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By 23 October 2013 | Categories: news

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Apple finally laid the long running rumours to rest, unveiling one iPad that practically everyone predicted (an updated iPad Mini) and another no one saw coming – an iPad Air.

It’s the latter that has received the biggest revamp. Essentially, this, the iPad 5, has undergone a considerable redesign, now boasting a depth of 7.5 mm; incidentally, a fraction thinner than the iPhone 5s’ 7.6 mm.

While it still has a 9.7” Retina display screen (2048x1536 resolution at 264 ppi), the company has seen fit to significantly trim its bezels, making for a more compact and smaller 9.7” tablet. Furthermore, as befitting its name, the iPad Air weighs in at a mere 478 g, a far cry from the 600 g plus weight of its predecessors.

Something familiar, something new

Despite its bearable lightness of being, Apple reassured that the iPad Air (or iPad 5 if you absolutely insist) will still boast up to ten hours of battery life, thanks to a built-in 32.4-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery. Furthermore, the latest iPad now boasts the same heart and guts found on the iPhone 5s, namely the A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor.

Additionally, the iPad Air’s Wi-Fi reception is once again catered to via dual channel Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz). However, users can apparently look forward to significantly improved Wi-Fi reception, thanks to two antennas instead of just one, and the inclusion of MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology.

Apple also made us do a happy dance by announcing that its range includes 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB and yes, 128 GB models as well. Predictably, the tablet will come in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi plus cellular models.

After months of speculation about whether we would see it this year or next, finally, the iPad Mini with Retina display is a reality rather than a rumour.

“You’ve got a lot of heart, kid”

The newest 7.9” iPad Mini does indeed boast a Retina display, despite earlier concerns that supply chain problems would push that launch into the new year. While this gives the iPad Mini a 2048x1536 resolution, on this screen size users get 326 ppi. Suffice to say, we are really looking forward to seeing how photos and games in particular shine on the 331 g tablet.

Furthermore, the new iPad Mini also boasts a more powerful heart, in the form of that same  A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor as is found in the iPad Air. This, Apple elaborated, provides up to quadruple the CPU performance and up to eight times the graphics performance. A welcome surprise it that it too will come in a 128 GB variant, perhaps because Apple has seen the light and realized that yes, there are users who do want to cram their HD movie or iOS games collections onto their device after all.

To the point

Notable for both new iPads, despite the obvious fact that they will ship with iOS 7, is that they will also include the iLife app suite (iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers and Keynote) for free. While local availability and prices have yet to be announced, Stateside at least, prices for both the iPad Air and the iPad Mini have remained on par with previous announcements.

The iPad Air will start at $500 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi only version and up to $800 for the 128 GB Wi-Fi only iteration. For the Wi-Fi and Cellular model, buyers can expect to empty their wallet to the tune of $630 for the 16 GB version, and all the way up to $930 for the top end of the range, 128 GB option.

The new iPad Mini will range from $300 for the 16 GB, Wi-Fi only version  up to $830 for the 128 GB Wi-Fi and Cellular iteration. Consider your wallet warned should you choose to bully your budget in the months ahead. 

In related news, Apple also unveiled updated MacBook Pro's and launched Mac OS X Mavericks.

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