As expected by almost everyone in the tech scene, Apple took the wraps off its new iPads at its official unveiling event today. The second generation iPad Air is undoubtedly the star of the show as Apple updated what we believe to be its finest tablet yet.
The second generation Air comes equipped with the usual 9.7-inch Multi-Touch Retina IPS LCD display, boating a resolution of 1536 x 2048, giving it a pixel density of 264ppi. Its design is also very familiar in that very little (if anything) has changed on the aesthetics side since last year’s model was announced. In typical Apple style, it’s been made even thinner than the last one, shaving it down to just 6.1mm thin. 18% thinner than the first iPad Air, giving it the crown of “The World’s Thinnest Tablet”.
Factoid: Two stacked on top of each other is still thinner than the original iPad.
To make it thinner, the display has been made slimmer to make the graphics closer to the surface, it’s clearer and sharper too. It’s also got an anti-reflective coating, 56% less reflection from the screen.
Among the most notable differences is the Touch ID-equipped home button. Like that on the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, users will be able to unlock their device and authorize purchases from the App Store using their fingerprint. But with iOS 8 and some compatible third party apps, buyers will also be able to unlock passwords and authorize PayPal payments. We’ll be able to use the new iPads for online purchasing with Apple Pay too, using the TouchID sensor. No NFC-enabled retail purchases, though.
Apple’s new A8X chip powers the iPad Air 2 which boosts performance in every measurable way. It’s 180x faster than the first generation iPad. So if you thought your first iPad Air was quick, iPad Air 2 will be something else. It partners with the new M8 co-processor to measure motion and relative elevation.
One mainstay of the iPad feature-list has been its battery life. Ever since 1st gen was announced in 2010, Apple’s made a big deal about the tablet lasting 10 hours of use, getting you through an entire day of use on a single charge. And the same is true of the 2nd generation iPad Air.
The built-in iSight camera has been improved too. People can take great pictures thanks to the large display, it’s easier to get a good shot. It’s an 8MP camera with 1.12 micron pixels with f/2.4 aperture and full HD video. But it’s the image processing done by the A8X that makes the images look great. You can also take panoramas for the first time, up to 43 megapixels in total, and we get Burst Mode for the first time on iPad too. Timelapse and Slo-mo videos are added as well. They’ve added an extra mic for audio recording. Front facing has burst selfies, HDR and other improvements.
Wi-Fi and LTE has been boosted using MiMo and carrier aggregation and has more LTE bands.
We’ll see three different colors: Space Gray, Silver and [Gold, just like the iPhone lineup], and the device will be available to purchase in just over a week. Pre-orders of the new iPad Air 2 will be available from tomorrow. It’ll go on sale from October 23rd, and prices – as always – will start from $499. There will be 3 storage options: 16/64/128 GB priced at $499, $599 and $699 respectively. LTE capable models will also be made available and will cost $130 more than their Wi-Fi only counterparts. (LTE bands mention).
iPad mini 2 and iPad Air will both be available still, but cost $100 less than previous, and the original iPad mini will be available for $249.