The detractors will inevitably complain that Apple still did not launch any ‘game-changing’ brand new products at yesterday’s big San Francisco event. However, with an already staggeringly high percentage of the tablet market, the new iPad Air truly does up the tablet stakes for its competition.
There may have been no announcements of an iWatch or other wearable devices, as predicted by some of the blogosphere, but weighting in at just 1lb, and ultra-thin at just 7.5mm thickness – 20pc thinner than the fourth generation iPad – the iPad Air with its 9.7-inch Retina display will certainly put it up to its competition.
Apple also announced a new iPad Mini now with Retina display, bringing the equivalent pixels from the 9.7-inch iPad to the 7.9-inch screen. Both the new iPad Mini and iPad Air feature the powerful Apple-designed A7 chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture, and faster built-in Wi-Fi and expanded LTE cellular connectivity.
Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president of Worldwide Marketing, said the new iPad Air represented a "tremendous advancement", and was now the "lightest full-sized tablet in the world". He also claimed it offered twice the performance despite its svelte new figure, while maintaining its 10-hour battery life.
The iPad Air will be available in most markets, including Ireland, from November 1 next, adding considerably to some people’s Christmas shopping bill. The iPad 2 will continue to be available for purchase for those happy to opt for the weightier model, and will see a small drop in price.
The new iPad Mini with retina display will be available later in November, while the old iPad Mini will also see a small price-cut. Silicon Republic will confirm Irish pricing for the range as soon as possible.
The new iPad Air, and new iPad Mini with Retina Display, unveiled at yesterday’s Apple event in San Francisco
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