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(Pocket-lint) - Another year means another iPad. Updating the iPad Air, launched in October 2013, comes the iPad Air 2. The iPad Air 2 will be sold alongside the iPad Air, so you still have the choice of both.

But with your existing iPad Air already offering a great experience and running the latest software in iOS 8, is it worth rushing out for the new iPad?

We've crunched down the specs to determine what's the same, what's changed and exactly what the difference is.

Design and build

The iPad Air 2 design is similar to the original iPad Air, but it's now slimmer, at 6.1mm. Apple boasted that this is the slimmest tablet you can get. It's finished in aluminium, just like the iPhone 6, and comes in three colours gold, silver, and grey.

The iPad Air (2013) measures 169.5 x 240 x 7.5mm and weighs 469g (Wi-Fi only), the iPad Air 2 is 169.5 x 240 x 6.1mm and it weighs 437g (Wi-Fi), so slightly lighter too.


The display on the iPad Air 2 is the same size at 9.7-inches, and the same resolution at 2048 x 1536 pixels, as the original iPad Air.

But in order to achieve the reduction in thickness, it's now a bonded, laminated, display, with Apple removing the air gaps between each layer. This isn't a new technology, but typically results in better visuals when we've seen this before.

It also has a anti-reflective coating, said to reduce glare by up to 56 per cent. The new iPad Air 2, although the same 264ppi, should look better in all conditions.

Touch ID

One of the big changes is the addition of Touch ID to the iPad. Having arrived on the iPhone 5S in 2013 and again on the iPhone 6 models, it's no surprise to find the iPad now getting the fingerprint scanner.

That doesn't change the design as it simply replaces the home button, but it means simple security, as well as just having to tap the button to confirm your ID when it comes to downloading apps, music or movies, or for in-app payments.

Power and hardware

The most predictable change is the move on from the Apple A7 chip found in the iPad Air, to the A8x chip. Apple say this is a processor designed specifically for the iPad Air 2, bringing a host of power advancements over the A7 chip found in the original Air. 

You're looking at a processor that's still 64-bit, but is now 40 per cent faster in the CPU, and 2.5x faster in the GPU.

This is partnered with the M8 coprocessor to track motion, calibrate the sensors, including the newly-added barometer that will keep track of your change in elevation. Battery life is said to remain at 10 hours.

Camera changes

There's a lot of change to the camera hardware and software for the iPad Air 2, an area where Apple focused a great deal of attention. There's a new 8-megapixel camera on the rear, supported by Apple's image signal processor in the A8x. It offers burst mode, timelapse and slow-motion video, treats you'll find on the iPhone.

The original iPad Air had a 5-megapixel rear camera. Both offer a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, but the new model is said to be better in all areas when it comes to the cameras.

Prices and storage

The original iPad Air came in 16GB (£399), 32GB (£479), 64GB (£559) and 128GB (£639) capacities. The 64 and 128GB versions will now be dropped, and the original iPad Air gets a price drop to £319 (16GB) and £359 (32GB), on sale today.

The new iPad Air 2 is availalbe at 16GB (£399), 64GB (£479), 128GB (£559). It will be on sale from 17 October.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 16 October 2014.