Apple on Tuesday (October 22) took the wraps off a slimmer faster tablet called the iPad Air and said it will give away Mac operating and work software free to its users, challenging Microsoft's near-stranglehold on personal computing.

Apple announced the surprise offer, which will be available to all users of Apple MacBooks and Mac computers, at a product event on Tuesday at which it also unveiled a new line of Mac notebooks and computers.

Its Mac OS and iWork software suite, which compete with Microsoft's Excel, Word and other applications, will now be offered free to all users.

"We are turning the industry on its ear, but this is not why we're doing it," Apple CEO Tim Cook told media and technology executives at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center.

"We want our customers to have our latest software."

Apple's iPad Air is about 20 percent thinner than the previous generation of tablets, starting at £399. But the new tablets would face stiff competition, with Microsoft, Nokia and all plugging rival devices in coming months.

Inside, the new tablet gets the same A7 processor as the latest iPhone, which is said to be twice as fast as 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.

Alongside the A7 chip, Apple unveiled a new M7 "motion coprocessor" chip which will measure the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass continuously to identify your movements.

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.

Presented by Adam Justice

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