Apple has officially taken the covers off the iPad Air 2, its latest flagship tablet sporting that familiar 9.7-inch display.
Tim Cook took to the stage in Cupertino to give us the low down of its newest tablet, alongside the new iPad Mini 3.
We've gathered together all the key information on Apple's new tablet for you to digest in one place, so please read on
iPad Air 2 release date
You'll be able to pre-order the iPad Air 2 from October 17, with an iPad Air 2 release date set for the 'end of next week.'
iPad Air 2 price
In terms of price the iPad Air 2 starts at $499, £399, AU$619 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, with 64GB of internal storage setting you back $599, £479, AU$739 and 128GB costing $699, £559, AU$859.
If you fancy some 4G action on your iPad Air 2 you'll have to part with $629, £499, AU$779 for 16GB, $729, £579, AU$899 for 64GB and $829, £659, AU$1019 for 128GB
iPad Air 2 display
The iPad Air 2 has the same 9.7-inch, 1536 x 2048 264ppi display as its predecessor, but it's not a carbon copy as Apple has developed a zero air gap screen.
It claims that this anti-reflective coating reduces screen reflections by 56%, which should provide clearer, brighter images.
iPad Air 2 design
It's thinner! No seriously, Apple has shaved off 1.4mm from the original iPad Air to make the iPad Air 2 just 6.1mm thick - that's the world's thinnest tablet people.
You'll be able to pick the iPad Air 2 up in silver, space grey and the all new gold variant - how exciting.
iPad Air 2 power
The iPad Air 2 houses Apple's new A8X chip created specifically for the tablet, providing 40% faster CPU performance for apps and it claims graphics are 2.5 times faster.
Apple bigged up the graphic performance of its new chip, which means games should look pretty awesome on the Air 2, with the promise console quality graphics.
The M8 motion co-processor also resides inside (just like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus), plus Apple has stuffed in a barometer as well, because it can.
iPad Air 2 operating system
There's no surprise here, the iPad Air 2 comes running iOS 8.1 - Apple's latest version of its mobile platform.
iPad Air 2 camera
The iPad Air 2 has Apple's new 8MP iSight camera with a f/2.4 aperture plus 1080p video recording and 720p slo-mode video capabilities.
Auto HDR from the iPhone makes the leap to the Air 2, panorama and burst mode are present and there's a macro mode too
Time-lapse also makes it way onto iPad with the Air 2.
The face time camera on the front is also new, with a f/2.2 aperture to let in more light and it has a HD resolution with HDR built in.
iPad Air 2 Touch ID
It has it. Fact. Apple says its one of the most requested features from users, and with iPad Air 2 its answered those longing for the functionality.
It allows you to unlock the tablet as well as paying for products including through Apple Pay.
Battery and connectivity
Apple is promising up to 10 hours battery life, while new faster Wi-Fi and LTE are also hidden within the iPad Air 2.
In fact the Air 2 supports 20 different LTE bands, more than any other tablet on the market, meaning it should be compatible with your network.
There's plenty to read about the new iPad Air, but seeing is believing. Check out our hands on video with the new tablet below!
The iPad Air 2, the obvious follow up to the iPad Air, is about to land - but how good will it actually be? Can Apple really make it that different to the previous model?
Given the brand seems to have leaked it itself already, thanks to publishing a screengrab showing the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 on a tutorial in iBooks, we're almost certain to be seeing the iPad Air 2, with TouchID in tow, at Apple's launch event tonight.
While called the iPad Air 2, this will actually be Apple's sixth generation full size (9.7-inch) tablet, but Apple is going to have a tough job topping the iPad Air, after it gained a coveted 5 star TechRadar review and it currently sits proudly at number 1 in our "Best Tablets in the World" top 10.
Rumors and speculation have been pouring in as is the norm with an Apple product and we've collected them all in one place. Think of this as your one-stop-shop for iPad Air 2 news and get ready, because the latest rumors suggest it's almost here.
iPad Air 2 release date
It's official, we're going to be seeing the iPad Air 2 on October 16, or at least Apple has sent out invites for an event on that date and it's incredibly unlikely that the iPad Air 2 won't make an appearance.
