Apple reinvigorates tablet computer genre with new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3

16 Oct 20143 Shares

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The Apple iPad mini 3

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BERLIN – Just when you thought things had gotten a little quiet in the tablet computing stakes, Apple has driven a new benchmark with the thinnest iPad yet, the iPad Air 2 which is just 6.1mm thick.

Both the iPad Air 2 and the new iPad mini 3 come with Retina display as well as Apple’s Touch ID technology.

The devices were launched alongside Apple's new 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display, the launch next week of Apple Pay and the launch today of Apple's desktop operating system OS X Yosemite.

Apple’s chief of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said that the display on the new iPad Air consists of an LCD screen, a touch layer and a micro thin layer bonded together to create a single component with no air gap.

The screen is also protected by a new anti-reflecting coating that Schiller says exists no where else in the technology industry.

The tablet computer is also powered by a new A8X chip build specifically for the iPad Air 2 which is 2.5 times faster than the previous A7 chip for the original iPad Air and boasts 180 times faster graphics performance.

“This machine boasts console-level graphics,” Schiller said, adding that the machine has 10 hours of battery life and also boasts the same M8 motion processor to manage accelerometers and elevation as found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones.

It also borrows many of the same Family Sharing and Touch ID security features that came with iOS 8.

Bursting with visual potential

The new iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 are being hailed by Schiller as having the best viewfinders in the spectrum of photography.

The machines come with a new 8MP iSight camera that can capture 1.12µ pixels and 1080p video, all courtesy of the new 64-bit A8X chip.

“This means you can take large panoramas of up to 43 megapixels as well as burst mode photos and time lapse,” Schiller said.

“You can also do slow motion pictures for the first time on an iPad with the iPad Air 2.”

The machines also come with new FaceTime camera technology that allow users to record and transmit HDR video.

In terms of connectivity the new iPad Air 2 packs a punch  802.11ac Wi-Fi with Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology for 2.8 times the Wi-Fi performance of iPad Air at data rates up to 866 Mbps.

The new iPads come with iOS 8.1 including Continuity features across iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite that enable all your Apple products to work together seamlessly. Handoff lets you start an activity on one device and pass it to another, and when your iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network, you can make and receive phone calls right from your iPad.

The machines come in three metallic finishes including gold, silver and space grey.

Pricing and availability of iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3

Both iPad models – the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 and the 7.9-inch iPad mini 3 – go on sale worldwide this Friday online on Apple’s online stores and will be available worldwide next week.

iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi models will be available for a suggested retail price of €509 inc VAT (€413.82 ex VAT) for the 16GB model, €609 inc VAT (€495.12 ex VAT) for the 64GB model and €709 inc VAT (€576.42 ex VAT) for the 128GB model. iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for a suggested retail price of €629 inc VAT (€511.38 ex VAT) for the 16GB model, €729 inc VAT (€592.68 ex VAT) for the 64GB model and €829 inc VAT (€673.98 ex VAT) for the 128GB model.

iPad mini 3 with Wi-Fi models will be available for a suggested retail price of €409 inc VAT (€332.52 ex VAT) for the 16GB model, €509 inc VAT (€413.82 ex VAT) for the 64GB model and €609 inc VAT (€495.12 ex VAT) for the 128GB model. iPad mini 3 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for a suggested retail price of €529 inc VAT (€430.08 ex VAT) for the 16GB model, €629 inc VAT (€511.38 ex VAT) for the 64GB model and €729 inc VAT (€592.68 ex VAT) for the 128GB model.

 

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com