Apple releases thinner iPad Air, iPad Mini 3

Both new models get Touch ID fingerpint scanning | Free iOS 8.1 and Yosemite released | Apple Pay for Americans | New iMac with "world's highest resolution display".
Apple  launched new iPads this morning at an event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California: the second-generation iPad Air and the iPad mini 3.
 
The company is banking on the new tablets to turnaround iPad sales, which have fallen over the past couple of quarters due to a lack of new models, increasing Android competition, and a PC market that has bucked expectations.
 
Apple also said it would launch Apple Pay on Monday — allowing Americans to buy things instore with a swipe of their iPhone 6 or 6 Plus; made the free iOS 8.1 and Yosemite available, and released a new iMac with "the world's highest resolution display".
 
The two new iPads both gain Touch ID, formerly only available on the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus
 
The technology, which sees the Home button double as a fingerprint scanner, can be used for logging on, plus some online and (for Americans) instore purchases.
 
Beyond the addition of Touch ID, the the 7.9-inch iPad mini 3 is almost identical to its predecessor. It will sell from $599 (scroll to end of RAW DATA below for full pricing).
 
The new iPad Air (6.1mm deep and 450g) is much thinner than the first-generation model (7.5mm, 478g). It also gets a 40% faster processor and an improved camera (see a full comparison chart here). It will sell from $749. 
 
The Air has the same 9.7-inch size display as a regular iPad.
 
"World's highest resolution display"
Apple also unveiled the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display, which it billed as "the world’s highest resolution screen" with 14.7 million pixels.
 
At the US launch, the company's line was that it was the same price as you would pay for a 4K (ultra high definition) TV, but with a high-end desktop computer thrown in as well.
 
The new all-in-one iMac starts at $3699.

Apple Pay from Monday — for Americans
Apple says Apple Pay, allowing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners to buy something with a swipe of their phone over a terminal, will launch Monday.

A small army of partners is onboard including American Express, MasterCard, Visa, various US banks Apple says represent 83% of retail purchasing volume, and retailers including Starbucks, McDonalds, Subway, Walgreens, Macys, Uber, Groupon, Target and many others. All up, the company says 220,000 retail outlets are lined up.

There won't be an NZ launch in the foreseeable future. Visa and MasterCard have yet to introduce the necessary trusted digital token technology on their networks here , and have no plans to do so until some point next year — at which point Apple can start to decide when it will roll out the technology in NZ.

Joint venture Semble, backed by all NZ phone companies but only a couple of banks so far, is offering an Android-only digital wallet at this point.

iOS 8.1, Yosemite
Apple also released two free software updates: iOS 8.1, an incremental update to the software that runs iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, and Yosemite, an update to Mac OS X.

iOS 8.1 has two key features: the first is support for the aforementioned, US-only Apple Pay. The other is iCloud Photo Library, a replacement for the Photo Stream, storing photos from all your devices online. Along with an expanded iCloud Drive service. iOS 8.1 also brings back the Camera Roll, a feature that iOS 8 originally stripped out.

Yosemite is a major overhaul of the look of the OS X interface and several important apps that takes its design cues from iOS. It's been described as simple, colourful and with a lot of translucent elements. It’s also an attempt to make switching between iPhones, Macs, and any other Apple product quick and painless. iCloud Drive will sync files between devices, and a feature known as Handoff will let you start an activity -- like reading something in Safari or working on a document -- on one iOS or OS X device, then pick up another and keep working exactly where you left off.

Mac mini refresh
Apple also refreshed its Mac mini, which its now promoting as "the world's most energy efficient computer."

The new Mac minis ships from today  in three standard models: a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.7 GHz, 4GB of memory, Intel HD Graphics 5000 and a 500GB hard drive starting at $749; a 2.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, 8GB of memory, Intel Iris Graphics and a 1TB hard drive starting at $1049; and a 2.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8GB of memory, Intel Iris Graphics and a 1TB Fusion Drive starting at $1499. Apple's "Fusion Drive" system combines a traditional hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD or Flash memory).


RAW DATA: Apple statement

 
Apple Introduces iPad Air 2—The Thinnest, Most Powerful iPad Ever

iPad Air 2 & iPad mini 3 Now Featuring Touch ID

CUPERTINO, California—17 October, 2014—Apple® today introduced iPad Air™ 2, the thinnest and most powerful iPad® ever. Now just 6.1 mm thin and weighing less than 450 grams, iPad Air 2 features an improved Retina® display for enhanced contrast and richer, more vibrant colours, and better cameras for taking stunning photos and videos. Available in gold, silver and space grey, the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini™ 3 offer Touch ID™ so users can unlock their iPad with just the touch of a finger.

“iPad is a magical piece of glass that runs more than 675,000 apps¹ specifically designed for it, and is thin and light enough that you can comfortably hold it all day; the new iPad Air 2 is packed with amazing new innovations, weighs less than 450 grams, and at just 6.1 mm is the thinnest tablet in the world,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPad Air 2 has a new Retina display with anti-reflective coating, second generation 64-bit A8X chip, all-new iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, faster Wi-Fi and LTE wireless, and includes the revolutionary Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor.”

