Apple announces the iPad Air, its thinnest and lightest full-size iPad yet

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Apple has officially announced the latest version of its iPad tablet. The newly named iPad Air features a design that's reminiscent of the iPad mini released last year. It's thinner and lighter than prior versions, and features a smaller bezel, which shrinks the footprint of the tablet down without compromising on screen size. Apple says it's 20 percent thinner at only 7.5mm thick, and weighs just 1.0 pound (28 percent less than the previous iPad). The screen remains the same; it's a 9.7-inch Retina Display with 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution. This is the first major redesign of Apple's flagship tablet since the iPad 2 was released in March 2011.

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The iPad Air features the 64-bit A7 processor and M7 motion coprocessor found in the iPhone 5S, which Apple says is 8 times faster and has 72 times better graphics performance than the processor in the original iPad released in 2010. It also has a 5-megapixel iSight camera and FaceTime HD front-facing camera and 10 hour battery life. Apple says the iPad Air has twice the data transfer rate on Wi-Fi thanks to new MIMO 802.11n support, but it doesn't support 802.11ac.

The iPad Air will be available in silver and white and space grey and black color options starting at $499 in dozens of countries on November 1st. An LTE version will be available starting at $629. Apple is also keeping the geriatric iPad 2 in the lineup for $399. All of the new iPads will be shipping with iOS 7.

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