Apple’s next-generation iPad, the iPad Air 2, is nearly 20% thinner than its predecessor, the company announced Thursday. The new iPad features the most technologically advanced components the company has ever put in a tablet.
The iPad Air 2, which CEO Tim Cook unveiled at a media event at Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters, confirmed many of the predictions that fans have made about the new model in the previous months. But the tablet is skinner than the 0.5 mm reduction that many rumormongers in the Apple fan world presupposed: at 6.1 mm, the iPad Air 2 is 18% thinner than the 7.5 mm-thick original iPad Air. It is less than half as thick as the original iPad.
The iPad Air 2 features an A8X chip and 40% faster processing power, according to Apple Vice President Phil Schiller. The tablet also comes with 2.5 times faster graphics processing and an anti-reflective coating on its screen, which Schiller said reduces reflections by 56%.
The camera has been upgraded from 5 megapixels to 8 megapixels.
The tablet also comes with Apple’s trademark Touch ID, which allows users to access their iPads without inputting a four-digit code. Touch ID made its first appearance on Apple’s iPhone 5S.
Also on Thursday, Apple announced the iPad Mini 3, though with much less fanfare. The new iPad Mini has a 5 megapixel iSight camera and a 7.9-inch Retina display, and also comes with Touch ID.
The 16GB version of the iPad Air 2 starts at $499, with the 64GB version at $599 and the 128GB version at $699. All the models are $130 more expensive with a cellular connection option. The iPad Mini 3 starts at $399. Meanwhile, previous iPad generations are being reduced in price by $100.
The company begins taking pre-orders for the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 Friday, they start shipping next week.
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