Apple iPad sales have been a bit laggard in the past few quarters, but the company is looking to turn things around with a refreshed lineup. Although Apple gave us an early taste of the iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 — some of our readers feel that the leak was just a ploy to take attention away from Lollipop/Nexus 6/Nexus 9 — both new tablets were officially announced this afternoon.
First up is the iPad Air 2. As we expected, the iPad Air 2 continues on with a 9.7” Retina display, this time with the benefit of a new anti-reflective coating to reduce reflections by 50 percent. Under the hood is a new 64-bit A8X processor, which is the beefier sibling of the A8 used in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple has an obsession with making its devices thinner, and the iPad Air 2 is no exception thanks to the fact that the LCD, glass, and touch sensor are now bonded together. The device now measures 6.1mm thick, making it 18 percent thinner than the original iPad Air. According to Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, two iPad Air 2 tablets stacked on top of each other are thinner than just one first generation iPad (which was introduced way back in 2010).
The iPad Air 2 also brings with it a revamped 8MP camera with slo-mo video capabilities, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1, and of course Touch ID.
As we previously reported, Apple is still soldiering on with a 16GB version of the iPad Air 2, and the base system is still priced at $499. However, like the new iPhones, the next storage option has been bumped from 32GB to 64GB for $599. A 128GB iPad Air 2 will set you back $699. And as before, choosing LTE will add $130 to those prices.
And as expected, Gold has been added to the Silver and Space Gray colors.
As for the iPad mini 3, it didn’t get any stage time at today’s event, probably because it looks as though the only major addition to the tablet is Touch ID. Apple didn’t even upgrade its wireless functionality to 802.11ac this go around. Pricing for the iPad mini 3 starts at $399.
The iPad mini 2 (previously called the iPad mini with Retina Display) gets a $100 price cut to start at $299, while the original iPad mini will be available starting at $249. The original iPad Air will still be available starting at $399.
Pre-orders for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 start tomorrow, and they will begin shipping next week.
Apple also today announced its new iMac with Retina Display all-in-one computer. The 27” machine now comes with a “5K” 5120×2880 resolution screen, which Apple says is the “world’s highest resolution display.” The machine will be priced from $2,499. The price will get you a 3.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor, AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics, 8GB of memory, and a 1TB Fusion Drive. The 27” iMac with Retina Display is shipping today.
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