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Apple's new iPad Air 2 is thinner than a pencil
Posted On : Friday,October17,2014 06:45:40 AM
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CUPERTINO, Calif. -- Apple revved up the iPad brand Thursday with a new iPad Air 2 that is just 6.1 mm thick.

"It is the thinnest iPad we have ever made," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

The new iPad Air 2 is so thin that two stacked on top of one and other are still thinner than the original iPad, said Schiller.

Apple will begin to take orders for the new iPads on Friday and they will ship "next week," said Schiller.

As is usually the case, Apple shares were down slightly the day of new product news. Shares dipped about 1%, to $96.78, in afternoon trading.

iPads have become hugely popular, with Apple selling 225 million since they were first launched four years ago, said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

By keeping the previous iPad models in the running in addition to the newer, thinner iPads, Apple has added tablets at different price points. That creates a broader market, said Ben Bajarin, principal analyst with Creative Strategies, a Silicon Valley consulting firm.

"They can use this to fight those (iPad sales) trend lines that are trending down," he said.

The bottom end of the iPad range has now been extended down to $250 for the original iPad Mini, giving a range of iPads from $250 to around $1000. "There's something for almost everyone here," said Jan Dawson, an analyst with Jackdaw Research.

"Apple adds about eight to ten million new iPad customers each quarter, and the new iPads should help keep that momentum going, while expanding the addressable market somewhat at the bottom end," Dawson said.

The addition of the Touch ID fingerprint identification technology, previously only available on the iPhone, to the new iPads will be a major perk for large businesses, he said.

More and more companies are using iPads as work tools, but security is important to them. "Everyone we talked to wanted the Touch ID for security," Bajarin said.

The iPad is so popular because its' "unique blend of simplicity and capability," Cook said.

The iPad Air 2 will come in a new color. In addition to the previous silver and space grey, a new color, gold, is being added.

The price will range between $499 to $699 depending on the amount of storage.

New capabilities include better power using the A8 chip, the same chip used in the new iPhone 6, said Schiller. The chip, which features a 64-bit system, has 25% more CPU performance and 50% more graphics performance but draws only 50% as much power.

The iPad will also include a new iSight 8 megapixel camera as well as improved FaceTime cameras, Schiller said.

The iPad was ready for a makeover. Unlike smart phones, they are not as frequently replaced.

Sales of the iconic tablet, first introduced in 2010, are down 9% for the year, according to IDC, but Apple still leads in market share with 26.9%.

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