Apple just can’t let Google have any fun can they? Just a day after the new Google Nexus 9 tablet was unveiled, the latest and best iPad has been shown off to the world for the first time.
The iPad Air 2 is the world’s thinnest tablet, or so says Apple Senior VP of Global Marketing Phil Schiller. The claim certainly seems to hold some weight – the iPad Air 2 is just 6.1mm deep. That’s 18% thinner than the first iPad Air (again, we’ll take Phil’s word for it).
This reduction in size hasn’t hampered the device’s capability though. It’s got Apple’s latest A8 processor inside it, paired with an M8 coprocessor. Schiller says it’s 12 times more powerful than the original iPad, which is something of a meaningless metric, if an impressive example of how rapidly technology advances.
At a glance the display seems to be exactly the same as the original iPad Air. It’s 9.7 inches diagonal with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 for a PPI of 264. Schiller referred to it as a “new Retina display though” so perhaps there’s some other factors at play here which Apple didn’t fully disclose.
The camera is certainly improved though, with a rear-facing 8MP iSight lens (f/2.4 aperture) which should come pretty close to the shooter on the iPhone 5S in terms of performance. It can also shoot 1080p video, take burst shots, and has a panorama mode – just like the outstanding cameras on Apple’s smartphone range.
The front-facing camera is better too. At 1.2MP and f/2.2 aperture Apple is calling it “FaceTime HD”. Again, mostly meaningless, but a better camera is always nice, particularly when FaceTime is so popular on iPads due to it running over Wi-Fi.
The home button has been updated in keeping in line with the iPhone 5S/6/6 Plus, meaning it now has Touch ID fingerprint scanning enabled. Apple Pay is also enabled, we’re told, although the iPad Air 2 does not have NFC capability. This seems rather paradoxical, as the main purpose of Apple Pay is for touch-free payment, so we suppose this just means it has Apple’s PayPal-style unified payment setup included.
Apple has opted to unify the design style of its new iPad with that of the iPhone this time around, meaning the iPad Air 2 will be available in silver, space gray and gold. It’s also available in the same three storage sizes: 16GB, 64GB and 128GB, priced at £399, £479 and £559 respectively. If you want 4G capability on yours then you’ll have to tap on £100 to those Wi-Fi only prices.
Pre-orders will be live at some point on Friday 17th October, and shipping will commence by the end of the following week (Apple’s words, not ours. Weirdly unspecific). Still, we’re excited.
Oh, and if this doesn’t seem like your sort of thing, you could always check out the new iPad Mini 3 which was unveiled at the same conference.