Apple Unveils iPad Air

 In Product Releases/ Updates

Apple unveiled the fifth generation of the iPad on today at an event in San Francisco, called the iPad Air. The new model sports a thinner design and a 64-bit processor, a feature first seen in the iPhone 5S.

The physical design is lighter and thinner. Where the previous iPad was 1.4 pounds, the iPad Air weighs just 1 pound. The thickness drops about 20% — from 9.4 millimeters to 7.5mm (0.30 inch). Apple says the iPad Air is the lightest “full-size” tablet in the world.

The iPad Air’s 9.7-inch screen has a pixel resolution the same as before, at 2,048 x 1,536. The chip inside is the same as the one in the iPhone 5S, the 64-bit A7. Apple says the performance is double that of the previous generation. Compared to the first iPad, the iPad Air has 8x the performance and 72x better performance on graphics. The iPad Air also packs the M7 motion coprocessor that pulls data from the device’s accelerometer, gyroscope and compass.

The new iPad has two built-in microphones for improved audio while making FaceTime calls and recording video.

Apple says the iPad Air is twice as fast as the iPad 4 on Wi-Fi networks, and it supports the new standard of 802.11ac. The rear camera is 5 megapixels, same as the iPad 4. The 32.4-watt-hour battery is rated at 10 hours.

The pricing is the same as previous iPads, starting at $499 for 16GB, available in white, black and “space gray.” Capacity goes up to 128GB for $799. The iPad 4 will be discontinued, but Apple is keeping the two-year-old iPad 2 in its lineup, starting at $399 for 16GB.

The iPad Air will go on sale worldwide, including in China, on Friday, Nov. 1. It includes more support for LTE networks, and Apple will offer a version through T-Mobile, completing the iPad’s availability on all four major U.S. carriers.