Apple surprises with fourth-generation iPad, starts at $499

The device will come with an A6X processor that has twice the CPU and graphics power of the third-generation iPad. It starts at $499.

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Apple has unveiled a new, fourth-generation iPad.

The device, which comes with the familiar 9.7-inch Apple Retina display, ships with the A6X processor, doubling the current CPU and graphics power of the A5X available in the third-generation slate. In addition, Apple says that the tablet will have 10 hours of battery life, feature the Lightning connector, and boast FaceTime HD. There's even expanded LTE support.

The fourth-generation tablet, which replaces the slate the company announced earlier this year, starts at $499 with 16GB of storage. As before, $100 will be added to that price for every 16GB in additional storage. The top-of-the-line 64GB iPad with LTE will retail for $829. The device comes in black and white and has no readily noticeable design changes.

Apple's decision to launch the fourth-generation iPad comes as a bit of a surprise, considering the company launched the third-generation iPad back in March . Since the original iPad launched in 2010, Apple has stuck to an annual iPad launch. That timetable has shifted considerably this time around.

Today's fourth-generation iPad unveiling was accompanied by Apple's announcement of the long-awaited iPad Mini . That device comes with a 7.9-inch screen and is notably thinner and lighter than Apple's larger tablet. The iPad Mini will retail at a starting price of $329.

Apple's fourth-generation iPad will be available for pre-order on Friday. The Wi-Fi-only model will be available on November 2. Those looking to buy the version equipped with LTE will need to wait a couple more weeks to get their hands on that tablet.

This story has been updated throughout the morning.

 

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