Apple shows off iPad Air, iPad Mini with Retina display

The Cupertino, Calif., electronics giant says the bezel of its 9.7-inch device is 43 percent smaller, and it's also lighter.

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Apple on Tuesday updated its popular iPad, making the device thinner and lighter and giving it a new name, the iPad Air.

The company also updated its iPad Mini, adding a Retina display and its A7 processor that boosts processing four-fold and graphics eight-fold.

The 9.7-inch device weighs only 1 pound versus 1.4 pounds for its predecessor. The iPad Air is 20 percent thinner at 7.5mm, and the bezel is 43 percent smaller. It also includes Apple's new 64-bit A7 processor, as well as its M7 motion processor and a Retina Display.

The iPad Air will start at $499 for the 16GB, Wi-Fi version, the same price as the earlier model. It will be available November 1.

Apple boosted the price of its iPad Mini to $399 from the original device's starting price of $329. However, it will sell the older version of the smaller tablet for $299. The new iPad Mini also will hit the market in November.

Apple debuted the A7 chip in the iPhone 5S, which was released last month. The A7 is the first 64-bit chip for mobile, which has benefits such as faster processing and graphics. It also gives Apple more flexibility to build ARM-based PCs if it chooses to embrace an alternative to Intel's X86 chips.

While Apple still sells a truckload of iPhones and iPads, the fate of its continued growth is a little less certain. The Cupertino, Calif., company may have invented the modern generation of touch-screen devices, but it faces stiff competition from companies unafraid to offer dirt-cheap, but functional, phones and tablets. Globally, Apple has been losing market share to Android devices, particularly from Samsung.

Apple CEO talks about the iPad. James Martin/CNET
Apple remains the world's biggest tablet vendor, but Android rivals have been catching up. In the second quarter, Apple's iPad shipments fell 14 percent and its market share fell to 32 percent from 60 percent in the year-earlier period, according to IDC. Samsung, its top rival with 18 percent market share, saw its shipments about quadruple for the third period in a row. Overall, Android made up 63 percent of shipments in the second quarter.

However, Apple touts how much time users spend on the various devices, with CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday saying the iPad is used more than four times more than all other tablets put together. He added that there are 475,000 apps designed for the iPad, and the company sold its 170 millionth tablet earlier this month.

See CNET's complete coverage of all of today's Apple iPad and Mac news.

Updated at 11:15 a.m. PT with more details.

 

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