Apple refreshes iPad range
Cupertino launches iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3; both available for online order in UAE from 18 Oct
Apple Inc yesterday refreshed its iPad range, introducing the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 at a press event in Cupertino, California.
Unsurprisingly billed by Apple as “the thinnest and most powerful iPad ever”, the iPad Air 2 measures 6.1mm thick and weighs less than 1lb. It features an improved Retina display with anti-reflective coating, in pursuit of “enhanced contrast and richer, more vibrant colours”. It is powered by a second-generation 64-bit A8X chip, includes overhauled iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, and boasts faster Wi-Fi and LTE wireless capabilities.
The iPad Air 2 comes in gold, silver and space grey, as does the iPad mini 3, and both models offer Touch ID, first introduced on the iPhone 5S and now included in Apple’s tablet range for the first time.
“[The] iPad is a magical piece of glass that runs more than 675,000 apps specifically designed for it, and is thin and light enough that you can comfortably hold it all day,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
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Apple said it has engineered the iPad Air 2 for “unmatched portability and ease of use”. The unibody chassis is an enclosure of anodized aluminium and the much-touted improved Retina display uses a “fully laminated design that brings images and content closer to the user’s fingertips, resulting in an even more personal and intimate experience”. Apple claims the anti-reflective coating reduces glare by 56% over the tablet’s predecessor.
The updated Apple-designed A8X chip delivers a 40% improvement in CPU performance and 2.5 times the graphics performance of iPad Air, according to Apple, while still delivering up to 10 hours of battery life, based on Apple’s bench tests. Combined with Metal, a new graphics technology introduced with iOS 8, the A8X chip is designed to “unlock realistic visual effects comparable to the most advanced gaming consoles”.
The iPad Air 2 also includes the M8 motion coprocessor that gathers motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and a new barometer, which senses air pressure to provide relative elevation.
Updates to the iSight and FaceTime HD cameras in iPad Air 2 include an 8MP sensor and advanced optics in the iSight camera and features such as panoramic shots, time-lapse video, slo-mo and 1080p HD video. Apple claims the FaceTime HD camera now captures over 80% more light than iPad Air’s camera, and features burst mode as well as HDR stills and video.
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“With thousands of powerful apps that take advantage of iPad’s amazing cameras and large Retina display viewfinder, iPad becomes a tool that can scan and annotate documents, help study the sky above and provide athletic performance analysis, all with just a tap<” Apple said in a statement.
The iPad Air 2 also claims faster connectivity with 802.11ac Wi-Fi with Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology for theoretical speeds that are 2.8 times the Wi-Fi performance of iPad Air at data rates up to 866 Mbps. The iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular integrates even more LTE bands, according to Apple, and comes with expanded LTE for “up to 50% faster cellular connections”, depending on the carrier.
Both next-gen iPads come with iOS 8.1, including Continuity features across iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. Handoff lets users start an activity on one device and pass it to another, and when an iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network, the user can make and receive phone calls from their iPad.
The iPad mini line has been updated to include iPad mini 3 with Touch ID. The iPad mini with Retina display is now called iPad mini 2. Both iPads feature the Retina display, A7 chip, 5MP iSight camera, FaceTime HD camera and “ultrafast” wireless.
Both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 are available to order in the UAE online Apple store from Saturday 18 October. Prices for the iPad Air 2 start at AED1,899 and the iPad mini 3 at AED1,499.