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CEO Tim Cook took the stage to announce the device. At just 6.1 mm thick, it’s 18 percent thinner than the first iPad Air and — Apple claims — the thinnest tablet on the market. To demonstrate the scope of the size, Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller noted that two iPad Air 2 tablets stacked on top of each other equaled the thickness of the original iPad.
Schiller also announced the iPad Mini 3. Both devices come equipped with Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor that allows people to unlock the device and make purchases with one touch.
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The iPad Air 2 starts at $499 for 16 GB of storage. The iPad mini 3 starts at $399. The previous generation iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 are each getting $100 price cuts, with the original iPad Mini now starting at just $249. The new tablets are available to preorder beginning on Friday, Oct. 17.
The new devices arrives at a crucial time for the tablet market. Research firm Gartner predicts that growth will slow this year, with global tablet sales increasing by 11 percent, a significant drop from the 55 percent growth that the market saw from 2012 to 2013.
The presentation also included the launch of a new iMac with a 27-inch 5K Retina display, packed with 14.7 million pixels. The desktop computer retails for $2,499 and begins shipping today.
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