Apple Unveils 10.5-Inch iPad Air With Pencil Support, Starts at $499

Also announced is a new 7.9-inch iPad mini that also includes Pencil support, as well as an advanced Retina display and a faster processor.

iPad Air

Apple has just launched its latest upgraded iPad Air and iPad mini models, which include improved performance due to faster A12 Bionic 64-bit processors as well as support for the optional Apple Pencil input stylus. The new machines, which can be ordered immediately, start at $499 for the iPad Air and $399 for the iPad mini.

The faster processor, which is already included in other Apple machines, now brings the same power to the smaller versions of the company's popular iPad tablets. Apple's A12 Bionic chip incorporates advanced machine learning and Apple's Core ML framework to enable augmented reality experiences, photo-realistic effects in 3D games and high-performance graphics capabilities within apps for users, according to the company.

Both of the diminutive iPads now also include the same WiFi performance and Gigabit‑class LTE connectivity that are included in Apple's larger and more powerful iPad Pro models, giving users expanded connectivity capabilities.

The addition of Apple Pencil interoperability means that users of the two new iPads can purchase the optional $99 device and bring new creative capabilities to the smaller tablets, from drawing and writing down thoughts to marking up documents, retouching photos and more. The Pencil can be used with popular apps including Procreate, Notability and Microsoft Office. Similar capabilities will arrive soon for use with Pixelmator Photo.

iPad Air

The latest iPad Air features a 10.5-inch, LED-backlit, multitouch Retina display (2224 x 1668 resolution at 264ppi); 64GB or 256GB of onboard storage; an 8-megapixel rear main autofocus camera with an f2.4 five-element lens and 1080p HD video recording; a 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with an f2.2 lens and 1080p HD video recording; and WiFi or WiFi and cellular capabilities.

The 64GB iPad Air comes in silver, space gray or gold colors and starts at $499 for the WiFi model and $629 for the version with both WiFi and cellular capabilities.

The latest iPad Air gains a 70 percent boost in performance and twice the graphics capability of the model it replaces, according to Apple.

iPad Mini

The latest iPad mini features a new 7.9-inch, LED-backlit, multitouch Retina display (2048 x 1536 resolution at 326ppi); 64GB or 256GB of onboard storage; an 8-megapixel rear main autofocus camera with an f2.4 five-element lens and 1080p HD video recording; a 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with an f2.2 lens and 1080p HD video recording; and WiFi or WiFi and cellular capabilities. With its new A12 Bionic processor, the iPad mini promises three times the performance and nine times faster graphics than the iPad mini it replaces.

The new iPad mini comes in silver, space gray and gold colors and starts at $399 for the WiFi model and at $529 for the version with WiFi and cellular capabilities.

"iPad continues to provide magical new experiences for a growing range of uses where it is the absolute best device, from playing games in augmented reality to note-taking and drawing with Apple Pencil, from streaming HD movies and editing 4K films to learning to develop apps with Swift Playgrounds," Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a statement. "Today the iPad family takes two big leaps forward with an all-new 10.5-inch iPad Air that brings high-end size, features and performance at a breakthrough price, and a major upgrade to the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which also brings Apple Pencil, Retina display and the A12 Bionic chip to the many customers that love its compact size."

The new iPads are available for order immediately and will be available in stores next week, according to Apple.

An optional smart keyboard for the 10.5-inch iPad Air is priced at $159.