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iPad Air release date, price, features and specs

The iPad Air is official. The new Apple iPads have been revealed on stage by Tim Cook and Phil Schiller. and one of the biggest surprises is the naming of the new 'iPad 5' as the iPad Air. But what's new?

MORE: iPad Air review

The iPad 4 remains our favourite premium, full-sized tablet, so what does the 5th generation iPad bring to the table. Read on for all the details on the release date, price, specs and features.

iPad Air release date

The new flagship Apple iPad Air has now been launched and has a UK release date of Friday November 1st, with Apple Stores to begin taking sales at 8am.

It's the first iPad to include China in the first wave of launch countries, and will be sold through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores, select carriers and select Apple Authorised Resellers.

Starting on November 1, iPad Air will be available in the UK, the US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China (Wi-Fi models only), Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao (Wi-Fi models only), Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

iPad Air price

The cheapest iPad Air, the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model, has a price tag of £399, the same as the iPad 4.

The iPad Air is £479 for the 32GB model, £559 for the 64GB model and £639 for the 128GB model.

iPad Air with Wi-Fi + cellular (with 4G LTE) will be available from £499 for the 16GB model, £579 for the 32GB model, £659 for the 64GB model and £739 for the 128GB model.

The only other iPad to remain on sale is the old iPad 2, with the iPad 4 now discontinued (the iPad 3 was already consigned to the bin). This iPad 2 (without a Retina display) is available at £329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and £429 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model.

So, even if you're not fussed about the latest specification Apple tablet, it might be worth picking up an iPad 2.

iPad Air design

The iPad Air lives up to its MacBook cousin's 'Air' title, with an incredibly thin body. It has a 43% slimmer bezel and is now just 7.5mm thick, down from 9.7mm. It is also much lighter, at just 450g.

"The power of lightness" is Apple's tag line for the new iPad Air, with a 24% reduction in overall volume, for those of you worried about tablet weight.

There is still the same 9.7in display, 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina screen, but there's now "twice the power" thanks to the new A7 chip and M7 coprocessor.

The new, Apple-designed A7 chip in the iPad Air sports 64-bit "desktop-class architecture" and aims to best the previous generation iPad's CPU and graphics performance, which is no mean feat.

There's a 5-megapixel iSight camera, dual microphones and two antennas for improving audio performance and filtering out background noise.

iOS 7 is of course inside the new iPad Air, and there a range of iPad Air smart covers and cases in a choice of colours.

iPad Air features

Sadly, many of the rumours surrounding possible features didn't prevail when the iPad Air came to fruition. There's no 8MP camera, just a 5MP. And no TouchID fingerprint sensor like the one found in the iPhone 5S.

The battery life remains at 10 hours, but of course the A7 chip claims to be faster an more powerful, so the same battery life is not too shabby.

The iPad Air is now 4G LTE compatible, with 2x faster WiFi thanks to two antennas and MIMO technology claiming WiFi download speeds of up to 300Mbps (for all of you with WiFi that fast...)

iOS 7 and Apple's huge library of apps (over 475,000 made for iPad) are of course a major selling-point, with iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers and Keynote all free with the iPad Air. All these apps are optimised for 64-bit architecture.

iPad Air specs 

9.7 inch Retina display

A7 processor with 64-bit architecture

Ultrafast Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity

M7 motion coprocessor for improved efficiency

Battery life is rated at a maximum of 10 hours

5MP iSight camera with 1080p HD recording

16-128GB storage

MORE: iPad Mini 2 Retina release date, news and rumours

by Priya Patel

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Joe Cox

Joe is Content Director for Specialist Tech at Future and was previously the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across print and online for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features. 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 provided comment for sites such as the BBC and the Guardian. In his spare time he enjoys mixing vinyl and cycling.