iPad Air officially announced by Apple [UPDATED]Alex Wagner - Editorial Director of News and Content
One month after Apple gathered a bunch of journalists into a room to introduce the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, the Cupertino firm has corralled everyone together once again to introduce some larger-screened devices.
The first new piece of mobile hardware announced by Apple today is the iPad Air. This new iPad features the first major redesign that we've seen on Apple's full-size tablet since the iPad 2, sporting a new iPad mini-like look with rounded edges and narrower side bezels. Apple has also bumped up the processor that powers the iPad, throwing in the new A7 chip that's also found in the iPhone 5s.
As you might've guessed by its new name, the iPad Air has lost a bit of weight compared to its predecessor. Apple says that the iPad Air is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth-generation iPad, weighing in at 1 pound. The iPad Air also has those shrunken side bezels, which are said to be 43 percent narrower than before.
Apple has made some big changes to the internals of the iPad Air as well. The new device is the first iOS device to feature Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) tech, which enables double the Wi-Fi performance of previous models. The 4G LTE-equipped version of the iPad Air also includes expanded LTE support for more carriers around the globe. Rounding out the iPad Air's spec list is a 5-megapixel rear camera, an improved front-facing FaceTime HD camera and a battery that Apple claims will last up to 10 hours.
The new iPad Air will be available starting Friday, Nov. 1, with pricing for the Wi-Fi-only model set at $499 for the 16GB version, $599 for the 32GB model, $699 for the 64GB flavor and $799 for the most capacious 128GB variant. Meanwhile, the 4G LTE-enabled iPad Air will start at $629 with 16GB of storage and go up to $729 for 32GB, $829 for 64GB for $929 for 128GB of memory. In the U.S., the LTE-equipped iPad Air will support AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and, for the first time, T-Mobile. The iPad Air will be available in either space gray or silver and white.
Apple also announced today that the iPad 2 will continue to stick around its lineup. The second-gen iPad will be available at a price of $299 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model or $429 for a version with 16GB of space and 3G connectivity for either AT&T or Verizon.
UPDATE: Apple's website has revealed the plan options that consumers will have if they decide to use their iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina display on T-Mobile. The page shows that Magenta will be giving customers 200MB of data per month for free, while heavier data users will be able to sign up for a 2.5GB data plan for $30 per month or a 4.5GB plan for $40 per month.