Apple widens tablet options with launch of Air

Apple has introduced a thinner iPad and a mini with improved retina display

Apple has reacted to increasing competition in the tablet space with the release of enhanced versions of its iPad and mini products to satisfy customers looking for further innovation from the vendor.

The announcement of the iPad Air, which is 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the fourth generation version of the product, will be available from the start of next month with a retail price of £399 for the 16GB model.

It is also joined by an iPad mini with retina display that is retailing at £319 and the launch will have an impact on the current mini models with the price on those coming down to £249 for a 16GB model, which should help extend Apple's reach into the entry-level end of the market.

The vendor also used its launch event last night to reveal that it is making its iWork and iLife apps, which have been in beta for the past few months, available free with every new Mac purchased.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said that when it first started selling the iPad there had been doubters in the industry querying the platform, but it had proved them wrong with sales so far of 170m units.

He also had a slight pop at competitors, which these days include an ever growing number of companies: "Our competition is different: they're confused. They chased after netbooks. Now they're trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows what they'll do next?"

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