Apple today unveiled its new tablet called the iPad Air 2. It retains the design language of its predecessor, the iPad Air, as majority of the changes have been made under the hood. There’s a brand new processor aided by the M8 motion co-processor, better cameras, improved LTE, faster Wi-Fi, Touch ID fingerprint sensor and more, all with the coveted 10-hour battery life.
At just 6.1mm the iPad Air 2 is the thinner tablet that Apple has ever produced. Its a remarkable 18 percent thinner than the first iPad Air, which was already 20 percent thinner than the iPad before it. Apple claims that this is now the world’s thinnest tablet. The display has an anti-reflective coating which makes it 56 percent less reflective.
As expected the iPad Air 2 is powered by a new A8X processor that has been built specifically for this tablet. Its a faster version of the very same processor that you find in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. A8X delivers 40 percent faster performance as opposed to this tablet’s predecessor with 2.5 times improved graphics performance. The M8 co-processor is onboard as well, and so is a Barometer to measure altitude.
Apple has improved the rear iSight camera as well. Its an 8 megapixel camera now with f/2.4 aperture which is capable of taking 1080p HD video and panorama shots up to 43 megapixels. The iPad Air 2 also brings Burst Mode for the first time to Apple’s tablets. It is also possible to take Time-lapse and 720p slow motion videos at 120 frames per second. Improved sound capture is guaranteed by dual microphones.
The FaceTime HD camera up front hasn’t been left out. Its a new camera with f/2.2 that lets in 80 percent more light. There’s better face detection, ability to take burst selfies and record HDR videos as well.
On the connectivity front iPad Air 2 has faster Wi-Fi than ever before with 802.11ac MIMO. Faster LTE is onboard as well with more bands than before.
Touch ID fingerprint sensor, perhaps the most requested feature for iPad, lands on the iPad Air 2. It can be used for purchasing content through any of Apple’s content stores. It provides access not only to the device itself but also to apps and services that use Touch ID. It also brings Apple Pay support to the iPad, though not for point-of-sale transactions but for online purchases.
The iPad Air 2 comes in three color options, Space Gray, Silver and for the first time, Gold. Wi-Fi only versions start at $499, $599 and $699 for 16GB, 64GB and 128GB respectively. Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air 2 models in the same storage capacity will be available for $629, $729 and $829. Pre-orders start from tomorrow and the tablet starts shipping by the end of next week, with iOS 8.1 pre-installed.