Even before the arrival of the invitations it looked like we were probably going to see it on October 16, which is now so close we can almost touch it.
As for the actual release date that's likely to be early to mid November. Why November? Well that's when the iPad Air made an appearance last year, and Apple does like to stick to its annual product cycle - if you overlook the whole iPad 4 thing.
It should be on track for November too, as according to Bloomberg's sources the iPad Air 2 has already gone into production.
iPad Air 2 price
While we haven't seen any rumors surrounding the potential pricing for the iPad Air 2, Apple is usually pretty good when it comes to new products inheriting the pricing structure of the flagships they are replacing.
A look at the iPad Air prices sees the entry-level 16GB, Wi-Fi slate costing £399 / $499 / AU$598, with storage increments gaining £80 / $100 / AU$100 each time for 32GB, 64GB and 128GB.
Fancy getting some LTE connectivity inside your iPad Air 2? Then you're probably looking at a starting price of £499 / $629 / AU$749 for the 16GB model, rising all the way to £739 / $929 / AU$1049 for the 128GB, with the £80 / $100 / AU$100 increments bridging the 32GB and 64GB gaps.
iPad Air 2 power
There were some early rumors buzzing around as KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the new iPad Air will come with an Apple A8 processor and sources speaking to ETNews believe the same. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus both shipped with the A8.
This might not be the case as recently leaked photos of the iPad Air 2's logic board apple.club.tw show the iPad Air 2 sporting a brand new A8X processor.
Including an A8X chip rather than the A8 chip found in the iPhone 6 would mark Apple's return to creating specialised versions of its processors for its tablets. These processors would be more powerful than the iPhone versions, especially when it comes to graphics.
As well as a new processor it could have 2GB of RAM, double the amount in the original iPad Air. That's according to supply chain sources for Taiwan's TechNews and more recently some RAM photos from Geekbar, though given that the iPhone 6 stuck with 1GB of RAM we're not so sure.
iPad Air 2 camera
As well as predicting an A8 processor, Kuo also believes that the iPad Air 2 will sport an 8MP rear camera, up from 5MP on the iPad Air.
Kuo's theories are looking increasingly likely, as according to sources speaking to ETNews the iPad Air 2's main camera will be boosted from 5MP to 8MP, while the front-facing snapper will be increased to 1.5MP.
We've not heard much else about the camera yet, but a leaked iPad Air 2 case has a mysterious hole, which is positioned near the camera hole. What this could be for is anyone's guess, perhaps a laser autofocus or an LED flash?
iPad Air 2 operating system
There are no prizes for guessing the answer to this one. The iPad Air 2, whenever it arrives, will come running Apple's latest software - iOS 8.
This is a step up from iOS 7 which arrived in 2013 and completely overhauled the design and theme of the platform.
iPad Air 2 Touch ID
TouchID seems nailed on since it was listed on Apple's own tutorial - and to miss it out now would mean that Apple Pay wouldn't be as useful. Paying for stuff online with your iPad using just a digit? Now that makes sense.
Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the iPad Air 2 will get a dose of Touch ID. This is a theory which is given extra credence by the mention of iPads in the Biometric Kit for iOS 7.1.
Apple has also applied to patent Touch ID for tablets and a mention of Touch ID on the iPad has even been found in iOS 8.1 beta code, alongside a suggestion that Apple Pay will be supported for making in-app purchases.
Further evidence is found in the leaked images republished by apple.club.tw. These show a component inside the iPad Air 2 with space for a Touch ID home button, which makes its inclusion even more likely.
We're just hours away from the launch and one of the clearest photos of the slate yet seen has just emerged. Posted to Weibo by "Mrlee" and spotted by BGR the photo appears to show the iPad Air 2 in all its glory, complete with a redesigned home button and Touch ID.
Sources speaking to ETNews claim that the design is going to be similar to that of the original iPad Air and its screen will stick at a resolution of 2048 x 1536.
That's been echoed in more recent rumors, though these go on to say that the slate itself might be even thinner than last year's model.
However while the resolution might not change, according to sources speaking to Bloomberg that screen might have an "anti reflection coating" which would make it easier to read.
