Apple's iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3: Hardware specs

Taking a look at what makes the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 tick.

iPad Air 3
Image: Apple

Apple has updated its iPad lineup by unveiling the iPad Air 2 ad iPad mini 3. Both of these build on the existing hardware by adding some new features already present on the iPhone line.

The biggest improvements come to the iPad Air 2. First off, pretty much as you'd expect from Apple, the new iPad Air 2 is thinner and lighter than its predecessor. It is now 6.1mm thin, making it an amazing 18 percent thinner than the iPad Air, and it also comes in a fraction lighter at 0.96 pounds.

While on the outside the 9.7-inch 2,048 by 1,536 display looks the same, internally there are some big differences. Three separate layers of the display have been fused into one, making it thinner and giving it better colors and contrast. The display on the iPad Air 2 also features antireflective coating, giving iPad Air 2 the least reflective display of any tablet.

Powering the iPad Air 2 is Apple's new 64-bit A8X processor, based on the A8 found inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. This gives it the new tablet a 40 percent faster CPU and 2.5 times the graphics power of the iPad Air.

Supporting the A8X is the M8 motion coprocessor, the same motion processing chip found inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Despite the faster hardware, the iPad Air 2 still delivers the same 10 hours of battery life currently offered by the existing iPad Air.

Probably one of the most requested new features for the iPad has been Touch ID fingerprint sensor. This technology first appeared on the iPhone 5s and now finally comes to both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3.

Note: Touch ID is the only major change to come to the iPad mini 3; otherwise it is virtually identical to the iPad mini 2.

A8X processor performance
Image: Apple

The iPad Air 2 features an updated 8-megapixel iSight camera with improved low-light capability. It also brings burst mode and slow-motion to the list of features it offers.

Wireless connections on iPad Air 2 are faster than ever. Thanks to 802.11ac Wi-Fi is more than twice as fast as before, with speeds up to 866 Mbps. On the cellular models LTE is now up to 50 percent faster, offering speeds up to 150 Mbps.

The iPad Air 2 also features a pre-installed SIM that allows the user to choose between a number of networks, whether at home or aboard. Support fro this is currently limited to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and EE.

The iPad Air 2 starts at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, with the 16GB Wi-Fi plus cellular starting at $629. For the iPad mini 3, the starting price is $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, and $529 for the Wi-Fi plus cellular version. 64GB and 128GB options are available, for $100 and $200 extra respectively.

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