Apple has officially announced its new iPad Air (not leaked as it did the other day). The iPad Air 2 is similar in visible design to the last generation, but has several new features that take the story on that bit further.

CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company has sold 225 million iPads since the first tablet launched in 2010 and while there have been some major modifications to the range since, it could be said that 2014 is an "S" year - taking inspiration from Apple's own iPhone naming convention.

At 6.1mm, the iPad Air 2 is even slimmer than it was last year. "Can you even see it," asked Cook while holding it sideways on stage at its grand unveiling. The original iPad Air is 1.4mm thicker than the iPad Air 2.

It also has an A8X processor that has been developed specifically for the Air 2. It has a second generation 64-bit architecture with three billion transistors and offers 40 per cent faster CPU performance over the last model. It's also two and a half times faster for graphics.

However, even though it is super slim with a faster processor, Apple claims battery life has not been compromised. It says that the battery should last 10-hours, as before.

The rear cam is now an 8-megapixel f/2.4 iSight camera that is capable of 1080p Full HD video recording and has the same 120fps slow motion recording mode as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The front camera is also new. It is described as a FaceTime HD camera with a larger f/2.2 aperture and an all-new sensor. It also has improved face detection, can shoot selfies in burst mode and you will be able to take single-shot HDR photos and HDR videos.

Its Wi-Fi technology has been improved, as has its LTE (4G) support. It is capable of speeds up to 150Mbps and covers 20 LTE bands around the world.

And, as much-rumoured, it comes with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

It will support Apple Pay, but there is no NFC connectivity inside. Instead it will support Apple's new payment system when purchasing items online only.

US prices start at $499 for the Wi-Fi only model with 16GB of storage, while it will be £399 in the UK, the same as the original launch price for the Air. It will be available from Friday 24 October. Pre-orders will be open from tomorrow (17 October).

Apple has also dropped the prices of its existing iPads, starting with the original iPad mini at $249, £199 in the UK.