iPad Air 2 promises "best tablet display you've ever seen"

Apple has officially announced the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. The new iPad Air promises "the best tablet display you've ever seen, in the thinnest tablet".

Both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 feature Apple's fingerprint sensor for Touch ID, as seen on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Both new iPads are available for pre-order from tomorrow, Friday, 16th October, with shipping expected towards the end of the following week. Both will ship with the new iOS 8.1 software, which will be available as a free download for all iOS devices on Monday.

Prices for the iPad Air 2 start from £399, while the iPad Mini starts from £319. The original iPad Mini is now available from £199.

HANDS ON: Apple iPad Air 2 review

HANDS ON: Apple iPad Mini 3 review

iPad price drop

The iPad Air 2 prices start at £399 for the wi-fi-only 16GB model, the same as the original iPad Air, while the iPad Air 2 with wi-fi+cellular starts at £499 for the 32GB model.

The iPad Mini 3 with wi-fi will be available from £319 for the 16GB model, £399 for the 64GB model and £479 for the 128GB model. iPad Mini 3 with wi-fi+cellular will be available from £419 for the 16GB model, £499 for the 64GB model and £579 for the 128GB model.

Prices for the existing iPads have dropped as a result: iPad Air starts at £319 for the 16GB with wi-fi model, iPad mini 2 starts at £239 for the 16GB with wi-fi model, and iPad mini starts at £199 for the 16GB with wi-fi model.

The iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 come in a new gold metallic finish, as well as the familiar silver and space grey colours.

225 million iPads sold

The new iPad Air 2 still has a 9.7in, 2048 x 1536 resolution display, but claims to deliver "vivid colours and greater contrast" and sports an anti-reflective coating - "the least reflective display of any tablet in the world".

The Air 2 a new A8X processor, which claims to be 40% faster than the iPad Air, with a 64-bit architecture that Apple says "is as powerful as many personal computers".

There's also a new 8MP iSight camera complete with an M8 motion chip, and a new front-facing Facetime camera, while Apple claims wi-fi is "twice as fast as the previous generation".

Just 6.1mm thin, it's 18% thinner than the first iPad Air, and weighs just 437 grams. The iPad Air 2 battery life claims to come in at 10 hours.

The iPad Mini 3 has the same spec as the existing iPad Mini with Retina display, now known as the iPad 2, but simply adds the fingerprint sensor.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, revealed Apple has sold 225 million iPads to date. "We sold more iPads in the first four years than any product we've sold in our entire history."

A thinner design, faster hardware - the A8 processor and M8 chip - improved camera and superior screen are all likely to be present on the new iPads, while the fingerprint sensor is expected to arrive and bring Touch ID to the iPad.

Apple also confirmed it has added 500 new banks to Apply Pay, its new touch payment service for iOS devices which will go live in the US on Monday, 20th October.

Look out for our hands-on reviews of the new iPads from last night's Apple event on the site very soon.

MORE: What Hi-Fi? Awards: Best tablets 2014

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is Content Director for T3 and What Hi-Fi?, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).