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Meet the Apple iPad Air and Retina-equipped iPad Mini

Among the many announcements at Apple’s big year-end shindig, the most anticipated of all was the announcement of new iPads.

First up was a redesigned big iPad The 9.7-inch tablet has shrunk in dimensions, but not screen size. Its near-ten-inch Retina display remains, but the bulk is gone: it’s now just 7.5mm thick, weighs just 453g, and has bezels that are 43% thinner. Apple claims that this makes the iPad the lightest and thinnest full-size tablet in the world, and so it earns a new name: the iPad Air.

Inside sits a battery that is still capable of delivering 10 hours of use on a single charge. LTE models gain support for new frequency bands, which means that all local LTE networks should now be supported. Apple’s also added MIMO technology to the Wi-Fi networking in the iPad, which should make network connectivity faster at home, as long as routers support MIMO too.

The A7 processor that’s used in the iPhone 5S is what powers the iPad Air experience, and it provides decent performance upgrades over the outgoing iPad.

Apple itself admitted that the most requested feature for the iPad mini, its 7.9-inch slate, was a Retina display. And to prove it listens to customers, it added a Retina screen to the tiny tablet. The display remains the same size, but quadruples its resolution to 2048 x 1536, matching the resolution of its big brother, the iPad Air.

The iPad Mini with Retina display gains the same innards as the iPad Air, namely the A7 chip and MIMO networking.

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