Apple hails thinner iPad air as 'leap forward'

Apple claims the iPad Air is the lightest full-sized tablet on the market Credit: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Apple launched its new generation tablet the iPad Air today, describing it as a giant leap forward.

The new device is slimmer, lighter, faster and more powerful than the previous model, the computing giant announced.

It weighs 1lb, compared to 1.4lb of the iPad 4, and is 7.5mm thin compared to 9.4mm - making it 20% thinner.

There is also 43% smaller frame around the edge of the screen.

The iPad Air will be available on November 1 in the UK and many other countries around the world.

Apple also unveiled a new iPad mini with a retina display, which will be available later in November.

They will both come in silver/white and grey/black versions.

Speaking at the Yerba Buena Centre in San Francisco, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: "I couldn't be prouder of both new iPads."

He said he could not think of another product that had come so far, so fast, adding: "We want to help our customers create even more amazing stories, because we know this is just the beginning for iPad, and so we've been busy working on the next generation of iPad."

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing described it as a "screaming fast iPad", with faster graphics and wifi access.

He described the iPad Air as "a whole new generation" and added: "This is probably our biggest leap forward."

Technology experts have described the launch of the new iPads as an "evolution" in Apple's history.

Air is very exciting. An extreme form factor with cutting edge design and what looks like fast and powerful tech inside. The new iPad mini is interesting and feels like a move into 'big mobile phone' territory.

Nadeem Khalid, business analyst from digital agency TH--NK, said:

"Thinner, lighter and faster may not be radical enough for some, for the majority of consumers and indeed the press, the iPad line will continue to be number one in the desirability stakes.

"However this announcement isn't just about hardware, by offering a host of productivity apps for free, Apple is making a concerted play for the enterprise market, and also challenging the assertion that iPads are limited to web browsing and casual use."