iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 unveiled
Apple has unveiled its newest tablets, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3.
The iPad Air 2 is said to be the thinnest device of its kind on the market.
It is 6.1mm (0.24in) thick and also adds a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
The device also gains an anti-reflective coating and a new chip, the A8X – a faster version of the processor in the company’s latest iPhones.
However, some analysts have questioned whether the upgrade will be enough to turn around iPad sales.
The iPad Mini 3 gains Apple’s fingerprint recognition component.
Some of the details were published by Apple, reportedly by mistake, on October 15.
Apple’s last earnings release revealed that it had sold 13.3 million iPads in the April-to-June quarter. That marked a 9% fall on its tally for the same period in 2013, despite the fact the company saw sales of iPhones and Mac computers rise.
It also contrasted with an 11% rise in the number of tablet shipments across the market as a whole – with Lenovo and Asus making some of the biggest gains – according to data from IDC.
According to the market research company, the iPad remained the bestselling tablet brand, but that its market share had dropped over the year from 33% to 26.9%.
One expert suggested that the recent launch of the 5.5in-screened iPhone 6 Plus, which shares most of the new iPads’ features, could further temper demand.
Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook has told investors he still believes that the tablet market will eventually surpass that of PCs, and has pointed to a recent deal with IBM – involving the two firms co-developing business-centric apps – as a way to get iPad sales on “a faster trajectory”.
Other new features of the iPad Air 2 include an eight megapixel rear camera that can capture timelapse and slow-mo videos. The front camera has also been upgraded to allow in more light and take a rapid succession of selfies.
In addition the machine includes a new type of Wi-Fi chip that supports faster data speeds, including downloads at up to 866 megabits per second (Mbps).
The new tablets will become available to buy next week.
Apple also introduced a new model of its all-in-one iMac computer featuring what it said was the highest resolution display on the market.
The computer has a 27in display that has a resolution of 5K – 5210 by 2880 pixels – offering about five times the detail of a 1080p “full HD” television.
The basic model will cost $2,499 and is now available for sale.
Lenovo already sells the N308 – an all-in-one Android-powered desktop PC with a 19.5in screen offering slightly lower 4K resolution, while Panasonic has the Toughpad MB5025 – a 20in 4K computer that runs Windows 8.
Intel and Samsung have also announced plans to manufacture 4K screens for other all-in-one PCs.
But for now, large ultra-high definition screens are still a rarity in the computing sector beyond the use of separate monitors, which may aid sales of the new iMac.
Apple said the extra detail made it a superior option for editing photos and other visual tasks.
Apple also announced an upgraded version of its screenless computer, the Mac Mini, but there was no mention of an update to its Apple TV set top box, which last received a hardware refresh in March 2012.
The company also said that the latest version of its operating system for Mac computers – OS X Yosemite – was being made available for download this Thursday. The software is designed to allow data to be swapped back and forth with iOS-powered iPhones and iPads more easily than before.
It added that Version 8.1 of iOS, which introduces support for its near field communication (NFC)-powered payment service Apple Pay, would be released on Monday, October 20.
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