Apple has announced the new iPad Air, featuring a faster processor, and slimmer, lighter design. The new iPad's screen bezel is much smaller than the previous model, and thickness is down 20% from last year's model to 7.5mm.

iPad Air
Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the new iPad Air. (Reuters)

Key Features:

    • 9.7in Retina display
    • A7 quad-core processor plus M7 co-processor
    • Slimmer and lighter design
    • Available 1 November
    • Priced from: £399

Revealed at a press conference in San Francisco, the fifth-generation iPad is powered by Apple's new 64-bit A7 processor first seen in the iPhone 5s in September. The new iPad is joined by an updated iPad mini, which features a high resolution retina display.

It's almost three years since the iPad last saw a major physical design change, and this latest update ushers in a new profile that is thinner and lighter than all previous models. The bezel at either side of the display has been dramatically reduced, while the screen itself remains unchanged at 9.7 inches diagonally. At 453g, the iPad Air is claimed to be the lightest full-size tablet on the market. 

Release date and price

Described as "the biggest step yet" for the range, the new fifth-generation iPad goes on sale in the UK on 1 November, priced the same as before, starting at £399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model.

The new model is available in the same space grey and silver colours as the iPhone 5s.

Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed at the announcement that the company recently sold its 170 millionth iPad since its launch in 2010. Cook also claimed iPads take up 81% of total time spent using tablets globally, leaving Android and other operating systems with just a 19% share of usage time, despite having a larger share of sales than the Apple tablet.

Inside, the new tablet gets the same A7 processor as the latest iPhone, which is said to be twice as fast last last year's iPad. Battery life is the same 10 hours as the year-old iPad 4, and storage options remain the same at 16, 32, 64 and 128GB.

Contrary to rumours, the iPad Air does not offer the Touch ID fingerprint scanner first seen on the iPhone 5s, and is not available in the new gold colour option.

M7 Co-Processor

Alongside the A7 chip, Apple unveiled a new M7 "motion coprocessor" chip which will measure the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass continuously to identify when you are walking, driving, stationery etc.

Display and Camera

The new iPad's display remains unchanged from the last two generations of Apple's flagship tablet, with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 and a pixel density of 264 per inch.

This isn't as high as the slightly larger Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, which has a resolution of 2560 x 1600, but we suspect most users would struggle to tell the difference.

Apple has left the iPad's rear camera the same at 5-megapixels, and the front-facing camera's resolution remains the same at 1.2-megapixels, but this camera includes larger pixels to increase low-light performance.

Despite claims last year of "doubling-down" on security by Apple CEO Tim Cook, the new iPad was widely leaked in the weeks leading up to its debut. Photographs of its rear cover, screen and various internal components appeared online well in advance of Apple's announcement, casting doubt on Cook's claiming of increased secrecy surrounding upcoming products.