The iPad Air 2, the obvious follow up to the iPad Air, is set to be an iterative update to the current best tablet on the market right now.

While its name is likely to be in the iPad Air 2 region, this will actually be Apple's sixth generation full size (9.7-inch) tablet - and the Cupertino based firm will be looking to continue its domination at the top end of the market.

Many rival manufacturers have attempted to ape the iPad's success, but numerous Android and Windows devices have tried and failed to match the premium build quality, consumer lust and ultimately the sales figures that Apple has enjoyed.

Apple is going to have a tough job topping the iPad Air, after it gained a coveted 5 star TechRadar review and it currently sits proudly at number 1 in our "Best Tablets in the World" top 10.

There's very little on the new iPad to tell you about right now, but that doesn't mean we can't take an educated guess at when the new model is coming and with the help of the rumours which are starting to circulate we can also explore what it may offer.

The launch of iOS 7.1 contained some mentions of two newer models of iPads, according to 9to5Mac, noting iPad 4.3 and 4.6 models, which could reference the new iPad Air and iPad Mini 3.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The sequel to the iPad Air
  • When is it out? The current best guess is a November 2014 launch
  • What will it cost? The iPad Air 2 will likely start at £479 / $500 / AU$600

iPad Air 2 release date

The iPad Air 2 release date is likely to be the beginning of November, with the launch happening at the start of the month or the week after.

Why November? Well that's when the iPad Air made an appearance last year, and Apple does like to stick to its annual produce cycle - if you overlook the whole iPad 4 thing. It should be on track for November too, as according to Bloomberg's sources the iPad Air 2 has already gone into production.

iPad Air 2 rumors

The iPad Air 2 is not going to drop in cost if Apple's past performance is anything to go by, and we can't see the design changing that much either given the recent change in the larger iPad's chassis last year.

There are some analyst rumors buzzing around and KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the new iPad Air will come with an Apple A8 processor, as well as sporting an 8MP rear camera and inheriting Touch ID from the iPhone 5S.

This theory which is given extra credence by the mention of iPad's in the Biometric Kit for iOS 7.1. Kuo added that he expects the new slate to ship towards the end of the third quarter.

Obviously an analyst is just that, so these theories are unlikely to be based on hard evidence, but Kuo has a better track record than some, as among other things he correctly predicted the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner in the iPhone 5S.

iPad Air 2 design

Kuo's theories are looking increasingly believable, as according to sources speaking to ETNews the iPad Air 2 will have an A8 chip, which is expected to improve efficiency and increase battery life, and its main camera will be boosted from 5 to 8MP, while the front-facing snapper will be increased to 1.5MP.

However they went on to say that the design is going to be similar to that of the original iPad Air and its screen will stick at a resolution of 2048 x 1536. However according to sources speaking to Bloomberg that screen might have an "anti reflection coating" which would make it easier to read.

iPad Air 2 panel

We've also caught a glimpse of what might be the new iPad Air's front panel and it appears that the display is integrated into the panel, which would allow it to be slimmer than the iPad Air, which has a separate display and panel.

A more comprehensive leak claiming to show off a prototype iPad Air 2 in pretty much all its glory has also hit the web, revealing subtle design changes rather than a total overhaul.

iPad Air 2 - LEAK
(credit: nowhereelse)

Something worth noting in this series of images is the fact the TouchID button from the iPhone 5S appears to be on the iPad Air 2, backing up Kuo's claim that the biometric tech will land on the slate.

iPad Air 2 - LEAK
A new button design may be on the cards (credit: nowhereelse)

iPad Air 2 - LEAK
Will the camera get a boost? (credit: nowhereelse)

iPad Air 2 - LEAK
A slim profile is pretty much nailed on (credit: nowhereelse)

TouchID seems to be the feature of choice surrounding most of the next-gen iPad rumors, as another image claiming to show the iPhone 6, iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2 highlights the fingerprint scanner on all three devices.

While another recent leak mentions that Touch ID will be included in the new iPad Air and that it's going to be more durable than the current incarnation.

iPad Air 2 - LEAK
The Air 2, Mini 3 and iPhone 6? (credit: AppleClub)

We've also seen yet another photo of the iPad Air 2, this time alongside an iPhone 5S and with Touch ID just as much of a focus as it has been in previous images.

iPad Air 2

It appears the iPad Air 2 just can't stay away from cameras, as a series of shots appeared on ASCII Plus showing off the front, rear and sizes of a tablet which looks very similar to the ones appearing in previous leaks.

The report does state that the device next to the current iPad Air in the shots is a mock up of Apple's tablet, so it has to be taken with a pince of salt - but again it's more of the same with no slider switch above the slightly redesigned volume keys.

iPad Air 2 - LEAK
No slide switch on the Air 2? (credit: ASCII Plus)

iPad Air 2 - LEAK
iPad Air 2 (L) mock up lines up next to iPad Air (R) (credit: ASCII Plus)

iPad Air 2 - LEAK
The Air 2 is missing its Apple logo (credit: ASCII Plus)

Yet another set of images has emerged, this time supposedly showing the rear cover and they largely line up with what we've seen so far. It's evident from them that the volume controls have been recessed into the frame, while the speaker grille is now a single line of holes and there appears to be a microphone next to the rear camera.

Rear cover

While we loved the iPad Air, there's always room for improvement. Head over to page two to see what we'd love to see on the iPad Air 2.