There’s something in the Air

Apple’s updated devices are slimmer and faster than ever. Here’s what to expect from this year’s Christmas essential

The first thing you notice about the new iPad Air is the size of the bezel surrounding the screen. It is far smaller (43 per cent) than the previous models, which makes it less intrusive when watching movies or playing games.

Users of heavy-duty apps will notice a difference in performance speed, especially in graphics rendering. Despite the thinner case and more advanced chips, Apple promises the device will maintain the 10-hour battery life. We’ll be eager to see whether the sluggish-recharge times of the last iPad have improved. All devices ship with iOS 7.

The iPad Air hasn’t just lost weight; as expected, it is now also powered by the same A7 chip that’s in the new iPhone, which means it’s very fast – a whopping eight times faster than the first iPad, in fact. It also has the M7 co-processor, which collects, processes and stores information from the device’s sensors (such as the accelerometer), even if the device is asleep. This will be useful for next-generation fitness apps.

Every Apple fan had a list of features they wanted in the new iPads – and not everyone can leave happy. Here’s what we would like to have seen:

This seemed like a no brainer after the popular feature launched on the iPhone 5S. Its failure to appear can only be down to size restrictions – or so Apple has something up its sleeve for the next launch...

There’s a gold iPhone, why not a gold iPad? Seriously, where’s the gold?

There’s a nagging feeling the flagship iPad Air should be even faster than the Mini. Is that too much to ask?

iPad Air from £399

As usual, the iPad Air is being sold as “thinner, lighter and more powerful”. More so than with previous generations, you can really notice the difference (especially against the previous model, which was thicker and heavier than the iPad 2). At almost a third lighter than the last one, and just 7.5mm thick, Apple says it is the “lightest full tablet on the market”.

Everybody knew there would be a new iPad Mini, but the issue of retina display was very much “will they, won’t they...” They did – and it looks great. The lack of a Retina display was the number one reason not to buy an iPad Mini. Now it packs the same lush visuals as the latest iPhones and the iPad Air. If you weren’t sure before, this might just convince you.

The Mini now stands toe-to-toe with the most advanced iPad – it comes with the same storage options as the Air (16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB), has the same A7 processor, the same reduced bezel around the screen and measures in at the same super-slim 7.5mm. Unless size really matters to you, this is a great option.

iPad Mini 2 from £319