Apple on Tuesday announced an update to its flagship iPad, which was unveiled at their highly anticipated media event. The all new iPad Air will technically be Apple’s 5th-generation full sized tablet, that features a new design with powerful specs.

Tim Cook took to the stage at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, to unveil new Apple products that included the iPad Air, and the second generation iPad mini.

iPad Air Features & Specs

Design: The new iPad Air has drastically slimmed down from 1.4lbs to 1lbs while retaining its 9.7-inch crystal clear Retina Display. At just 7.3 millimeters thin, it’s about 43 percent thinner than the previous model. The tablet will come in two color options of both space-gray/black, and silver/white.

Power: When it comes to speed and performance the iPad Air will borrow the same A7 chip found in the iPhone 5S. The 64-bit chip has over 1 billion transistors and has 56x the processing power. According to Apple, this can make some apps perform up to five times faster on the iPad Air.

Features: iOS 7 will be on board along with improved WiFi that supports MIMI (dual antennas). This translates to a whopping 300mbps when downloading over WiFi. 

Camera: Camera lovers may feel a bit sad as the 8MP camera from the iPhone did not land on the new iPad Air. Instead Apple gives us the same 5MP snapper from last year which supports 1080p high-definition video. Apple has included dual-mics for the first time for better video and audio recording too. The front camera will be the standard 1.2MP iSight camera found on the iPhone that does support 720p video capturing.

Price & Avialability

The iPad Air will just jump in the same pricing structure as last years iPad 4. The new tablet will start shipping November 1st, and comes in a variety of options (see below).

iPad mini 2

Design: The iPad mini will finally get that long awaited retina Display. It will feature a new 7-inch screen with a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution. In terms of length and width, the device will remain the same. However, due to the addition of the retina display, the tablet will see a bump up in weight (.68lbs to .73lbs).  The new mini will also get an increase in depth from .28-inches last year, to .29-inches this time around. The iPad mini 2 will come in two color options of both space-gray/black and silver/white.

Power: When it comes to speed and performance the iPad mini 2 will borrow the same A7 chip found in the iPhone 5S and the new iPad Air. The 64-bit chip will be slightly under clocked compared to the A7 chip in the iPad Air. Expect a big performance increase compared to last years model which only sported an A5 chip.

Features: The iPad Mini 2 will get all the same features found in the latest version of iOS, iOS 7. The device will still offer up 10 hours of battery life and improved MIM WiFi support (300mbps).

Camera: Apple will stick with the same camera setup from the current iPad mini as they elect to use a 5MP snapper again. Personally a better camera on the mini would make sense since it’s more portable than the 9.7″ iPad Air. Features like the 5-element lens, Hybrid IR filter and HDR photos are still on board from last year.

Price & Avialability

The iPad mini represents the first time an iOS product receives a price increase from Apple. The new tablet will jump up $70 in price and now start at $399 compared to the $330 from last year. With Retina displays said to be in short supply, the tablet is set for a late November launch, but I expect a very limited supply.

iPad 2 & iPad Mini

When Apple announces new products, older products typically get retired or priced down. When it comes to the full size iPad, Apple has elected to drop the fourth-generation model and keep the 2nd-gen model alive and kicking. The iPad 2 will stay around in the 16GB option for the same price of $399. It will also have a 3G option which will cost $529.

With the iPad mini 2 jumping up to $399, the current iPad mini drops to $299. Last years model will also come in a 4G option that will cost $429. Both 16GB versions of the iPad mini (1st-gen) are available now from Apple.


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