During the company’s iPad event today, Apple has officially announced the iPad Air 2, which is the successor to the iPad Air.
The iPad Air 2 remain largely unchanged from the previous generation as far as looks are concerned, save for a different camera and the new Home button which now comes with Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which is probably one of the biggest features on these new iPads.
The iPad Air 2 is also lighter and thinner than the iPad Air, mostly thanks to Apple getting rid of the “air gap” in the display that has existed on every iPad model. With that air gap gone, the tablet can be thinner and also reduce light glare. The front glass and the actual display are now bonded together, just like the Microsoft Surface, allowing Apple to make the device thinner without sacrificing a lot of internal space.
Of course, the tablet come with performance improvements across the board, including the new A8X processor, which is a 64-bit chip that offers 2.5x faster GPU performance and 40% faster CPU performance than the A7 processor that’s in the iPad Air. The new flagship tablet also comes with the new M8 motion processor, just like in the iPhone 6.
Improvements have also been made to the iPad’s camera, with the iPad Air 2 featuring an 8-megapixel sensor that can record 1080p video. We’re not sure if this is the same camera that’s in the iPhone 6, but we wouldn’t be surprised. Camera quality has definitely improved here. The iPad Air 2 also comes with Burst Mode and Slo-Mo Video Mode that were first introduced in the iPhone 5s last year.
The front-facing FaceTime camera also gets improved, with a wider aperture that lets in 81% more light, allowing for better video quality and improved selfies.
Of course, Touch ID is probably one of the biggest new features of the iPad Air 2. It was definitely one of the features that users were looking forward to ahead of the iPad Air event last year, especially after it was introduced on the new iPhone 5s just a month earlier, but Apple sadly did not deliver such a feature that time around. However, we’re finally seeing it make its way to Apple’s tablets.
Touch ID can be used to unlock the iPad, make iTunes purchases, and authorize Apple Pay payments on your iPad. However, there’s no NFC in the iPad Air 2, so it’s limited to in-app payments only.
The iPad Air 2 will be priced starting at $499 and pre-orders will start tomorrow. The tablet will begin shipping at some point next week.