At its press event today, Apple has just unveiled its new iPad, the iPad Air. It's the lightest full-size tablet to hit the market, weighing in at just one pound. It's also a good deal thinner, at just 7.5mm, which is 43 percent slimmer. It has the Apple A7 chip, also found in the iPhone 5S, yielding CPU and graphics performance that is doubled (8x faster than the original iPad from years ago).
Other important features include a 2X increase for game rendering, faster Wi-Fi with Mimo technology, a 5-megapixel camera, dual microphones, and a new FaceTime HD camera. Overall, the iPad Air will still offer 10-hour battery life. It'll come in sliver/white and grey/black configurations. Shipments start on November 1 around the world, including China right at launch. iPad Air will start at $499, while iPad 2 will be sold for $399.
Alongside the new iPad Air, Apple announced a new iPad mini, which as expected is getting a Retina display for its 7.9-inch screen. Similar to the iPad Air, it'll be powered by an A7 chip with 64-bit architecture, offering 4x faster CPU and 8x faster graphics. It'll also have a 10-hour battery, 5MP iSight camera, HD FaceTime camera, and come in the same color schemes. Prices start at $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model, or $529 with cellular support. The new iPad mini ships later in November, and the old iPad mini will be reduced to $299.
Apple said it's sold 170 million iPads to date. "I can't think of another product that's come so far so fast," remarked Apple CEO Tim Cook. He boasted that iPad is used more than four times as much as the competition's tablets combined, and he said that there are now over 475,000 iPad apps, custom designed, not "stretched out smartphone apps our competitors are doing." Earlier on, Cook also made another dig, saying the competition has been "confused" and "went after netbooks, trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs."
More news to come out of the Apple conference included a new line of MacBook Pros, a new Mac Pro desktop, and the pleasant surprise that upgrading to OS X Mavericks will be completely free for OS users, going as far back at the iMac from 2007. New versions of app suites like iLife and iWork will be made available for free as well for users looking to update from the older versions of the apps.
Apple noted that there have been 60 billion app downloads from the App Store, and devs have earned over $13 billion.