As rumored and expected, Apple has officially unveiled the iPad Air successor at the "It's been way too long" event in Cupertino. The thinner and more powerful iPad Air 2 features a new processor and screen.
Before showing off the new iPad Air 2, Apple noted that the company managed to sell over 225 million iPad devices since they first launched in 2010. At 6.1mm the new iPad Air 2 is 18 percent thinner than the predecessor, which was enough for Apple to call it "the world's thinnest tablet". While the design has not significantly change, the new iPad Air 2 is still looking, well, like an iPad.
While the display size and resolution have not changed from 9.7-inch and 2048x1536, which add up to 264 ppi of pixel density, Apple claims that it managed to make the panel thinner by fusing three layers into one, which also resulted in more vivid colors and greater contrast. Apple also coated the display with some sort of anti-reflective coating, claiming that it is the least reflective display of any tablet in the world.
While the look has not changed, apart from obvious diet, the performance side of the new iPad Air 2 certainly did. As expected, Apple iPad Air 2 is based on a new 64-bit A8X SoC which, according to Apple, has 2.5x faster graphics and 40 percent faster GPU compared to its predecessor. The new SoC, paired up with a yet to be detailed battery, allow the iPad Air to keep going for 10 hours, which is the same as the predecessor. The new A8X SoC is also paired up with the M8 co-processor used mostly for sensors.
As expected, the new iPad Air 2 also got the Touch ID sensor which is crucial for Apple Pay, as well as a new 802.11ac dual-channel MIMO WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and 4G LTE connectivity. Apple also updated both cameras on the new iPad Air 2, so the rear one is now an 8-megapixel f/2.4 iSight camera capable of recording 1080p video (with 120fps slow motion recording), while the front one is now a FaceTime HD camera with f/2.2 aperture and a new sensor. The front camera now has improved face detection, has an ability to shoot burst mode selfies and HDR photos and videos.
According to Apple, iPad Air 2 pre-orders will start as of tomorrow, October 17th, while it should ship out and be available as of October 24th. The iPad Air 2 will be available in three color choices, silver, space grey and gold and the price starts at US $499 for the 16GB WiFi-only model, US $599 for the 64GB one and US $699 for the 128GB WiFi-only model. The same models will be available in 4G LTE versions but with a US $130 premium.