Note: This post was updated with new iPad Air information.
The new iPad Air will seek to win tablet users over in an already-very crowded tablet market.
This is no small feat. Apple is currently being out-paced by Samsung in the tablet department. iOS tablets account for 28.3% of Q2′s (2013) shipments, which is a significant drop from last year’s 47.2% market share in the same quarter. Apple must make a statement with its new iPad Air if it hopes to become the king of the tablet.
So will the new iPad Air be a game-changer?
Apple is launching a redesigned sleeker tablet with a lot more under the hood. The new iPad will likely be a tech nerds' dream with all of the under-the-hood stuff, but might turn some buyers away with it's steep price.
The iPad Air will start at $500 for the 16GB model, $629+ for the iPad 16GB with cellular access.
The release date of the new iPad will be two weeks after the announcement, so right about the first week of November.
This is the first major redesign of Apple's flagship tablet since the iPad 2 was released in March 2011. What will it look like? The iPad Air will borrow heavily from the iPad Mini when it comes to design. This means that the iPad Air is going to have narrower bezels and be a lot thinner than the outgoing model. The iPad Air is 20% thinner at only 7.5mm thickweighs just a pound, making it the lightest full-sized tablet in the world. This new iPad has a 10-hour battery life, and comes in silver, white, space grey and black.
The new iPad will have the same screen resolution as its predecessor, 2,048 x 1,536. According to Apple, this is a Retina display, which means you can't see the pixels from a normal viewing distance. The resolution won't be improved. Instead of going for more resolution, then, Apple seems more likely to focus on screen thickness and quality.
The iPad Air features the 64-bit A7 processor and M7 motion coprocessor found in the iPhone 5S, which Apple says is 8 times faster and has 72 times better graphics performance than the old processor. It also has a 5-megapixel iSight camera and FaceTime HD front-facing camera and 10 hour battery life. Apple says the iPad Air has twice the data transfer rate on Wi-Fi thanks to new MIMO 802.11n support, but it doesn't support 802.11ac.
iPad remains an elite brand in the tablet market, and Apple will hope the iPad Air will push its market share up. So far, Apple has sold 170 million iPads since it launched three and a half years ago in April 2010. That's up from the 100 million iPads Apple said it had sold just one year ago at the iPad mini introduction. To go along with it, there are 475,000 iPad apps in the App Store — nearly half of the one million total apps available.
The iPad tablet is critical for Apple. The tablet market was struggling during its early stages, but momentum has picked up as we move into a mobile world. PC sales are plummeting while tablets are on the rise.
Tablet shipments are expected to surge 43% to more than 263 million units in 2014, making it almost as big a market as PCs.
A new, faster, better iPad Mini 2 was also announced. iPad mini is getting upgraded with a new Retina display. The new display's resolution is 2048 x 1536, and the processor powering it is the same 64-bit Apple A7 chip as in the brand new iPad Air. Available in November.
Here are the price specs:
Be sure to check back soon for more details and updates.