Apple launches new iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 with Retina display

Apple has confirmed the launch of the new iPad Air at an event in California, refreshing its full-size iPad, but not exactly how the rumours predicted – renaming the new iPad, not as iPad 5, but as iPad Air.

It replaces the existing iPad 4 and keeps the same price tag, with prices from £399, and will be released on November 1st. The iPad 2 is the only other iPad to remain on sale, with a price tag starting at £329, making a two-strong Apple tablet range.

The new iPad Air was joined by an iPad Mini with Retina display, the second-generation of the iPad Mini cramming the same resolution and pixels as the iPad Air in to a 7.9 in screen size.

Both new iPads boast the "powerful and power-efficient Apple-designed A7 chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture" and promise 8x faster graphics.

The iPad Air is the lightest full-size tablet in the world, weighing just 1lb, and still sports 1080p HD video, a 10-hour battery life.

It's just 7.5mm thin, uses the new A7 chip and is available in silver and white, and space grey and black.

Apple also launched a new iPad Mini with Retina display. The second-generation iPad Mini gets the same Retina screen and chip as the new iPad Air, as expected.

The old iPad Mini is now £249, with prices for the iPad Mini with Retina display starting from £319 for the 16GB WiFi model. It's due for release on November 1st.

The new device wasn't simply called the iPad Mini 2, as predicted, though the addition of the Retina display was certainly far less of a curveball than the all-new name of the iPad Air.

The new 7.9in screen sports the same 2048 x 1536 resolution, 3.1 million pixel display. as the iPad Air, for an impressive pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.

The display of the iPad mini 2 is 35 percent larger than screens on 7-inch tablets, and claims to be the only small tablet to deliver the full iPad experience, such as movies at full 1080p HD resolution.

The 475,000 apps designed specifically for iPad will work automatically on the new iPad Mini, too.

Both new iPads support 4G LTE mobile networks, plus "two antennas to support Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology, bringing twice the Wi-Fi performance", claiming a data rate "up to 300 Mbps".

There's a new FaceTime HD camera with "improved backside illumination sensors" for better low-light performance.

Both the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina display will go on sale on Friday November 1st, with Apple Stores accepting sales from 8am on the day.

MORE: iPad Air release date, price, features and specs

MORE: iPad Mini 2 release date, price, features and specs

by Max Langridge

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Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.