Even the mighty iPad isn’t immune to slowing tablet sales, but Apple put a positive spin on things tonight by announcing that it’s sold 225 million of the things globally – that’s the iPad, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini 2 - since launch in 2010.
Here we’re meeting the eighth member of the iPad family, the iPad Air 2, essentially an upgraded version of last year’s iPad Air, with a slimmer body, faster processor, enhanced camera and fingerprint scanner.
Starting with the iPad Air 2’s thickness – or perhaps that should be thinness, it measures just 6.1mm, which easily makes it the thinnest iPad ever, 18% thinner – in fact – than the 7.5mm iPad Air, and less than half the thickness of the original iPad. Wow.
As predicted, the iPad Air 2’s processor doesn’t just match the A8 chip found on the spanking new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus; it goes one step better with the A8X, which we’re told is 40-50% faster than the A7. Resultantly, Apple reckons the iPad Air 2 is able to give consoles a run for their money when it comes to gaming.
Further iPad Air 2 specs include an iPhone 6-matching 8MP rear iSight camera, capable of capturing panoramas up to 43MP in size, alongside support for time lapse, 120 frames per second (fps) slow-motion, and burst mode.
The front-facing FaceTime camera gets a boost, too, for enhanced selfies and video calls and whatnot.
We knew to expect the Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the iPad Air 2 also, the technology formerly being exclusive to the iPhone – dating back to last year’s iPhone 5s.
Incidentally, that ties in nicely with Apple Pay, though the apparent lack of NFC suggests you won’t be able to pay for stuff in-store with your iPad Air 2; it’ll likely be online only. Can’t imagine too many people crying over that, to be fair.
In terms of storage, Apple has pulled an iPhone 6 and done away with the 32GB option, leaving an utterly pointless 16GB offering, alongside 64GB and 128GB models.
That’s likely a marketing tactic so Apple can say iPad Air 2 price starts at £399, but realistically you’re going to be looking at one of those beefier units.
Pre-orders open tomorrow, October 17, with the iPad Air 2’s release date following next week (presumably that’ll be Friday, though I’m having trouble pinning that down). Oh, and you can grab the iPad Air 2 in white, space grey or glamorous gold, and there's just about time to throw in a cursory mention of the new anti-reflective display.
I’ll pop back in with full UK iPad Air 2 pricing just as soon as it’s available. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts below (as if I had to say so).