iPad Air 2
iPad Air 2Apple

The long-expected sequel to the iPad Air debuted at Apple's big "It's been way too long" event at its Cupertino, California campus.

CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPad Air 2, which was dubbed "the world's thinnest tablet."

But the iPad Air was a big success, so simply shaving off a few millimetres won't convince consumers to upgrade.


Design

Here's where the iPad Air 2 really stands apart. Cook and co. were playing up the iPad Air 2's outrageous depth. At only 6.1 mm thick, it's 18% thinner than the 7.5 mm of last year's original iPad Air.

The iPad Air 2 also weighs less than a pound, although its 0.96 pounds is only a marginal improvement on the original Air's one pound wight.

The Air 2's colour palette is improved, with gold now an option, as well as classics silver and space grey.

iPad Air 2 side view
iPad Air 2 side viewApple

Screen

On the screen front, the Apple Air 2 has a new anti-reflective coating that reportedly reduces glare by 56%.

The first Apple Air had a Retina display, but Apple said that this model is a "new" Retina display. I'm not sure what's new about it.


Camera

The iPad Air iSight camera was beefed up for this new model, going from 5 megapixels to 8, and adding a handful of new image optimisation tools.

This tablet, however, bucks the high-resolution selfie trend, instead sticking with a FaceTime camera of 1.2 megapixels.

What the iPad Air 2's camera does improve is face detection and the introduction of 'burst mode,' which will work well selfies.

Slow-mo filming is another fresh feature for the iPad Air 2.

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds an iPad Air 2 during a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California October 16, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook holds an iPad Air 2 during a presentation at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California October 16, 2014Reuters/Robert Galbraith

Hardware

The new Apple A8X chip, which is installed in the iPad Air 2, delivers a 40 percent improvement in CPU performance and more than doubles the graphic performance of the original iPad Air.

It's also got Touch ID fingerprint scanner built for Apple Pay compatability. In this way, the iPad Air 2 is a big step up.

That's not to neglect the new tablet's M8 motion coprocessor that gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and a barometer which detects air pressure to provide relative elevation.

The original iPad Air runs on the A7, which as arithmetic indicates is 1 lower than that which powers the Air 2.


Software

The new iOS 8.1 is considerable step up, with Apple Pay and Continuity. The latter will allow users to connect their mobile device (such as the iPad Air 2) with desktops and laptops running OS X Yosemite.

Handoff, part of the Continuity feature, allows users to start an activity on one device and carry it on instantaneously on another, so long as the iCloud accounts are synced.


Release date and price

Naturally the iPad Air 2 is more expensive than the original. Its suggested retail cost is £399 for the 16GB model.

The iPad Air will now cost you £319.

The latest tablet is available to pre-order on October 17 and will be released next week.