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Thinner iPad sports bigger Retina display, 64bit A7

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:tablets? Retina? MIMO?

With much fanfare, Apple on Tuesday revealed the latest version of its flagship iPad tablet line sporting a thinner body, larger Retina screen and its A7 64bit processor.

The new iPad Air has a 9.7-inch Retina screen and earns its name by shedding 28 per cent of its predecessor's weight and 20 per cent of its thickness, Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said at the unveiling. The company said in its product announcement that the device weighs one pound and has a smaller battery thanks to the A7's power efficiency. It also said the iPad Air offers up to 10 hours in battery life and performs 2x faster than the previous generation.

Apple's iPad Air

Figure 1: New iPad Air.

Apple's M7 motion coprocessor is on board, too, and is adding to the power efficiency. The company said the motion coprocessor "gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass to offload work from the A7 for improved power efficiency."

The iPad Mini has a Retina screen with the same 2,048-by-1,536 resolution as the iPad Air in a slightly smaller space: a 7.9-inch Multi-Touch display. Both the iPad Air and the Mini have two antennas and "for the first time have MIMO," Schiller said. Both also have a HD camera that plays at 1,080p, along with an iSight camera with 5MP sensor and advanced optics, and they support OpenGL ES version 3.0.

"Image signal processing of A7, further improves still image and video capture on iPad bringing faster auto-focus, up to three times video zoom, five times still zoom, better dynamic range and automatic image and video stabilisation," the company said in its press release.

Apple's iPad Air side-view diagram

Figure 2: A side-view diagram of the iPad Air.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company sold its 170 millionth iPad in October. "Now everyone seems to be making a tablet, even the doubters."

The company also announced new flavours of its MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, with Retina screens, longer battery life, and (depending on the model) quad- or dual-core Intel Core i5/i7 processors and Intel Iris Pro for graphics.

In his keynote, Cook poked some fun at his competitors, saying they are confused and trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. "We still believe deeply in this category." By "this," he must have meant both categories: PCs and tablets.

Beyond improved battery life, green design and U.S. jobs were themes at the launch. Without Steve Jobs, Apple may be becoming aware of its green and social image. Throughout the presentation, the company displayed each hardware product's green cred and pointed out those designed and assembled in America.

- Susan Rambo
??EE Times

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