As many predicted,the tech giants took the cover off their latest iDevice at a launch event held in San Francisco, showing off what they are calling the lightest full-size tablet in the world.
Yes you read that correctly; iPad Air weighs one pound. It is 20% thinner than the previous generation model, 28% lighter, and even has a bezel 43% narrower. And as well as crushing it’s predecessor with size, it also trumps it with it’s insides as well. Running off the A7 chip recently introduced in the iPhone 5S, and with 64-bit architecture inside, it is twice as powerful. And while we’re comparing, it is also 72 times faster than the original iPad. There is also the M7 coprocessor found in the 5S, measuring motion by collectinging data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass, and taking some responsibility away from the A7 chip.
Speaking of which, that A7 chip comes in handy for the battery life as well, with Apple claiming that it now offers 10 hours use on a single charge. Rather surprisingly, the A7 and M7 chips seem to be the only thing that has come over from the iPhone 5S, with the much-rumoured TouchID fingerprint scanner not introduced into the new tablet. And as with the other iPad models, it has a nice, shiny 9.7 inch screen. Oh, and this has retina display as well, bringing a 2048-by-1536 resolution and over 3.1 million pixels.
Elsewhere, there are the usual two cameras installed; a FaceTime HD camera mounted in the front for all your vide0-calling needs, and a 5MP iSight camera on the back capable of also recording 1080p HD video. And wireless connectivity has been given a boost as well, with the introduction of two antennas and MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) technology, giving you up to twice the Wi-Fi performance.
Apple also announced some accessories for the new iPad, with a Smart Cover and Smart Case being shown off, of course in a variety of colours. The Smart Cover is made from a single piece of polyurethane, and comes with a new hinge that fits the newly-thin design of the device. It also does the usual thing of waking up and putting to sleep the iPad, and also can be folded into different positions to assist with reading, viewing or typing.
The Smart Case is made from aniline-dyed leather and designed to offer protection to both the front and back of the iPad. Same as the Cover, it also offers multiple positions to fold into for use, and the ability to turn on the iPad or put it to sleep. After owning several iPads myself in the past, I always preferred a case to a cover, having that protection for the back of the device as well is good to have.
So, I hear you ask, what is this going to set me back, and when can I have it?
Availibility-wise, the iPad Air is available from November 1.
When it comes to prices, let’s break this down. First, the Wi-Fi-only device; A 16GB model will go for $499, 32GB will cost $599, a 64B version is priced at $699, and the huge 128GB model retails at $799. For Wi-Fi and cellular, add another $130 onto the price.
UK prices have not yet been confirmed by Apple, but they should be forthcoming shortly.