The new iPad Air 2 has arrived, and it delivers a more powerful A8X processor and a new anti-reflective display in a design that's 18 percent thinner than its predecessor. There's also a Touch ID sensor on board.
The iPad Air 2 will start at $499 for 16GB, $599 for 64GB and $699 for 128GB. There will be cellular versions for $130 more.
The iPad Air is now .24 inches thick, down from .29 inches on the prior model. The new anti-reflective coating is a first for multi-touch tablets. It reduces reflections by 56 percent. This should come in handy for reading or shooting and viewing photos and videos outdoors.
MORE: iPhone 6 Plus Review
As was rumored, the iPad Air 2 packs an A8X processor with 3 billion transistors The chip promises performance that is 40 percent faster and 2.5X faster graphics. The slate also includes a motion co-processor with a built-in barometer.
Although we're not fans of shooting with tablets, the Air 2 sports an improved camera. There's an 8-MP iSight camera that does burst mode photos and 43-MP panorama shots. A new FaceTime HD camera offers improved face detection and burst selfies.
The iPad Air 2 comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and faster LTE with more bands (20 of them). You'll be able to get up to 150 Mbps.
The Touch ID sensor will let you not only take advantage of Apple Pay in stores but also when you're shopping online.
Apple also announced the iPad mini 3, the latest version of its compact tablet. Starting at $399, the mini 3 features a 7.9-inch Retina display, a new FaceTime HD front camera, a 5-MP rear shooter and 802.11n Wi-Fi with MIMO.
Despite the fact that tablets sales haven been sluggish in the wake of phablets, Apple has sold a whopping 225 million iPads to date. In addition, Apple now offers 675,000 iPad apps, which is far more than the competition. Stay tuned for a full review.
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Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.