ipad_air Apple unveiled the iPad Air on Tuesday, as well as the next generation iPad Mini, with the much-awaited Retina display. Both the new iPads feature the Apple-designed A7 chip, with 64-bit desktop-class architecture. The company also slashed the prices of the original iPad Mini to $299, with the iPad 2 starting at just a hundred dollars more at $399.

Philip Schiller (Senior vice president, Worldwide Marketing, Apple): IPad created an entirely new mobile computing experience, and the new iPad Air is another big leap ahead. It is so thin, light and powerful, once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is.

The iPad Air features a 9.7-inch Retina display, and weighs all of one pound. It is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth generation iPad, says Apple. It has a narrower bezel as well. It delivers up to 10-hour battery life, according to the company.

The new iPad mini with Retina display packs all the 3.1 million pixels (2048-by-1536 resolution) of iPad Air into its 7.9-inch multi-touch display, for a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.

Lets see what they have in common:

  • The A7 chip’s 64-bit architecture and support for OpenGL ES version 3.0 unlocks game console-like visual effects, for both the iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina display, says Apple. 
  • The new iPads feature the M7 motion coprocessor that gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass.
  • Both new iPads feature two antennas to support Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology, bringing twice the Wi-Fi performance to iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, at a data rate up to 300 Mbps, says Apple. Cellular models also come with expanded LTE coverage.
  • iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display feature the next generation FaceTime HD camera with improved backside illumination sensors featuring larger pixels for better low-light performance.

When will iPad Air be available? The iPad Air with Wi-Fi models will be available in silver or space gray from November 1, for $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model, $699 for the 64GB model and $799 for the 128GB model. The iPad Air with Wi-Fi + Cellular, also coming this November, will retail for $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model, $829 for the 64GB model and $929 for the 128GB model. The iPad 2 is now available at $399 or the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $529 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model for either AT&T or Verizon. When will the iPad Mini with Retina display be available? The iPad mini with Retina display will be available later in November in silver or space gray. The iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi models will be available for $399 for the 16GB model, $499 for the 32GB model, $599 for the 64GB model and $699 for the 128GB model. The iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for $529 for the 16GB model, $629 for the 32GB model, $729 for the 64GB model and $829 for the 128GB model. The original iPad mini is now offered at $299 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $429 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model for either AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. [Image courtesy: Apple]