It seems like just yesterday that Steve Jobs stood on the stage and revealed the iPad to an uncertain but eager audience. More than three and a half years later, the iPad is a household name all the world over, with a popularity that rivals the iPhone. Today Apple revealed the fifth iteration of the full-sized iPad, and it's the first to carry a major physical redesign ... and a new name.
Meet the iPad Air. If its design looks familiar, that's because its casing looks like a larger version of its smaller sibling, the iPad mini. It's the mini's narrower bezels and thinner build married to the larger model's 9.7-in. Retina Display. The iPad Air measures at just 7.5 mm (0.3 in.) thick, and weighs a mere 454 g (1 lb), 30 percent lighter than the previous iPad.
On the inside, the new iPad should be much faster than last year's 4th-gen iPad (Apple advertises 2x faster processing and graphics). The new model is powered by the new A7 system-on-a-chip, found in the iPhone 5s. It also adds the iPhone 5s' M7 motion coprocessor.
Despite slimming down, Apple advertises the same ten hour battery life from the previous full-sized iPad. The tablet also adds faster Wi-Fi (with support for multiple antennas), and more LTE bands in the cellular-data enabled model. It ships in silver/white and space gray/black color options.
The iPad Air launches next Friday, November 1, for the same price points as its predecessors: starting at US$500 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi only model, and moving up from there.