever since it was released. Google and HTC have done everything within their power to ensure that the Nexus 9 is capable of standing up to the might of the iPad. Let’s assess how successful they have been.

Apple iPad Air 2 vs Google Nexus 9

Apple iPad Air 2

Display

The display is an important part of any mobile device, but for tablet computers it is particularly significant. Most people buy tablets in order to have a more mobile form of computer that can still be used for everyday tasks such as watching videos. There is a real entertainment focus with tablets, and a poor screen can be the nail in the coffin of any tablet computer.

Both the Nexus 9 and iPad Air 2 have very much taken this into consideration. The quality of both screens is extremely similar, with the Nexus 9 being based around a 2,048 x 1,536 2K QHD Gorilla Glass 3 display. This ensures that the device features a pixel density of 287 per inch. The resolution of the iPad Air 2 is identical to that of the Nexus 9, but the larger screen means that its pixel density is slightly inferior. Apple’s tablet amounts to a pixel density of 264 ppi.

Perhaps the Apple model has a slight edge, though, due to the anti-reflective coating included in the iPad, which Apple claims reduces reflections on the display by 56 percent.

Design

It is tough to challenge the verdict that the iPad Air 2 is the worlds most attractive tablet. What can be said for certain is that it is the world’s thinnest tablet. However, the iPad Air 2 is also ten grams heavier than its Nexus 9 competitor. One would have to say overall, though, that the iPad Air 2 remains the genre-defining tablet, and this can largely be attributed to the outstanding design parameters that Apple has included in this hugely popular tablet.

Google Nexus 9

Apple Pay and Google Wallet

One of the biggest selling points of the recent range of Apple products has been the introduction of Apple Pay. This payment system is expected to become extremely significant in the coming years, as mobile payments become a more important part of the economy. Indeed, some of the more extreme estimates regarding this technology suggest that mobile payments will completely replaced cash and credit cards as soon as 2020.

Effectively, Apple Pay enables people to pay for goods and services online via the iPad Air 2 TouchID function. Consumers’ credit card information is stored inside of the Passbook. Apple has also chosen not to include NFC technology in the iPad Air 2, which would seem to be a sensible decision given the relatively unwieldy nature of tablets in comparison to smartphones.

Google hasn’t really created the same level of buzz that Apple Pay has received with its Wallet system. Google may very well believe that this is largely due to the fact that Apple simply has a huge amount of fashion cachet and street cred, but there are functionality issues as well.

Apple was very wise in its decision to perfect the Apple Pay technology before implementing it and utilizing it within a mobile device. Even regular Android users have been forced to admit that at this point in time the Apple a software is considerably more polished than its Google Wallet competitor.

Secondly, the authoriation of payments via the TouchID fingerprint scanner adds a much appreciated second layer of security to the device for which Google currently has no direct equivalent.

Finally, Apple has moved very swiftly to agree deals with banks and major retail outlets. This ensures that its new service is already more relevant for consumers than Google Wallet. Leading banks such as Mastercard, Visa and American Express, as well as retailers and restaurants like Nike, all support the technology, while there are a further 500 minor banks that are ready to support Apple Pay.

Google will not consider itself beaten at this early juncture, but there has been little news about Google Wallet lately, and it must be said that the already hugely powerful Apple has a major head start in the mobile payment department.

Performance

Despite being a market-leading and critically acclaimed smartphone, the iPhone 6 often trails behind competitors in pure spec terms. The same cannot be said of the iPad Air 2, with almost every element of the tablet standing up strongly to its Nexus 9 competitor.

The new A8X processor makes this an extremely powerful tablet, and when this is coupled with the legendary slickness of Apple’s user-interface and software, it is not surprising that using the iPad Air 2 provides a fantastic user experience.

Apple’s iPad Air 2 also has a better battery life than the Nexus 9 and a superior quality camera. A few of the specs related to the devices point in the direction of the Google and HTC produced device, but overall the iPad Air 2 strongly cements Apple’s position at the head of the tablet market, and it is certainly the premium device for consumers to opt for.