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Apple Announcement: iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, and Apple Pay Launch

Apple Announcement: iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, and Apple Pay Launch

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It’s been just 5 weeks since Apple announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but Apple made some more major announcements today, revealing the iPad Air 2, the iPad Mini 3, and a new version of iMac. Tim Cook also announced that the much anticipated Apple Pay will be available this coming Monday, October 20.

The iPad Air 2 is now the world’s thinnest tablet, with a thickness of 6.61mm (thinner than a pencil), an 18% reduction on the Air. Online ordering begins tomorrow and it will now be available not only in silver and ‘space grey’, but also in gold. Another long awaited feature is the addition of a Touch ID Home button. This is a new level of fingerprint security, but even more critical from Apple’s perspective, it means compatibility with Apple Pay which launches with iOS 8 on Monday.  In terms of photos, the iPad Air 2 has an 8 megapixel, f2.4 rear-facing iSight camera, representing a big upgrade over the 5MP, f2.4 camera in the original Air. iSight camera has new FaceTime camera sensor and lets in 20% more light. Slo-Mo videos are also a new feature.

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There’s a WiFi only model which starts at $499 for 16G, and a WiFi + Cellular model that starts at $629. Continuing its policy of selling past generations, Apple will retain the original Air for $100 less than the new Air 2.

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The iPad Mini 3 will also feature Apple’s Touch ID sensor, which lets users unlock their devices with their fingerprints. The iPad mini 3 is powered by an A7 chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture. This also is Wifi enabled. According to Apple,

“iPad mini 3 keeps you connected faster than ever. In more locations than ever. Two antennas and MIMO technology give iPad mini incredible Wi‑Fi performance. And the Wi‑Fi + Cellular model supports fast cellular networks around the world — including LTE networks. So you can download content, stream video, browse the web, and share documents with AirDrop at amazing speeds.

Both iPads will be using iOS 8. The gold color option and Touch ID Home button seem to be the largest upgrades since the last generation, with the new models continuing to use the A7 chip from the original Retina iPad mini. They are available for pre-order tomorrow, October 17, and will begin shipping next week.

Apple Pay officially begins Monday. Learn more here.