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Just a few hours ago, Apple held an event that showed off the newest generations of some of their most popular products. We saw the new generation of MacBook Air and Pro computers first, shortly followed by what many of us here at PhoneDog were waiting for - the new iPads. And new iPads we were shown! During the event, I found myself pleasantly happy with what I was seeing. Although there wasn't necessarily anything groundbreaking about the new iPads this year, there were certainly appropriate changes that were needed that had been made this year.

Let's start with the new iPad Mini. The most notable change about this 7.9-inch tablet is that it now features Apple's Retina Display, something that people had been hoping for initially with the release of the first iPad Mini. However, with the iPad Mini being the first and only "mini" tablet running iOS, it's not surprising that it still sell rather well for those who had been waiting for a smaller iteration of the popular iPad. But despite what I thought was the biggest problem with the first generation iPad Mini, I'm happy (although not surprised) to see that Retina Display has indeed been included with this year's release of the tablet.

Of course, that's not all that has changed with the iPad Mini. Along with improvements to the display resolution, you also have improvements under the hood as well. The new iPad Mini has been described as being 4 times faster than last year's model, as well as 8 times faster at graphic-intensive tasks. Perhaps even more importantly than the fact that the performance has improved on the iPad Mini, it doesn't come at a cost for battery life. Apple claims that the iPad Mini still features 10 hours of battery life - and if you're anything like me when it comes to tablet usage, you can make that 10 hours last a very long time with sparing usage. The iPad Mini also features MIMO WiFi support (which stands for multiple input/multiple output; that means your WiFi works faster) and also extended LTE bands for those who choose to use the cellular versions of the tablet. The cameras on the iPad Mini have also been upgraded slightly. The new iPad Mini will sell for $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, and will come in either black or white colors.

So the iPad Mini has received some much-needed upgrades to this year's model - super nifty! But what about the yearly upgrade to the original 10-inch iPad? Let's check out the deets on what the 5th-generation iPad has in store for us.

This year's iPad isn't called the iPad 5, or The New iPad, or really anything that anybody was expecting it to be called. Instead, Apple decided to name this iPad after another popular line. This year's 10-inch iPad is named the iPad Air, and if you're into products that are thin and light, the iPad Air is going to be the tablet that's right up your alley. Apple claims that the iPad Air is the lightest full-sized tablet in the world at just 1 pound, down from the 1.9 lbs that it weighed last year. Along with the weight loss, Apple also shed off some of the bezelling on either side of the screen - by about 43%, in fact. They also took off some of the thickness. The iPad Air measures at 7.5mm thick, down from the 9.4mm thick that it was last year.

The iPad Air might be sizing it down in physique, but when it comes to specs they're sizing it up.

The iPad Air features the same A7 processor that is found in the iPhone 5S. The processor makes the device 2 times faster in response time and 2 times faster when it comes to graphics when compared to last year's model. You also have a 5-megapixel iSight camera on the back of the device that can record 1080p HD video, and a FaceTime HD camera on the front. Like the iPad Mini, you can expect to see about 10 hours of battery life in the iPad Air as well. The iPad Air will start selling at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, and will come in silver, white or space gray.

So now we know what the newest offerings are from Apple, but what about the older models? What happens to them?

Last year's iPad Mini will still be available for those who don't need Retina Display, and will sell for $299. As for anything in the 10-inch range to consider along with the iPad Air, Apple also has the iPad 2 available for purchase for $399. No, you didn't read that wrong - yes, Apple is still keeping the iPad 2 on the shelves, and they're selling it for the same price as the iPad Mini. Personally, this was the most questionable decision that came out of today's event given that the iPad 2 was released more than two years ago in March of 2011. However, that's another discussion for another time.

So now that we have all of the details of Apple's tablet lineup for this year, what are your thoughts? Do you plan on picking up one of the new iPads, or perhaps you'll snag a first-generation iPad Mini or an iPad 2? Let us know your thoughts and plans in the comments below!

Images via Gizmodo, iMore


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