Apple Unwraps New iPads

Apple Inc. unveiled two new iPad models Tuesday, the iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina display.

The iPad Air is Apple’s latest flagship tablet continuing the tradition of featuring a 9.7-inch Retina display with 2048 x 1536 screen resolution. Apple says the iPad Air is 20 percent thinner at 7.5 millimeters and at 1 pound, it weighs 28 percent less than last year’s model. The iPad Air features a slimmer bezel around the screen resembling the iPad Mini, which Apple says allows you to only see your content. The iPad Air is the first redesign of the iPad since the iPad 2 in 2011.

The iPad Air has more than just a new look as it also features Apple’s A7 chip with the M7 motion processor. Apple says the new chip, which is the same used in the iPhone 5S, provides twice the computing speed and graphical performance of the previous iPad. The M7 motion processor handles tasks such as rotation, which Apple says saves battery life. Apple estimates the battery life of the iPad Air is up to ten hours.

The iPad Air comes equipped with two cameras. A 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera is used for 720P video and FaceTime. The five megapixel rear-facing iSight captures 1080P HD video.

Additional features include faster dual-channel Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The iPad Air does not include the Touch ID fingerprint scanner found on the iPhone 5S.

Prices start at $499 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi only model. The iPad Air is also available with LTE connectivity on all four major carriers starting at $629 for the 16 GB model. The iPad Air will be available Nov. 1 in black and white.

Unlike last year’s iPad Mini, which suffered from weaker performance compared to its bigger brother, the iPad Mini with Retina display features all the same innards as the iPad Air, including, most notably, the 2048 x 1536 resolution display. The Retina display, Apple’s moniker for its high-resolution displays, was absent from last year’s iPad Mini. It still features the same 7.9-inch screen size, making it more portable than the iPad Air.

Apple says the iPad Mini with Retina display features four times faster computing performance and eight times greater graphical performance than last year’s model. Apple estimates the iPad Mini with Retina display runs for 10 hours on the battery, the same as the iPad Air.

The iPad Mini with Retina display starts at $399 for the Wi-Fi only 16 GB model, which is $70 more than the $329 starting price of last year’s model. The iPad Mini with Retina display is also available with LTE connectivity starting at $529 for the 16 GB model.

Apple says the iPad Mini with Retina display will be available in November but no official date has been given.

Apple plans to continue to sell the iPad 2 and the original iPad Mini alongside the two new models. The iPad 2 will be $399 and the original iPad Mini will be $299.

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