Apple's iPad Air 2 Is Thin With Glare Resistance and More

1 - Apple's iPad Air 2 Is Thin With Glare Resistance and More
2 - That Is One Thin Tablet
3 - Same Screen Size, but Better Glare Resistance
4 - Apple Unveils a New-Generation Processor
5 - Apple Boosts the Cameras in the iPad Air 2
6 - Apple Improves the Wireless Connectivity
7 - At Last, Touch ID Comes to the iPad Air 2
8 - Console-Like Gaming (for Those Who Want it)
9 - The 16GB Storage Seems Rather Disappointing
10 - The Pricing One Would Expect
11 - Preorders Start Oct. 17, Ship Week Later
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Apple's iPad Air 2 Is Thin With Glare Resistance and More

by Don Reisinger

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That Is One Thin Tablet

When the iPad Air was unveiled last year, Apple touted that it was the same thickness as a pencil. This year, the company has reduced its thickness by 18 percent, making it just 6.1mm in depth. Two iPad Air 2s stacked atop each other are the same thickness as the original iPad.

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Same Screen Size, but Better Glare Resistance

Apple hasn't gone with a different screen size in the iPad Air 2. The device boasts a 9.7-inch screen that comes with the latest Retina display technology. While that means better-looking graphics on-screen, Apple said that it has also added an anti-glare technology that reduces the screen's reflection by 56 percent compared with the previous model.

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Apple Unveils a New-Generation Processor

Surprisingly, Apple didn't go with the A8 processor it unveiled in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Instead, the company has bundled the A8X processor in the iPad Air 2, which it claims, has 2.5-times faster graphics performance than the previous generation and 40 percent faster CPU performance. One other important note: The A8X is flanked by the M8 motion coprocessor for those who want to track their movement and health.

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Apple Boosts the Cameras in the iPad Air 2

Apple has improved the cameras in its iPad Air 2. The company's rear-facing camera has 8 megapixels and comes with support for panoramic images that are 43 megapixels in size. The rear-facing camera can also record 1,080p video. Meanwhile, the front-facing camera has gotten its own improvements, including a 2.2 aperture that features burst selfies. Yes, Apple has officially acknowledged that it needs to serve the selfie craze.

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Apple Improves the Wireless Connectivity

As expected, Apple has ensured that the iPad Air 2 supports the latest wireless technologies. The device comes with full support for 802.11ac WiFi. In addition, the device, like its predecessor, will connect to wireless networks running on 4G LTE. It also supports Bluetooth 4.0.

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At Last, Touch ID Comes to the iPad Air 2

Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor that has been available on the iPhone for the last two years, is officially coming to the iPad Air 2. The feature will obviously add some security features through biometrics, but will also allow for support with Apple Pay. That said, the iPad Air 2 does not include a near-field communication chip, so it won't work in-store.

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Console-Like Gaming (for Those Who Want it)

Apple has made clear that it believes gaming is extremely important to the value of the iPad Air 2. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of marketing, said that the device will actually deliver console gaming, thanks to the A8X, Metal and improved work with app developers. For gamers, that's good news.

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The 16GB Storage Seems Rather Disappointing

Apple has stubbornly stuck to the 16GB storage option in the iPad Air 2. Those who have used iOS 8, which will come on the device, know that it takes up several gigabytes of space, leaving precious little for other storage. And since there's no microSD slot, owners of the 16GB option might have trouble keeping data on the devices. Interestingly, Apple has also ditched the 32GB option in the iPad Air 2, giving customers either a 64GB or 128GB option in addition to the 16GB version.

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The Pricing One Would Expect

Apple refuses to change its pricing scheme. The iPad Air 2 starts at $499 for the 16GB option and goes up to $599 and $699 for 32GB and 64GB versions, respectively. Apple adds $130 to all of those prices when customers choose the 4G LTE options. In terms of color, customers can choose between a space gray, silver or gold. Only the space gray comes with a black front panel.

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Preorders Start Oct. 17, Ship Week Later

So, the ultimate question might be rather simple: When does this thing launch? According to Apple, it will start offering preorders on the iPad Air 2 on Oct. 17 and the tablet will ship starting next week. Apple didn't put an official stamp on the launch day, but customers who order online should expect to have the new device in-hand by Oct. 24 at the latest.

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