Apple unveils the iPad Air

No great shock that there's a new full-sized iPad from Apple, but the name iPad Air has taken us by surprise. From the name, you can probably see where Apple is going here.

It's a new thinner and lighter design, taking inspiration from the success of the MacBook Air. Light and thin sells when it comes to taking your kit out and about. The iPad Air is 20 per cent thinner and 28 per cent lighter than the fourth generation iPad, and with a narrower bezel the borders of iPad Air are considerably thinner, creating a more eye-catching end product.

Of course, the 9.7-inch tablet has a Retina display for razor sharp text and detail, with a 2048 x 1536 resolution, ideal for catching a full 1080p HD-resolution movie. It also packs the Apple-designed A7 chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture and up to twice the CPU and graphics performance  from the previous iPad.

'iPad created an entirely new mobile computing experience, and the new iPad Air is another big leap ahead. It is so thin, light and powerful, once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is,' said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. 'iPad Air with its 9.7-inch Retina display weighs just one pound and packs the incredible performance of iOS 7 running on a 64-bit desktop-class Apple A7 chip, and delivers all-day battery life in the lightest full-sized tablet in the world.'

As hinted at there, the power-efficient A7 chip allows the battery to be even smaller, helping reduce the overall volume by 24 per cent from the previous generation while doubling its performance and maintaining its up to 10-hour battery life. The iPad Air also features the M7 motion coprocessor, which gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass to 'offload' work from the A7 and improve power efficiency.

Like the new iPad mini, the iPad Air also features Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology for twice the Wi-Fi performance. LTE connectivity and an enhanced FaceTime HD camera with improved backside illumination sensors featuring larger pixels for better low-light performance. The iSight camera with 5-megapixel sensor is here too, with faster auto-focus, up to three times video zoom, five times still zoom, better dynamic range and automatic image and video stabilisation.

Shipping with iOS 7 (as you would expect), the new iPad also has access to free versions of the iLife suite of creative apps, including iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand, and the iWork suite of productivity apps, including Pages, Numbers and Keynote. But to be fair, Apple has made them free for all iOS 7 users.

All that's left to you is the pricing. The iPad Air with Wi-Fi models will be available in silver or space grey starting on Friday 1 November, selling at £399 for the 16GB model, £479 for the 32GB model, £559 for the 64GB model and £639 for the 128GB model.

The iPad Air with Wi-Fi + Cellular will be available on the same day, selling for £499 for the 16GB model, £579 for the 32GB model, £659 for the 64GB model and £739 for the 128GB model.

The iPad 2 is now available at £329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and £429 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model.

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