iPad Air 2 Sports Faster Processor, Thinner Body, Touch ID

Apple introduced the new iPad Air 2 during a special media event on Thursday. The new tablet is 20 percent thinner than the iPad 4 and faster than the first generation iPad, sports an improved display with better clarity, and includes Touch ID.

iPad Air 2: Faster, thinner, and now in goldiPad Air 2: Faster, thinner, and now in gold

The iPad Air 2 is 6.1mm thick, and Apple's vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said it's, "the world's thinnest tablet."

The iPad Air 2 includes a version of Apples A8X processor designed just for the new model. It includes a redesigned display that does away the air gap between the glass and display for improved image clarity, and an anti-glare coating.

Apple included Touch ID on the iPad Air for the first time, which was previously available on iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Also like the new iPhones, you can use Touch ID to confirm Apple Pay purchases, although Apple didn't say the iPad Air 2 includes an NFC chip.

The new A8X processor is 40 percent faster than the A7, with a GPU that offers 2.5 times the performance. Mr. Schiller said the new iPad offers console-level graphics in a tablet form.

The iPad Air 2 also includes an M8 motion co-processor, just like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and can track motion and fitness activities, plus its barometric sensor can track flights of stairs climbed each day.

Apple also improved the iPad Air's camera by bumping the resolution up to 8 megapixels with a f/2.4 aperture, and a new image capture sensor. You can capture video at 1080p, time-lapse video, snap photos in burst mode, and capture 43MP panorama photos.

The new iPad offers 802.11ac WiFi with MIMO, and faster LTE support on models with wireless data capabilities.

The new iPad Air 2 will be available for pre-order on October 17 and will ship on October 24. Pricing starts at US$499 for 16GB storage, $599 for 64GB, and $699 for 128GB, available in Space Gray, silver, and gold.