We've also caught a glimpse of what might be the new iPad Air's front panel and it appears that the display is integrated, allowing it to be slimmer than the iPad Air which has a separate display and panel.
Recent rumors echo that, claiming that it's allowed the iPad Air 2 to be as much as 0.5mm thinner than the iPad Air. That would make it just 7mm thick, still not quite the slimmest slate on the market (the Xperia Z2 Tablet is 6.4mm), but it would be the slimmest iPad yet.
Vietnamese blog Tinhte.vn has now specifically said that it's just 7mm thick, as well as confirming the inclusion of Touch ID and showing off some new photos, which are oddly lacking a mute button, though this is probably a non-final version we're looking at, so the button may will make it onto the retail slate.
A more comprehensive leak claiming to show off a prototype iPad Air 2 in pretty much all its glory has also hit the web, revealing subtle design changes rather than a total overhaul.
Something worth noting in this series of images is the fact the Touch ID button from the iPhone 5S appears to be on the iPad Air 2, backing up Kuo's claim that the biometric tech will land on the slate and matching other images that we've seen.
Touch ID seems to be the feature of choice surrounding most of the next-gen iPad rumors, as another image claiming to show the iPhone 6,iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2 highlights the fingerprint scanner on all three devices.
Another recent leak mentions that Touch ID will be included in the new iPad Air and that it's going to be more durable than the current incarnation.
We've also seen yet another photo of the iPad Air 2, this time alongside an iPhone 5S and with Touch ID just as much of a focus as it has been in previous images.
It appears the iPad Air 2 just can't stay away from cameras, as a series of shots appeared on ASCII Plus showing off the front, rear and sides of a tablet which looks very similar to the ones appearing in previous leaks.
The report does state that the device next to the current iPad Air in the shots is a mock up of Apple's tablet, so it has to be taken with a pinch of salt - but again it's more of the same with no slider switch above the slightly redesigned volume keys.
Further images have emerged, this time supposedly showing the rear cover and they largely line up with what we've seen so far. It's evident from them that the volume controls have been recessed into the frame, while the speaker grille is now a single line of holes and there appears to be a microphone next to the rear camera.
As for what colours the iPad Air 2 will be available in, sources speaking to Bloomberg claim that there will be a gold option, alongside the expected silver and grey shades.
While we loved the iPad Air, there's always room for improvement. Head over to page three to see what we'd love to see on the iPad Air 2.
The iPad Air is a great device but even brilliance can be built upon, so there's room for improvement for Apple's sixth generation slate - aka the iPad Air 2.
Since the Air shares much of its design and many of its components with the latest iPad mini, some of this list overlaps with what we want to see for the iPad mini 3. But given the new iPad Air will be the flagship model, there are a few other things Apple could do.
A bigger screen
There's always a tradeoff between portability and screen size, but the success of some competing tablets shows that there is a market for devices larger than the iPad.
And before you dismiss the idea, remember this is the company that said it wouldn't build a smaller iPad and then went on to design the wildly successful iPad mini.
Recent rumors have raised the spectre of a 12.9-inch iPad, significantly larger than the current 9.7-inch screen and running at 2K or even 4K resolution.
While the current Retina display running at 2,048 x 1,536 pixels could arguably already be described as 2K or very close, having a physically larger screen would be good for movies and photo editing, and Apple likes to boast about statistics when it suits.
Of course, this could actually be the much-vaunted iPad Pro, which would mean the iPad Air would stay the same - and if that's the only way to maintain portability, we're all for it.
Current rumors are pointing to a more 'pressure sensitive' display, which would allow for better reception of prods from your digits and even that much-fabled iStylus that could do everything but make the tea for you.
Bluetooth mouse support
As the iPad gets more powerful it becomes a more realistic proposition as a work machine, with current models inching closer to being dubbed true laptop replacements. The only problem is that touch input just isn't as accurate as mouse input for some tasks.
Adding support for mice or graphics pen-style devices over Bluetooth could make the iPad a more usable device for more complex tasks, especially when it comes to graphics apps.
This would be quite a step for Apple since it touts touch as easy and intuitive, but it would nonetheless be welcomed by some users.
iPads have had a front-facing camera for ages, and the Camera app is already able to detect faces when focusing.
