Apple’s fifth generation tablet is finally here. Unveiled today at a special company event in San Francisco, the brand new iPad Air squeezes a powerful processor into a tiny package that represents the company’s slimmest and arguably sleekest contribution to the mobile universe.
At 7.5 millimeters, the iPad Air is thinner than a pencil and 20 percent more compact than Apple’s previous full-sized tablet. It’s also extremely light with a weight of only one pound, down from 1.4 pounds before.
In a video shown during CEO Tim Cook’s keynote, Apple chief of design Jony Ive boasted that the company succeeded in “reducing the physical size of the product” without compromising on performance. Utilizing the 64-bit A7, the same chip found in the iPhone 5S, the tablet delivers 72 times better graphical performance than the original iPad while providing twice the data transfer rate on Wi-Fi networks as the iPad 4.
The device will hit stores on November 1 starting at $499. It shares the same aesthetic as the iPad Mini, which saw its price slashed down to $299 today to make room for a new Retina Display-equipped model that is also set to launch next Friday.
The tablets were announced in conjunction with OS X Mavericks, which is now available for free download along with the iWork lineup of productivity applications and the iLife design suite.
Keynote, Apple’s answer to Sharepoint, features new transitions with more realistic animations. Numbers has been upgraded with object-based design and interactive charts, while the latest iteration of iLife introduces improved iMovie editing features and a new book making tool for the mobile version of iPhoto.
Finally, GarageBand has been revamped with a new look and an array of new options, including the ability to add backup drummers and purchase additional instruments.