iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 specs and features: Apple's new tablets are thinner - but is that all?

Apple's new iPads get Touch ID and the iPad Air 2 is the thinnest tablet yet

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The Independent Tech

Apple has unveiled two new iPads including the updated iPad Mini 3 and its thinnest tablet ever, the iPad Air 2.

Both tablets look identical to previous versions but come with Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor (first introduce in the iPhone 5s) while the Air 2 also gets Apple’s latest mobile processor, the A8X.

Apple says this chip is 40 per cent faster than previous processor and has 180 times the graphic performance of the original iPad. Unfortunately the iPad Mini 3 comes with the same A7 screen as the previous generation.

The screen sizes of the devices remain the same – 9.7 inches for the iPad Air 2 and 7.9 inches for the iPad Mini 3 – although both are now available in gold. The iPad Air 2 is just 6.1mm thick, 18 per cent thinner than the 7.5mm iPad Air.

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The new line-up (and prices) of Apple's tablets.

Apple has also updated the iSight rear camera on the Air 2, giving it a new 8-megapixel sensor, wider f2.4 aperture and new capture modes including slow-motion video, panoramas, burst shots and time lapse. The front-facing camera has also been updated with a larger aperture.

Both tablets are available with 16, 32 or 128GBs of storage and with mobile data and Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi only. The Mini 3 is priced at $399, $499 and $599 while the Air 2 is available from $499, $599 and $699, with mobile data costing an additional $130 at each price point.

Apple was quick to point out that despite declining tablet sales they’ve now sold more than 225 million iPads since their introduction in 2010. CEO Tim Cook pointed out that this was more than any other Apple product, and that even in their most recent quarter more tablets were sold than PCs from any single manufacturer.

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How thin is the iPad Air 2? Half as thin as the original iPad.

Apple fans might be disappointed by the lack of startling new features (and by the lack of new chips on the iPad Mini 3 – no longer simply a smaller package for the iPad Air) but Apple spent much of the event pushing the family of Apple products, including their new Continuity features.

These software updates (iOS 8 on mobile devices and OS X Yosemite on Macs – both available free) allow users to swap work between devices, share internet connections and pick up calls and send texts via computer.

Apple's latest tablets might not have much to shout home about in terms of innovative hardware, but their vision for a computing ecosystem that works seamlessly is still unparalleled.

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