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Meet Apple's new iPad range

Apple announced its eagerly awaited new line-up of iPads yesterday, and it managed to keep some of the details under wraps until today. Our own Agents Lawton and Naish were eagerly watching; so what do they think?

iPad Air

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Apple's Phil Schiller announcing the new iPad Air.

It's safe to say that everyone was expecting a new iPad, and that it would be more powerful. What no one seems to have expected is that the weight would be the big change. As soon as Phil Schiller announced the new iPad, you could tell Apple had gone a bit further than everyone expecting. Apple announced the iPad Air, slimmer (by 20%), faster (64 bit A7 processor) and at less than 500g, it's 28% lighter than its big brother. That means its lighter than a pack of minced beef!

This falls in line with the direction Apple took when it released the Macbook Air, so it clearly knows there is a big market in portability and convenience. Not only is the iPad Air lighter, more powerful and redesigned, it is also going to be released under the same price range as the current iPad line-up. In other words, Apple has managed to strengthen its hold on the tablet market without having to charge over the odds for it.

Apple decided to keep the choice of colours, though the White and Black have been replaced with a Space Gray and Silver to match up with the current iPhone 5S range.

If the snazzy graphics and charts are anything to go by, this thing is going to be a fun, fast tablet! Apple spent so long talking about the iPad Air that Agent Naish thought this was the last announcement, and Agent Lawton was figuring out how to sell his current iPad mini for an iPad Air, when suddenly...

iPad Mini with Retina

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The iPad mini with Retina display packs a lot of pixels into the small screen.

The iPad Mini finally showed its face, and what a face it has! To be specific, that means a 1536 x 2048 resolution to match its bigger brother. Considering the 7.9-inch screen size, that's a crazy amount of pixels packed into such a small area.

You might be wondering what the difference is - except for the size - between the iPad mini 2 and iPad Air. Well, we saw last night that the answer is: nothing. That's the shock. This is an iPad mini with the resolution, and powerful A7 processor, that its larger counterpart will be coming with. The Retina display was expected, but to include the 64-bit processor and exactly the same spec from the iPad Air is definitely an impressive move by Apple - and will no doubt win over a lot of tablet buyers.

Choices, Choices!

Apple have really tried to cater for everyone out in the market today. It's worth mentioning that once again, Apple are continuing to sell the non-Retina versions of both the iPad mini and the iPad 2. Plus the current iPad mini is getting a price drop, so you can still pick up a bargain with these devices!

With the new line-up there was also a new range of iPad and iPad mini smart covers announced too. Bear in mind that the iPad Air has changed enough in size from the older iPad that it's likely it won't fit correctly in older cases.

No fingerprint sensor?

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The iPhone 5S came with Fingerprint ID, but does the iPad need it?
Image by randychiu

With the new iPad range, we haven't seen anything of the fingerprint sensor, which became quite a talking point on the iPhone 5S. So why leave this out?

Apple has been quite clever in being able to improve the functionality of its tablet range without bumping the price up, which wouldn't be possible if they added the fingerprint sensor as well.

If you use a smart cover you can currently pick up an iPad and use it instantly. Until they decide to use the Touch ID for user profile switching, then we're happy to see it omitted.

price

Apple have certainly made a smart move when it comes to pricing the iPad range. In a tablet market that's becoming more and more competitive, it's wisely knocked a few £s off the existing range and given its new tablets some affordable price tags for the specs on offer.

They've dropped the cost of the iPad 2 down to £329 and the iPad mini to £249.

And prices for the iPad Air start from £399 and the iPad mini with Retina from £319.

We can already hear the sound of pens furiously scribbliing on Christmas lists everywhere...

Coming very soon!

The iPad Air will be launching worldwide on November 1st, and the iPad mini will be coming sometime later in the month. This is going to be a hot Christmas item so it is expected to fly off the shelves.

Here at Geek Squad HQ, we're impressed by the iPad mini being so powerful, and the iPad Air cementing why it's one of the best tablets on the market by perfecting its winning form. Let us know in the comments section below if, like Agent Lawton, you can't wait until November 1st to get your hands on one of these gorgeous lightweight tablets!

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