Apple Shows Off Newest Products: iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3

The world got a look at Apple’s two newest products Oct. 16, with the unveiling on the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3.What does the new iPad mean for software and mobile app development?

The announcement comes on the heels of Apple’s other new endeavors: the new iPhone models and Apple Watch.

Breaking down the early reviews, we see plenty of publicity around the thinner iPad Air 2 and its more powerful operating system. Both, like the previous iPhone update, feature “Touch ID” (which links with Apple Pay) and the larger model has a less-reflective screen.

But aside from coming in a new gold variety, there haven’t been as many upgrades to the iPad Mini 3, so we’ll focus most of our attention here on the iPad Air 2 and how it could impact the world of software and mobile application development.

In a release from Apple, Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, outlined a number of the tablets’ new features:

  • Both run 675,000-plus apps designed just for the iPad
  • iPad Air 2 weighs less than a pound and is thin at 6.1 millimeters
  • iPad Air 2 has new Retina display with anti-reflective coating
  • iPad Air 2 has 64-bit A8X chip
  • iPad Air 2 has all-new iSight and FaceTime HD cameras

If you stacked two of the new iPads on top of each other, they would still be thinner than the original, according to USA Today. Yet despite the size (it’s 18 percent thinner than the first iPad Air), the iPad Air 2’s new processor means its CPU is 40 percent faster than its predecessor, according to Mashable.

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Other improvements in the iPad Air 2’s camera, graphics technology and motion coprocessor (which gathers motion data) should enable app developers to come What does the new iPad mean for software and mobile app development?up with a host of new games, services and other applications that take advantage of the new technology.

Camera: Scan and modify documents, plus athletic performance analysis.

Graphics: Gives capability for apps with “realistic visual effects comparable to the most advanced gaming consoles,” according to the release.

Motion data: Captures information from an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and a first-ever barometer.

During the Oct. 16 presentation, Apple officials showed off third-party editing apps to demonstrate the power of the iPad Air 2. One of the apps was Replay, a graphics and video program. It was a glimpse of how the iPad will impact future apps.

(Replay) supports real-time effects that would have taxed desktop PCs only a few years ago, but despite its power, it sticks to a simple, intuitive interface that lets any novice pick up an iPad and start producing attractive content,” according to a post from InformationWeek.

The new processor in the iPad Air 2 enables “impressive” graphics performance, according to Macworld, which should allow developers to take advantage in the form of games, and video and photo editing apps.

The prices for both new iPads vary depending on Wi-Fi and storage, but start at $499 for the larger version and $299 for the Mini. Both come in gold, silver and gray.