Engineered for unmatched portability and ease of use, iPad Air 2 offers a beautiful, precision unibody enclosure of anodised aluminium for durability and a solid feel. The improved Retina display features a fully-laminated design that brings images and content closer to the user’s fingertips, resulting in an even more personal and intimate experience. A custom-designed anti-reflective coating reduces glare by 56 percent2 for a clearer display in the office, the classroom or outdoors.

iPad Air 2 is powered by the new Apple-designed A8X chip, which delivers a 40 percent improvement in CPU performance and 2.5 times the graphics performance of iPad Air, and still delivers the up to 10-hour battery life³ users expect while working, playing games or surfing the web. Combined with Metal™, the new graphics technology in iOS 8, the A8X chip unlocks realistic visual effects comparable to the most advanced gaming consoles. iPad Air 2 also includes the M8 motion coprocessor that gathers motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and an all-new barometer which senses air pressure to provide relative elevation.

Innovations to the iSight® and FaceTime® HD cameras in iPad Air 2 enable better photos and videos, with an 8MP sensor and advanced optics in the iSight camera to help capture rich, detailed images and add new features including panoramic in Photos, time-lapse video, slo-mo and 1080p HD video. The FaceTime HD camera now captures over 80 percent more light than iPad Air’s camera, and features burst mode as well as HDR stills and video. With thousands of powerful apps that take advantage of iPad’s amazing cameras and large Retina display viewfinder, iPad becomes a tool that can scan and annotate documents, help study the sky above and provide athletic performance analysis—all with just a tap.

iPad Air 2 delivers faster connectivity with 802.11ac Wi-Fi with Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology for 2.8 times the Wi-Fi performance of iPad Air at data rates up to 866 Mbps.4 iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular integrates even more LTE bands and comes with expanded LTE for up to 50 percent faster cellular connections,5 plus support for other fast cellular technology around the world (DC-HSDPA, HSPA+).

Touch ID gives iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 users a simple and secure way to unlock iPad with just the touch of a finger, plus the ability to authenticate within apps to better protect logins and data. Touch ID can be used as a secure way to approve purchases from the App Store℠, iTunes Store® or iBooks Store℠.

The new iPads come with iOS 8.1 including Continuity features across iOS 8 and OS X® Yosemite that enable all your Apple products to work together seamlessly. Handoff lets you start an activity on one device and pass it to another, and when your iPhone® is on the same Wi-Fi network, you can make and receive phone calls right from your iPad.

Pricing & Availability
The iPad mini line has been updated to include iPad mini 3 with Touch ID and iPad mini with Retina display, now called iPad mini 2 and starting at recommended retail price (RRP) NZ$449 inc. GST, is even more affordable. Both iPads feature a stunning Retina display, amazing A7 chip, 5MP iSight camera, FaceTime HD camera and ultrafast wireless. iPad mini is also available at its most affordable price, starting at RRP NZ$379 inc. GST.


iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 come in three gorgeous metallic finishes including gold, silver and space grey, and customers in 30 countries can order online beginning Saturday, 18 October. Both iPads will be available starting later next week in the US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China (Wi-Fi models only), Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau (Wi-Fi models only), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Availability in Croatia, Greece, Puerto Rico, Russia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere around the world, will continue through the end of October with additional global availability in the coming months. iPads are sold through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com/nz), through Vodafone and select Apple Authorised Resellers.

iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi models will be available for a RRP of NZ$749 inc. GST for the 16GB model, RRP NZ$899 inc. GST for the 64GB model and RRP NZ$1,049 inc. GST for the 128GB model. iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for a RRP of NZ$949 inc. GST for the 16GB model, RRP NZ$1,099 inc. GST for the 64GB model and RRP NZ$1,249 inc. GST for the 128GB model. iPad mini 3 with Wi-Fi models will be available for a RRP of NZ$599 inc. GST for the 16GB model, RRP NZ$749 inc. GST for the 64GB model and RRP NZ$899 inc. GST for the 128GB model. iPad mini 3 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for a RRP of NZ$799 inc. GST for the 16GB model, RRP NZ$949 inc. GST for the 64GB model and RRP NZ$1,099 inc. GST for the 128GB model.

iPad Air, iPad mini 2 and iPad mini, available in silver or space grey, are offered at now more affordable prices. iPad Air starts at RRP NZ$599 inc. GST for the 16GB with Wi-Fi model, iPad mini 2 starts at RRP NZ$449 inc GST for the 16GB with Wi-Fi model, and iPad mini will starts at RRP NZ$379 inc. GST for the 16GB with Wi-Fi model.

To complement the new iPads, a colourful range of cases and covers offer both protection and customisation with iPad Air and iPad mini Smart Covers available in seven bright colours and Smart Cases for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini offered in five new elegant shades. Custom-designed polyurethane Smart Covers for iPad Air and iPad mini will be available for a RRP of NZ$59 inc. GST in black, white, blue, green, pink, yellow and (RED). iPad Air 2 Smart Cases are available in beautiful aniline-dyed leather in midnightblue, olive brown, black, soft pink and (RED) for a RRP of NZ$129 inc. GST with Smart Cases for iPad mini available in those same colours at a RRP of NZ$119 inc. GST. Smart Covers and Smart Cases are available through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com/nz) and select Apple Authorised Resellers.
 

¹ App count refers to the total number of apps worldwide. Not all content is available in all countries.
2 Over the previous generation iPad Air.
3 Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results may vary.
4 Based on theoretical speeds, actual speeds may vary.
5 LTE is available through select carriers. Network speeds are dependent on carrier networks. Check with your carrier for details.

 

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