As expected, Apple has unveiled a couple of new iPads today. The highly anticipated fifth-generation iPad has been rebranded as the new iPad Air, and sports an identical iPad mini-like design with a narrower bezel that is 20% slimmer and significantly lighter than its iPad 4 predecessor weighing only a single pound. As expected from leaked parts, the new iPad Air will be offered in two flavors, silver with a white front bezel and in Space Gray which is replacing the darker black slate color to match Apple's iPhone 5s offerings. Sorry, not glamorous gold matching iPads for you.
The new iPad Air features the same 9.7-inch IPS Retina Display as before, but comes with a few other new internal hardware improvements like a 64-bit A7 processor with an M7 motion co-processor with Open GL ES version 3.0 support for enhanced graphics making the iPad Air twice as fast as its predecessor, advanced MIMO WiFi technology enabling faster data rates nearly doubling the WiFi performance, and an improved rear facing 5-megapixel camera with better low-light performance plus a new dual-microphone array. Disappointingly, Touch ID remains to be an iPhone 5s exclusive for now.
Pricing and storage capacities have remained unchanged, and the iPad Air will be available in 16GB, 32GB 64GB and 128GB model configurations for $499, $599, $699 and $799, respectively. WIFI + LTE iPad Air models start at $629 which is $129 more than any WiFi-only iPad Air model. While you won't be able to pre-order the iPad Air, you can purchase it on November 1. Apple will continue to offer the non-Retina iPad 2 at a lower cost starting at $399.
An even more anticipated product which Apple delivered today was the second-generation iPad mini, which now finally has a 7.9-inch Retina display. And what's amazing is that the iPad mini's Retina display is slightly sharper and denser compared to the iPad Air as it boasts the same 326 ppi as the iPhone 5s compared to the iPad Air's 264 ppi resolution. Granted both have the same 2048-by-1536 resolution. Even with the inclusion of a high-resolution Retina display, battery life is still rated at an impressive 10 long hours.
Inside, the second-generation iPad mini with Retina display also rocks a 64-bit A7 processor with an M7 motion co-processor, upgraded 1.3-megapixel front and 5-megapixel back-facing cameras with larger sensors for better low-light performance plus dual-micrphones, and the same dual-MIMO WiFi antennas for faster WiFi data performance found in the new iPad Air.
The Retina iPad mini will cost more than its predecessor with pricing starting at $399 for a 16GB WiFi-only model. Apple has kept the original iPad mini around which will only be available in a 16GB configuration while also reducing its price down to $299. Like the iPad Air, the iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display will both be available in silver and in Space Gray colors.
In order to accommodate the Retina display and increased battery capacity, the new iPad mini 2 is ever so slightly thicker than its predecessor coming in at 0.29 inches (7.5mm) compared to the 0.28 inches (7.2mm) thickness of original iPad mini. It's also a little heavier at 0.73 pounds compared to the weight of the original iPad mini of 0.68 pounds. Apple's iPad mini with Retina display will be available in November.