So it would be nice to have some means to unlock or authenticate your device by simply holding it up as you normally do and having the camera recognise you. However, there's a big caveat here: Apple needs to do what it did with Touch ID and make the system work instantly, and be very hard to spoof.
There are other possibilities instead, such as eye tracking, scrolling pages depending on your eye movements, or pausing movies when you look away. Again, we've seen these already, so we'd be looking to Apple to make the system flawless.
Like the Mini, the iPad Air still lacks the Touch ID sensor found in the new iPhone 5S. This seems a little odd for an expensive flagship device, and in future you can expect to see fingerprint sensing used for more than just unlocking a device, so putting it in the iPad would enable easier downloads, logins and even user switching.
Its current omission may be a cost issue, in the sense that Apple wants to protect its profit margins, but over time all technology tends to become cheaper so it would be a welcome inclusion and based on the rumors we're hearing it probably will be included.
A card slot
Look, we know that a lot of people reading this will laugh in our faces, but hear us out. We know there's no way Apple will put a card slot in its sleek, machine-tooled surfaces of its iPad but there's no doubt that a way to bring content more easily on and off the tablet is needed.
With games and bigger music and video apps easily eating up 1GB or more, the base 16GB iPad can quickly fill up, especially if you're going to be away from your computer and unable to re-sync new content easily.
So if it's not a card slot (which it won't be, unless the moon suddenly turns into a banana and gravity inverts) then some other ability to sync content - be it a digital locker, a Lightning port connector with card slot that can do more than just photos, or some other idea.
Come on Apple, we're not doing all the work for you.
A haptic screen
Touch is pretty amazing though we all take it for granted now. An interesting way for Apple to go could be to use a pressure-sensitive haptic screen in its iPad lineup.
As well as providing better interaction for painting and drawing apps, it could surely leverage the extra input information for other purposes like pressing hard on a link to open it in a new tab.
A file browser
This is more of an iOS wish than specifically an iPad one, but iOS currently provides no real access to a file storage or manipulation area.
Sure, third party apps do this, each in their own way but if Apple implemented it at a system level it could standardize the process of downloading files (not currently supported by Safari), saving documents and storing stuff so that all developers could provide a better overall experience - and would facilitate expandable storage in some form, as we mentioned earlier.
Apple wants you to use iCloud to sync all this kind of stuff but that presumes that you always have a network connection and that users will happily pay to upgrade the measly 5GB of standard iCloud storage associated with each Apple ID.
A quad core CPU
It's true that Apple's dual core A7 performs better than most quad core mobile CPUs in everyday use and this is down to the fact that by making the processor and the software and tightly controlling both, it can optimize everything very well.
But just imagine that level of expertise being applied to a quad core CPU. Track counts and frame rates would go up, render and load times would go down - it's going to happen at some point, and the boon in creativity, already one of Apple's taglines to buying it tablets, would be immense.
So a quad core iPad seems likely, though the timing is less clear. The physically larger battery available would mean the Air likely goes quad core before the iPad Mini ever could - but would Apple really want to switch out its strategy?.
A better camera
The iPad's two cameras are good, but there's no real limit on how good people would like them to be.
It's not just about screen sizes, since the Air already shoots in HD, but improving the quality of the image, the zoom and stills performance would all be welcome and seem likely contenders for inclusion in future versions of the iPad, since camera technology is constantly advancing.
By the way, we don't mean the rear camera. That can go down to 2MP if it would make the design better, as it might discourage the scourge of tablet photography. We mean the front camera, improving it for use as a video conferencing tool and taking self portraits for social networks.
By live we mean the ability to have two apps on screen at the same time. Imagine streaming iPlayer while checking your email, and not having to switch out of one to see the other.
There would have to be limits, like not allowing two apps to play sound at the same time, but it seems plausible enough on the larger screen of the Air plus its significant processing power.
Again some other manufacturers have tried this with limited success, so it would be up to Apple to show them how to do it right - ideally it would be contextual or even Siri-driven, allowing you to be working on a spreadsheet or watching a movie and say 'Siri, is my train delayed?' and have what you were doing staying front and center with the information subtly popping up.
Article Source: iPad Air 2 release date, news and features