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Apple reveals iPad Air

Apple has announced the release of the iPad Air, the fifth-generation of its iPad tablet range, finally ending weeks of speculation.

The release was announced at its invite-only event in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

The new iPad measures just 7.5mm thick, 20 per cent thinner than its predecessor, and weighs 455g. It features the same 9.7in screen as the previous model, but has a smaller bezel that wraps around the display. The tablet will have a 5-megapixel iSight camera, as well as 1080p FaceTime video, dual mics for better sound reception, and a battery life ramped up to 10 hours.

The iPad Air features Apple's 64-bit A7 chip, which was used for the first time in the iPhone 5S, and the same M7 motion coprocessor as its latest iPhone. The CPU will be 8x faster, Apple claims, and graphics performance will see a 72x increase.

Mark Mason, CEO of enterprise app development specialist Mubaloo told ITProPortal that: "A7 across the iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina is seriously exciting from a development point of view. We will be able to create ever more powerful apps for our clients that let them improve their businesses in ways that are only just being explored."

The release date for the iPad Air is set for Friday, 1 November, and will set users back $499 (£307) for the 16 GB version, although there's a suggested retail price of £399 inc VAT (£332.50 ex VAT) when it crosses the Atlantic. The 32 GB model will cost $599 (£368), and prices range all the way up to $799 (£492) for the massive 128 GB version. This means that even for the smaller models, it comes in at considerably more expensive than Google Nexus 7, at £199.99, and Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX at £140.

The iPad Air is available in two colours: "Space Gray" and "Silver".

There's also a WiFi+cellular model available, which is capable of using a mobile data connection for when WiFi isn't available.

The latest release came alongside the release of the iPad mini with Retina, a new Macbook and Macbook Pro, and a new OS X 10.9, Mavericks.