San Francisco: Apple on Tuesday unveiled a slimmer version of its top-selling full-size tablet computer, dubbed the "iPad Air," along with a revamped iPad Mini with an improved high-definition display.
The new iPad Air is 43 percent thinner than the version it replaces, weighs just one pound (450 grams), and is "screaming fast," Apple vice president Phil Schiller said at an unveiling.
Apple also showed an upgraded iPad Mini, which has high-definition "retina" display along with faster computing power and graphics.
The two new iPads will be sold alongside the existing versions, starting November 1 in a number of countries.
The iPad Air will start at USD 499 and the new Mini version at USD 399 for US customers. Apple will cut the prices of the older iPad versions.
The new iPads feature the Apple-designed A7 chip with 64-bit "desktop-class architecture," Apple said.
"iPad created an entirely new mobile computing experience, and the new iPad Air is another big leap ahead. It is so thin, light and powerful, once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is," said Schiller.
The new iPads come on the same day Microsoft began selling an upgraded version of its Surface tablet, and as Nokia unveiled its own tablet computer.
Industry tracker Gartner on Monday forecast that global tablet shipments will reach 184 million units this year in a 53.4 percent rise from last year.
The iPad remains the largest-selling tablet, according to surveys, but its market share is being eroded by rivals using the Google Android operating system.
Apple is also under pressure to adapt to the popularity of premium tablets with high-quality screens in the seven- to eight-inch (18- to 20-centimeter) range where the Mini competes.
First Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 00:19