Apple has unveiled the iPad Air, a top-of-the-range tablet that is 20% thinner than the previous version.
The 9.7in computer is 0.3in thick and weighs 1lb, which Apple claims is the lightest full-sized tablet on the market.
iPad Air is powered by the same A7 chip found in Apple’s iPhone 5S.
The launch comes at a time when some analysts have suggested that Google’s Android is about to overtake Apple’s iOS as the bestselling tablet platform.
Apple also announced a new version of its iPad Mini.
Apple has unveiled the iPad Air that is 20 percent thinner than the previous version
iPad Mini’s 7.9in screen has been upgraded to feature 2048 by 1536 pixels – the same as the larger model. It is being branded as “retina” to highlight the increased resolution.
Apple also announced that the latest version of its Mac operating system, Mavericks, would be offered at no cost to owners of computers already running any version of OS X released since 2009. It is the first time the company has not charged for a major Mac OS upgrade.
By contrast the full version of Windows 8.1 is sold for about $150, although it is free to existing Windows 8 users.
Linux-based Ubuntu has always been offered without charge. Chromebook computers also get free upgrades for Google’s PC operating system.
New laptops, productivity and leisure apps were also unveiled. However, Apple did not show off a new TV set-top box as some had speculated.
At 6:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, Apple CEO Tim Cook is set to take to the stage in a San Jose theatre to introduce Apple’s latest blockbuster product – a mini tablet set to fend off competition from Amazon’s Kindle Fire and a raft of relatively cheap smaller tablet computers.
The shrunken iPad is rumored to have a screen that is 7.8 inches across the diagonal – which compares to 9.7 on the original version.
Tech watchers suggest the device – like the latest incarnation of the iPhone – will work on the superfast 4G mobile network.
Apple is said to be planning to charge $350 for the smaller version, which is around half the price of the cheapest iPad 3.
However, it will remain considerably more expensive than Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which costs $200, and the higher specification Kindle Fire HD, which is $250.
Amazon has suggested it is selling its tablets at a loss in order to get it into the hands of families.
The idea is that it can then cash in through sales of a vast library of books, music, films and TV programmes.
Apple’s innovative phones, tablets and computers have always come with a hefty price premium, while its rise to become the world’s most valuable company has been fuelled by sales through its vast iTunes store.
It is thought that Apple will also launch a tweaked version of the iPad 3 that works on the 4G network.
iPad Mini is thought to be 7.85in diagonally, compared to the 9.7in of the full-size iPad.
This would allow it to be used easily on public transport, and fit into a (large) jacket pocket.
TrustedReviews is predicting the mini – which some are dubbing the iPad nano – will use a 1,024 x 768 pixel panel.
Apple’s yet-to-be-announced iPad Mini has apparently been revealed in full for the first time in the best set of pictures yet leaked on the internet.
iPad Mini has apparently been revealed in full for the first time in the best set of pictures yet leaked on the internet
Sonny Dickson, a researcher for fansite 9to5mac.com, published the images on his Twitter feed last week, sparking a wave of excitement among Apple enthusiasts.
The images show a device that is significantly smaller than the regular iPad.
According to rumors it boasts a 7.85 in liquid crystal display, making it a rival to Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
The images also show the iPad Mini utilizes the controversial new connector introduced with the iPhone 5, which has made all accessories available to previous Apple gadgets obsolete at a stroke.
It also emerged that Apple had instructed suppliers in China to manufacture 10 million of the new smaller tablet computers, showing faith in their product in the face of stiff competition.
Insiders say the iPad Mini will go on sale November 2.
As yet, however, Apple has not officially confirmed any of the reports, rumors of leaks about a smaller iPad.