Apple’s iPad Air 2 is now official.
The new device was unveiled during a keynote speech by CEO Tim Cook and a host of other execs from the Cupertino company.
But is this newbie take on Apple’s flagship slate worth ditching your old model for? And how does it differ from last year’s superb iPad Air?
Read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Apple’s latest, greatest slate.
1 It’s impossibly thin
At 6.1mm, the iPad Air 2 is absurdly thin.
Last year’s original iPad Air was seen as the pinnacle of slate design and it wasn’t thought that Jony Ive and Apple’s design team could beat that model’s 7.5mm frame.
Well, they did. It puts all other tablets to shame with its svelte looks and is now available in the same grey, gold and silver colours as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
2 It promises lightning speed
Apple claims the new A8X chipset which keeps the iPad Air 2 going offers 40% better performance over the processor found in last year’s iPad Air.
It reckons graphics performance is 2.5x that of the last model too, but says battery life won’t be compromised.
Those are bold claims, but should mean that playing games on this capacious slate will be even better than before.
3 Touch ID is go
Apple has finally brought its fingerprint security tech to the iPad, including Touch ID in the iPad Air 2 and its new iPad mini 3.
That means that as well as being able to securely lock and unlock the device, US users will be able to use Apple Pay to stump up for goods via apps and Apple’s own iTunes and App Stores.
There’s no NFC, so contactless payments will remain the preserve of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners.
4 Its camera is way better than before
At eight megapixels, Apple has given the iPad Air 2’s camera a significant boost.
The ‘iPad as camera debate’ may still rage on, but it seems many users love taking snaps and reeling off video using the Apple tablet.
Hence Apple has also included time lapse video recording, slow mo skills and Full 1080p HD recording.
The front–facing camera lets in 80% more light compared to the original iPad Air, making FaceTime chats less gloomy.
5 It features its own SIM card
This is perhaps the biggest deal, and one Apple only revealed after its event had finished.
The iPad Air 2 features a so–called soft SIM.
That means that rather than having to load up your own fiddly SIM card, you can pick a data plan from a network directly from the settings menu.
This has a number of advantages – you can sign up for short term deals and then switch when a provider offers a better package or you can buy a different data bundle when you travel, hopping onto a local network to keep costs down.
For now, it’s a UK and US-only affair, but this has the potential to revolutionise how we use phones and tablets in the future.