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iPad Air 2 officially unveiled with TouchID and slimmer design

Luke Johnson

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iPad Air 2

The iPad Air 2 has been officially unveiled with Apple bestowing its latest 9.7-inch tablet with its formerly iPhone-exclusive TouchID fingerprint sensor.

Slimming down its flagship tablet even more, the iPad Air 2’s new biometric security measure sits within the physical home button of the 6.1mm slate. It's one of a number of considerable improvements, with the tablet also being bumped up to a new A8X 64-bit processor.

“When we launched the iPad Air, just a year ago, we did so by showing that all this power was in a device slimmer than a pencil,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

Revealing the device, he added: “So what do you do when you make the best tablet in the world? How do you make it better? You do this.”

Showing off the super-skinny iPad Air 2, Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, added: “It is the thinnest iPad we have ever made. It is just 6.1mm thin and 18 per cent thinner than the original iPad Air.

“It is so thin you can stack two of them and still be thinner than the original iPad.”

iPad Air 2 Features

Tasked with stemming the flow in slowing iPad sales, the iPad Air 2 is an incremental but well-rounded update on its predecessor, the iPad Air.

The A8X processor is a turbocharged rendition of the CPU found within the recently unveiled iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones.

“This is a new chip created just for iPad Air 2. It has 3 billion transistors and offers 40 per cent better CPU performance,” Schiller said.

“It is 12 times faster than the original iPad. On graphical performance we are now 180 times faster.”

With the iPad Air 2 set to land running the new iOS 8.1 mobile operating system, the tablet, despite shedding thickness and weight, will retain its impressive 10 hour battery life.

Apple has been facing renewed competition in the tablet space from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.1 and the new HTC-made, Google-branded Nexus 9, but the Cupertino-based company has risen to the occasion by upping the iPad Air 2’s camera collection.

Echoing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the iPad Air 2 features a new 8-megapxiel rear-mounted iSight camera.

This improved snapper features an f/2.4 wide-aperture lens and is capable of recording 1080p Full HD video and time-lapse clips.

Around front, an improved FaceTime HD camera offers an f/2.2 aperture with burst-mode selfies available alongside HDR shooting and video recording modes.

Having originally been introduced on last year’s iPhone 5S, the TouchID fingerprint sensor was a surprising omission from last year’s iPad offerings.

It has made the cut this time, though, bringing the same securing benefits and App Store purchasing capabilities as on Apple’s leading phones.

Perhaps the most requested feature from consumers is TouchID. Now with iPad Air 2 there is TouchID,” Schiller announced.

As with the company’s past tablet offerings, the iPad Air 2 will be available in both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi plus cellular options. In fact, both features have been improved with faster 4G connections available alongside the addition of 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Like the latest iPhones, the iPad Air 2 has dropped the 32GB storage option. Instead, the tablet, which will now come in a gold colour scheme as well as the silver and space grey options, will be available in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities.

iPad Air 2 Release Date and Price

Giving wannabe owners just a few days to save their pennies, Apple has confirmed the iPad Air 2 release date will take place next week.

For those extra keen to secure their sixth-generation Apple tablet, iPad Air 2 pre-orders will open up tomorrow, October 17.

With a variety of storage options to be made available, pricing will kick off at just £399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only option, rising to £659 for the 128GB 4G capable offering.

PREVIEW: iPad Air 2 hands-on

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Prem Desai

October 16, 2014, 6:54 pm

This pursuit of thinness is nonsense (not just Apple). If Apple had nothing new to add, then don't bother releasing a new model.

Every iPad I've used, has been awkward to hold because of it's form factor and slippery surface. For this reason, a case is mandatory. But the case adds bulk and cutting down the size by 1mm or whatever is pointless.

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