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(Pocket-lint) - Apple has announced a fifth-generation iPad Air - one that runs on the same M1 chip as iPad Pro models, and also supports 5G connectivity. 

Revealed as part of Apple's 'Peek Performance' event on 7 March, the company claims the new tablet takes a big leap forward from previous Air models.

The 10.9-inch device starts at $599 / £569 / €699, and is available to pre-order here ahead of its 18 March on-sale date. It also comes in five different finishes - space grey, starlight, pink, purple and blue - with storage of either 64GB or 256GB.

The performance increase touted, of course, is largely down to the introduction of the M1 chip, which Apple says provides a 60% boost in performance versus the iPad Air 4. The 8-core GPU, the company also notes, ensures graphics are able to be delivered twice as fast as on the 2020 model.

For those who opt for the Wi-Fi and Cellular model of the iPad Air 5 (available from $749 / £719 / €869), it will also be able to tap into the cellular powers of 5G. This provides a crucial boost to those who want a slate that can reach peak connectivity on the move without stretching to the asking price of the iPad Pro.

And while the performance leaps and 5G support are the headline additions of the new generation, there are a couple more things Apple dropped in there.

A 12MP front-facing camera also features, and, given its support for Center Stage, now means that all iPad models offer the ability for the camera to keep the user in the shot as they move around. This is in addition to the 12MP camera on the rear of the iPad Air, too, which allows for 4K video, document scanning and AR support.

Interestingly, the USB-C port is now also twice as fast as the previous generation, as well, allowing for data transfers up to 10Gbps. This should ensure that imports of large video or photo files are now completed more quickly, which is a handy boost considering the number of other devices and accessories the new iPad Air can connect to.

Naturally, the iPad Air 5 wasn't the only thing Apple announced during its event, either, with the curtain also pulled back on the iPhone SE (2022), Apple Mac Studio and a Studio Display.

Writing by Conor Allison.