New iPads Go On Sale Tomorrow; Shipping Next Week

ipadair2As predicted — and leaked by Apple — the company’s big announcement today was for the next generation of its iPad tablets.

“We’ve got a few more things to share with you before we close out the year,” declared Apple CEO Tim Cook at the opening of today’s press event.

After about 45 minutes of showing off things that most people don’t care about, he finally got to the reason everyone showed up.

Calling the iPad a “simple and magical device,” that has sold some 225 million units over the last four years, Cook unveiled the iPad Air 2.

Claiming it’s the world’s thinnest tablet, the Air 2 will be 6.1mm, that’s 18% thinner than iPad Air. In fact, you can stack up two Air 2 tablets on top of each other and still not be as thick as the original iPad.

The new display includes an anti-reflective coating that reduces reflection by 56%, so you won’t be as bothered with occasionally staring at your reflected face in the screen during a dark scene of some Netflix movie you’re watching.

The Air 2’s A8X chip, an iPad-specific chip based on the A8 that debuted in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, improves CPU performance by 40% and provides graphics processing that is more than twice as fast as the iPad Air.

The Air 2 boasts 10-hour battery life for those who can’t plug in. And the Touch ID fingerprint lock is now included in the iPad Air 2.

The improved 8MP rear-facing camera shoots 1080p HD video and for the first time offers burst-mode shooting, time-lapse and slo-motion (120fps at 720p). The Air 2 also includes dual microphones for better audio performance

Many of these features will also be included in the iPad Mini 3, which is launching at the same time.

So when are these going on sale?

Both the Air 2 and the Mini 3 will be available in three colors — silver, space gray and gold.

The Air 2 will start at $499 for 16GB, $599 for 64GB, and $699 for 128GB. LTE-ready models will add $120 to each of those prices (so, $629, $729, and $829).

The iPad mini 3 will begin at $399 for 16GB, $499 for 64GB, and $599 for 128GB. Again, add $120 to each price level for LTE-compatible mini 3 tablets.

In spite of reports that demand for the iPhone 6 was delaying iPad production, Apple will begin taking pre-orders for new tablets tomorrow, Oct. 17, and plans on shipping them to customers next week.

Apple is also dropping prices on older models of the iPad:

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