At their event earlier today, Apple announced brand new tablets across the board, with updates to the iPad Air and iPad Mini. The big takeaways? The iPad Air lives up to its name even more than before, and Touch ID has finally come to Apple’s tablets.
The iPad Air 2 will now be 6.1 mm thick, which is the thinnest tablet on the market, by quite a bit for the iPad Air’s size range. It’ll have the same 9.7″ form factor as before, and while the display is the same quality (2,048 x 1,536), the layers are now optically bonded and an anti-reflective coating has been put on top, so you can fully enjoy that screen in the brightest of sunlight. Inside, there’s a brand new A8X processor, which is 40 percent faster than the A8, with a 2.5x faster graphics processor and a more advanced motion processor. The rear camera is now an 8 MP offering with an f/2.4 lens capable of taking 1080p video or slo-mo 120fps video in 720p. The front camera can take burst selfies now, which is rapidly becoming a thing among smartphones and tablets.
The big addition this time around is the Touch ID sensor that was before only found on the iPhone. If you’ve already used the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone, it works the same way here—you can use your thumbprint to log in to your tablet, Apple services, and some third-party apps like Evernote.
As for connectivity, the iPad Air 2 will feature the latest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac, with a MIMO antenna for better signal reception. It’ll also be compatible with LTE networks, with max download speeds of 150 Mbps.
Less talked about was the iPad Mini 3. We know it’ll have the Touch ID sensor. Besides that, a new color, and iOS 8.1, it appears to be the exact same tablet as the iPad Mini 2.
Speaking of iOS 8.1, that will be available for all compatible iOS devices on Monday. The update will fix bugs from the iOS 8.0 release, while adding Continuity and Apple Pay and bringing back Camera Roll. Continuity is a new feature that will allow you to access SMS messages and files on all Apple phones, tablets, and computers seamlessly, with updates pushed to all of your devices instantly. This will work with video calls, too, as demonstrated with a video chat that drifted from iPhone to Mac with Stephen Colbert at the show.
Both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 will now come in a new gold color. The iPad Mini 3 will start at $400, while the iPad Air 2 will start at $500 for the 16 GB model. Prices for the iPad Air 2 go up by $100 for each step up in internal storage (64 GB, 128 GB) and $130 for each model if you add 4G LTE connectivity. Pre-orders will start tomorrow, with both expected to ship by the end of next week.