APPLE has introduced the iPad Air 2 at a live event in California.
CEO Tim Cook unveiled the 6.1mm thick device on stage, saying: “What do you do when you make the best tablet in the world? How do you make it better? You do this.”
Apple’s Phil Schiller demonstrated on stage that two of the new iPad Air 2 would still be thinner than the original iPad.
The Cupertino-based firm has already sold over 200 million units of the tablet since it was introduced four years ago.
“iPad is a magical device. It has advanced technology jam-packed inside it”, said Mr Cook.
“iPad is everywhere. It’s transforming the way we work, we play, the way we communicate.”
The announcement comes after a leak appeared online on Wednesday evening that suggested the Air 2 would be introduced. It was suggested that the leak was timed as it appeared shortly after rivals Google had announced their own new smartphone and tablet, the Nexus 6 and 9 respectively.
One of the features that appeared in the leak was proved correct as Burst Mode was added to the iPad’s nee 8 megapixel iSight camera, enabling users to take a flurry of photos in one go. Apple’s Slo-Mo and Time Lapse features have also been introduced.
The iPad Air 2 will be available in gold for the first time, after Apple introduced gold to the iPhone 5S last year. This is believed to enhance appeal in the Asian market.
Apple confirmed that their fingerprint scanner technology, Touch ID will also debut on the iPad Air 2. This will enable better security as well as payments features via the scanner.
The iPad Air 2 will be available for 499, 599 and 699 US dollars (£310, £373, £435) Apple confirmed, ranging from 16 to 128G in storage.
The technology giant also confirmed the iPad mini 3, its smaller tablet. The new mini 3 will contain all the same new features as the Air 2, including Touch ID.
Apple confirmed that the mini 3 would go on sale at 399, 499 and 729 US dollars (£454).
Phill Schiller confirmed that the existing iPad Air and mini would each become 100 US dollars (£62) cheaper.
Pre-orders for the 2 new devices will begin on Friday.
As well as updating the company’s tablet line-up, Apple confirmed that its desktop computer, the Mac, which is 30 years old this year, would also be receiving an update.
The new iMac, unveiled on stage by Mr Schiller, will now have Apple’s Retina display technology. It is the iPad maker’s version of HD.
The display will now house 14.7 million pixels, and it will be called the Retina 5K display, and has 7 times the number of pixels as a HD television.
The new iMac will stay the same size, and remains 5mm thick.
The new iMac will cost 2,499 US dollars (£1,555), making it cheaper than most 4K displays, and will start shipping from today says Apple.
Another of Apple’s desktop computers, the compact Mac mini, was also getting an update. Starting at 499 US dollars, the new Mac mini has been made faster thanks to processor improvements.
“This is the strongest product line-up we’ve ever had,” said Mr Cook.
The event saw something of a charm offensive from Apple, with the various presenters regularly making jokes. There was also a cameo from American comedian Stephen Colbert, who was named the firm’s chief secrecy officer, poking fun at the leaked iPad images that appeared online on Wednesday evening.
Apple is working to rebuild confidence after the celebrity nude photo leak was attributed to hackers gaining access to iCloud accounts.
The event concluded Apple’s product line-up refreshment for 2014, with eyes now turning to the launch of the Apple Watch, which is going on sale in early 2015.