Apple’s iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 tablets are unveiled Apple has announced a new version of its tablet, the iPad Air 2, which it said was the thinnest device of its kind on the market.

It is 6.1mm (0.24in) thick, and
also gains a Touch ID fingerprint
sensor.
It has an anti-reflective coating
on the screen for the first time,
and the A8X – a faster version of
the processor featured in the
firm’s latest iPhones.
However, some analysts have
questioned whether the
upgrade will be enough to turn
around iPad sales.
An upgraded version of the
firm’s smaller tablet – called the
iPad Mini 3 – was also
announced.
Like its bigger sibling, it gets the
company’s fingerprint
recognition component. But it
uses the older A7 processor and
has a lower-resolution rear
camera.
Apple said the iPad Air 2 was
18% thinner than the
previous model
Some of the details were
published by Apple, reportedly
by mistake, on Wednesday.
Apple’s last earnings release
revealed that it had sold 13.3
million iPads in the April-to-June
quarter. That marked a 9% fall
on its tally for the same period in
2013, despite the fact the
company saw sales of iPhones
and Mac computers rise.
It also contrasted with an 11%
rise in the number of tablet
shipments across the market as
a whole – with Lenovo and Asus
making some of the biggest
gains – according to data from
IDC.
The market research firm said
that the iPad remained the
bestselling tablet brand, but that
its market share had dropped
over the year from 33% to
26.9%.
Cannibalised sales?
One expert suggested that the
recent launch of the 5.5in
(14cm)-screened iPhone 6 Plus,
which shares most of the new
iPads’ features, could further
temper demand.
Apple announced an
upgraded version of its iPad
Mini in addition to the bigger
model
“Given that Apple’s launched
larger iPhones, it needs to find a
market that the iPad Mini fits
into,” said Jitesh Ubrani from
IDC.
“It was a response to the market
as a whole moving to smaller
tablets. And now that phablets
are growing in not just screen
size but also in market size,
unless Apple carves out a special
place for it, we expect sales of
the Mini in particular to be
cannibalised quite a bit.”
Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook
has told investors he still
believes that the tablet market
will eventually surpass that of
PCs, and has pointed to a recent
deal with IBM – involving the two
firms co-developing business-
centric apps – as a way to get
iPad sales on “a faster
trajectory”.
Mr Ubrani agreed that targeting
businesses had huge potential,
but warned that sales to
consumers would remain a
challenge.
Apple joked about thwarted
attempts to prevent leaks,
during its press conference
“People who have the old iPad 2
or more recent versions are still
happy with these devices – they
are still functioning perfectly
fine,” he said.
“There’s really no reason to
upgrade.”
Other new features of the iPad
Air 2 include an eight megapixel
rear camera that can now
capture slow-mo videos at 120
frames per second. The front
camera has also been upgraded
to allow in more light and take a
rapid succession of selfies.
Marketing chief Phil Schiller
unveiled the new iMac with a
5K screen
In addition, the machine
includes a new type of wi-fi chip
that supports faster data speeds,
including downloads at up to
866 megabits per second
(Mbps).
“It is disappointing – particularly
to enterprise buyers – that there
wasn’t a 12.9in [32.8cm] iPad
model,” said JP Gownder from
research firm Forrester, who
otherwise praised the update.
“In order to return iPad to high
growth, form factor innovation
will be required.”
The new tablets will become
available to buy next week at
similar prices to before.
New iMacs
Apple also introduced a new
model of its all-in-one iMac
computer featuring what it said
was the highest resolution
display on the market.
The computer has a 27in
(68.6cm) screen that has a
resolution of 5K – 5210 by 2880
pixels – offering about five times
the detail of a “full HD” 1080p
television.
That represents four times the
number of pixels found in the
standard iMac of the same size.
Apple has created this graphic
to compare the resolution of
different display types
The basic model will cost $2,499
(£1,555) and is already available
for sale.
Lenovo already sells the N308 –
an all-in-one Android-powered
desktop PC with a 19.5in
(49.5cm) screen offering slightly
lower 4K resolution, while
Panasonic has the Toughpad
MB5025 – a 20in (50.8cm) 4K
computer that runs Windows 8.
Intel and Samsung have also
announced plans to
manufacture 4K screens for
other all-in-one PCs.
Otherwise, large ultra-high
definition display are still a rarity
in the computing sector beyond
the use of separate monitors,
which may aid demand for the
new computer.
“There is a huge difference in
quality once you start moving
through the different sets of
screens,” remarked Ranjit Atwal,
research director at the tech
consultancy Gartner.
“Given the amount of
consumption people are doing
of online video, and the quality
of what they can get from
services like YouTube and Netflix
on 4K TVs, they want to see that
replicated on a PC as well.”
Apple suggested that people
doing visual productivity tasks,
such as photo editing, would
also benefit from the innovation.
The latest version of the Mac
operating system is available
for download today
Apple also announced an
upgraded version of its
screenless computer, the Mac
Mini, but there was no mention
of an update to its Apple TV set
top box, which last received a
hardware refresh in March
2012.
The company also said that the
latest version of its operating
system for Mac computers – OS X
Yosemite – was being made
available for download this
Thursday.
The software allows data to be
swapped back and forth with
iOS-powered iPhones and iPads
more easily than before. Its user
interface has also been designed
with higher resolution screens
in mind.
The company added that version
8.1 of iOS, which introduces
support for its near field
communication (NFC)-powered
payment service Apple Pay,
would be released on Monday.

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