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iPad Air and Mini rev it up with Apple's A7 chip

The A7 is essentially the same chip as the one in the iPhone 5S, and according to Apple's Phil Schiller, the iPad Air and the new Mini are much faster than their predecessors.

Apple likes to brag about its A7 processor.
Apple likes to brag about its A7 processor.
CNET/James Martin

The iPad Air and Mini got Apple's A7 chip.

That's essentially the same chip as the one in the iPhone 5S. It's a 64-bit processor and uses the M7 motion coprocessor.

Apple's Phil Schiller said the 9.7-inch iPad Air is 72 times faster than the original iPad in graphics processor unit (GPU) performance.

It's also 7.5mm thick, 20 percent thinner than the 9.4mm iPad 4. But, again, the same silicon is used in the much-smaller iPhone 5S, so Apple presumably doesn't have a problem integrating the A7 it into the thinner iPad frame.

The 7.9-inch Mini Retina is four times faster than last year's model, and eight times faster at graphics tasks, Schiller says. It gets 10-hour battery life, as does the iPad Air.

With a 2,048x1,536 resolution Retina Display like the 9.7-inch Air, the Mini's A7 will have the task of pushing around the same number of pixels.

Benchmarks anyone?

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

iPad Mini Retina starts at $399.
iPad Mini Retina starts at $399. CNET/James Martin