Apple is holding its much anticipated media event at the corporate Town Hall campus in Cupertino, California and the company has just announced the next chapter in the iPad story, the iPad Air 2.
As suspected, the tablet is even thinner than the current-generation iPad Air and, yes, comes in Gold.
And guess what it’s called. Yes, the iPad Air 2. It’s an incredible 6.1 mm thin, which is 18 percent thinner than the iPad Air, enough to call it the “world’s thinnest tablet”. There’s Touch ID, better cameras, Apple Pay, faster chips and lots more, all listed after the break for your reading pleasure.
The Wi-Fi-only edition measures 9.4 inches tall (240mm), 6.6 inches wide (169.5mm) and 0.24 inch thick (6.1mm) and weighs 0.96 pound, which works out to about 437 grams. The Wi-Fi + Cellular edition is a little heavier at 0.98 pound, or 444 grams.
The team has achieved the product’s thinner appearance by optical bonding that removes the air gap between the cover glass and the display itself. The fully laminated display sports has an anti-reflective coating to reduce reflection by a cool 56 percent, which Apple says has never been done before on a tablet.
By the way, the 9.7-inch Retina display still uses the 2,048-by-1,536 pixel resolution at 264 ppi, just like prior full-size Retina iPads. The iPad Air 2 is powered by the A8X chip that packs in an astounding three billion transistors, offering 40 percent faster CPU and 2.5 times faster graphics performance.
The iPad Air 2 still has a ten-hour battery life and features a barometer sensor and Apple’s M8 motion coprocessor, both of which are found inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
The back-facing iSight camera has an improved eight-megapixel sensor with a wider f/2.4 aperture. It takes great still images, including 43-megapixel panoramas. Time-lapses and Burst images are supported, too.
Note that Panorama, Time-lapse and Burst shooting modes are all firsts for the iPad.
In terms of video, the iPad Air 2 takes 1080p video at 30 frames per second with software-based video stabilization (the iPhone 6 does 1080p in 60FPS), by leveraging an Apple-designed image signal processor that’s part of the A8X chip.
Another first for the iPad: Slo-mo video capture at 120 frames per second versus the iPhone 6’s Slo-mo capture at 240 frames per second.
A souped up FaceTime HD camera is still 1.2 megapixels with backside illumination, but now has a larger f/2.2 aperture. It does 720p HD video capture, single-shot HDR photos and auto HDR photos and video.
Other FaceTime HD features on the iPad Air 2 include improved face detection, Burst mode, manual exposure control and Timer mode.
Last but not least, the iPad Air 2 has dual microphones, Touch ID, Apple Pay for purchases online and in apps (not at retail stores like the new iPhones), in addition to a faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi and 150MbpsLTE with carrier aggregation, support for 20 LTE bands and more.
For those wondering, the iPad Air 2 comes preloaded with iOS 8.1
Available in Silver, Space Gray and Gold colorways, the Wi-Fi-only iPad Air 2 costs $499/$599/$699 for 16/64/128GB varieties (yes, Apple pulled an iPhone 6 here with storage tiers).
Cellular versions are an extra $130.
Apple will take pre-orders for the iPad Air 2 starting tomorrow, October 17, and ship it the following Friday, October 24.
As you can see, the new iPad Air is an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary upgrade, but that’s OK and in line with Apple’s product philosophy where they take the world by storm with a leapfrog product and then iterate it tirelessly.
So, how do you like the new iPad Air 2 and will you be upgrading?
For more details, check out Apple’s press release linked right below.