Apple has sprung a minor surprise by announcing the launch of its latest tablet iPad Air, as well as revealing a new version of the iPad mini.
The tech giant had been expected to announce a new fifth generation iPad, but Apple marketing chief Philip Schiller said the new product deserved a new name.
‘Thinner, lighter, more powerful than ever before,’ he told an invited audience in California, claiming the new iPad was ‘incredibly, excitingly new in so many ways’.
The iPad Air is 72 times faster than the original iPad, released in 2010, with a 9.7in retina display screen, a 43 per cent smaller bezel, and at 20 per cent thinner overall weighs just 1lb.
Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook said the new iPad would begin shipping from November 1.
The new iPad mini meanwhile will feature retina display for the first time, starting at $399 (£246) for 16GB Wi-Fi only, with the existing iPad mini dropping to $299 (£184).
Metro’s technology editor James Day said: ‘Tim Cook called it Apple’s largest iPad launch ever and it’s hard to disagree.
‘Thinner, lighter, faster is a heavily repeated Apple mantra but the iPad Air is impressive in all the right areas and its design brings it in line with the iPad mini.’
‘This is significant because it’s now a straight decision between which size Apple tablet you want as you’re no longer compromising on screen quality or processing power.’