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

Apple has unveiled the iPad Air 2, the latest incarnation of its iPad Air range and the thinnest, most powerful tablet it has ever made.

The iPad Air 2 was unveiled by Apple CEO Tim Cook at an event in Cupertino, California, on Thursday. The Apple iPad mini 3 was also unveiled.

It is 18% thinner than the original iPad Air at only 6.1mm in depth.The screen features the lowest reflectivity of any tablet, with a reflective coating that reduces reflections by 56%.

It runs the new generation processor, the A8X, a tablet version of the A8 chip that features on both new models of the iPhone 6.

One of the biggest updates to the iPad Air is the inclusion of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the Home button, a feature previously exclusive to the iPhone 5S and both models of the iPhone 6.

This allows users to take advantage of Apple's new NFC payment system Apple Pay, which will feature on iOS 8.1.

There have also been updates on the iPad's camera, with an 8MP iSight camera and 1080hp video capabilities. The iSight camera can take panoramic photos, as well as slow-motion and timelapse videos.

A new FaceTime camera on the front features several upgrades, including "burst selfies" and HDR.

The actual design of the device is not a great departure from its predecessors, with the lightning connector, speakers, volume controls and sleep/wake button all still in the same place.

Apple has sold over 225 million iPads to date since the first device was launched four years ago. The iPad Air was first introduced last year and currently comprises around 9% of all iPads sold.

"iPad is a magical piece of glass that runs more than 675,000 apps specifically designed for it, and is thin and light enough that you can comfortably hold it all day," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

"The new iPad Air 2 is packed with amazing new innovations, weighs less than a pound, and at just 6.1 mm is the thinnest tablet in the world."

The iPad Air 2 comes in gold, silver and space grey models and will be available for online ordering from 17 October, with shipping for WiFi models only beginning next week.

Pricing for the iPad Air 2 starts at £399 for the 16GB with Wi-Fi model. Suggested retail prices for other models are £479, for the 64GB model and £559 for the 128GB model with WiFi.

iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi and cellular models will be available for a suggested retail price of £499 for the 16GB model, £579 for the 64GB model and £659 for the 128GB model.