Apple rounded out its line-up of gadgets for the holiday shopping season Tuesday, unveiling a new iPad Air one company official hailed as "thinner, lighter, and more powerful than ever before."
The new 9.7-inch iPad Air, which weighs just one pound and is 20 percent thinner than the previous model, was presented as "the lightest full size tablet in the world," according to The Verge. It is up to eight times faster than the older generation and boasts 10 hours of battery life, Apple said. The new model, which will ship in silver and white, space gray and black starting Nov. 1, starts at $499, with models equipped for cellular plans selling for $629.
"Over just three and a half years the team has updated it with newer better versions," Apple CEO Tim Cook said, according to The Verge. "Today we think we have the biggest step yet in delivering the vision."
Remodeled color covers for the screen will be available to better fit with the new look, which resembles an iPad Mini more than the earlier full-size models.
Apple also added its high-definition "Retina Display" to the iPad Mini, a move that could help it stay competitive with recent upgrades to the smaller tablets sold by Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. That new model will sell for $399. The older version of the iPad mini will retail for $299, while the iPad 2 starts at $399.
The upgrades come amid growing competition for tablets, which have outpaced laptops in sales since Apple first rolled out the iPad in 2010. The research firm Gartner Inc. estimates that tablet's running Google's Android operating system will end this year with a 50 percent share of the worldwide market versus 49 percent for the iPad. Just two years ago, the iPad commanded a 65 percent market share compared to 30 percent for Android tablets, according to Gartner.
The remodeled iPads were unveiled at a San Francisco showcase Tuesday. Hewing to its usually tight-lipped ways, Apple Inc. hadn't shared details about what was on the agenda. The Cupertino, Calif. company merely sent out invitations that said, "We still have a lot to cover."
The list of things to cover Tuesday included Mavericks, an upgraded operating system for its computers that will be available for free download, revamped programs for word processing, photo and audio editing and Web browsing, faster, lighter laptops and a powerful new Mac Pro processor. Apple cut the prices for the new MacBook Pro designs by $200, offering the 13-inch version at $1,299 and up and the 15-inch version starting at $1,999.
Cook called the new products "great examples of the type of innovation that only Apple can deliver."
"It's been an incredible period for innovation and new products," he said, according to The Verge.
Editor's note: An earlier verison of this post misspelled the name for Mavericks.