Apple has updated its iPad range with new features to entice those yet to buy an iPad, or those feeling the urge to upgrade. Questioning how you make the best tablet on the market even better, Apple's response is to make it thinner and faster. Given the recent launch of the iPhone 6, that shouldn't come as a surpise.
The iPad Air 2 features the same design as the original Air with a 9.7-inch screen, but is now noticeably thinner at 6.1mm.
That slimness makes it feel much smaller in the hand and our first impression was that it was heavier than the original, although it isn't. The footprint remains the same at 240 x 169.5mm, but it now weighs 437g, down from 469g (Wi-Fi versions).
While the design hasn't really changed - okay you get gold as a colour option - Apple has included anti-reflective coating to make the display less reflective, and in our quick hands-on, the reflection is noticeably reduced compared to the previous outings. Side-by-side against the iPad mini 3, which hasn't had the new anti-reflective layer added, there's a big difference. You also lose the rotation lock / mute button on the side of the device too. Apple probably believe that people just don't use it any more it seems.
Of course just releasing a thinner iPad isn't going to cut it. The new iPad Air 2 gets beefed up specs including a new powerful processor, the A8x, a better camera with all the same features as the iPhone 6 like slow motion (only 120fps), panoramic, burst shots and Touch ID.
Touch ID is an incredibly useful feature for the iPhone and we can see why it's a logical inclusion here. However with a tablet, while great for an individual, it's impractical for those with children where the tablet is used by multiple people. You'll have to program the whole family's digits into the device.
All that power isn't just to speed up a lagging interface as it has always been fast, but to allow video to be processed faster, apps to load quicker, and games to be played with more lusciousness than ever before. In that regard the iPad Air 2 delivers, a quick race in Asphalt 8, which uses Metal, looked great with zero lag and plenty of action on the screen.
Apple claims that the A8x is 2.5x faster than the Air and 180x more graphics power than the original iPad. In the time we had at the launch of the new iPad, we didn't really have the opportunity to put it through its paces, so we look forward to testing its performance when we get our review unit closer to launch.
Like the S versions on the iPhone, the iPad Air 2 brings everything forward, but there's a feeling of incremental advancement about it: there's no stand-out feature to get really excited about.
That might sound harsh, but you can't help feeling that the if you already own an iPad, then there's little here. The design is incrementally slimmer, there's a boost in the power, but it's not going to dramatically redefine the iPad experience. The addition of TouchID makes sense for some, but for those who share the iPad with kids, might not be able to make use of it.
Yes the iPad Air 2 is better than before, but Apple set the bar so high with the iPad Air, that we can't help wanting more.