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iPad Air: 10 things you need to know

Apple reckons it can achieve up to twice the data rate as before, which will be nice for transferring movie files, backing up wirelessly and so on. The cellular model also adds expanded LTE support. As before there are Wi-Fi only models and versions that add cellular 4G connectivity, though these require a separate data plan.

8. It doesn't have Touch ID

Perhaps surprisingly, the iPad Air hasn't gained the same Touch ID fingerprint scanning technology found in the new iPhone 5S. There could be many reasons for this, which at the moment are all purely speculative until Apple tells us, which it won't. It could be an issue of keeping costs down, or it could be that people don't take their iPads around in public nearly as much as they do their iPhones. We'd expect to see Touch ID introduced at some point, but clearly that's going to have to wait for a while.

iPad Air

Yup, there's no Touch ID on this one

9. Some things haven't changed…much

Although some of the specs are new, others are changed only slightly or not at all. The camera hardware remains the same: a 5MP iSight and a front-facing camera for FaceTime calls. There's the same 10 hour battery life, though of course the battery is now smaller and lighter so this could be called a positive change.

There are now dual microphones as opposed to the previous single mic, and this will aid both with audio recording and Siri performance, helping iOS to more accurately pick up and discern what you're saying. The iPad Air comes in silver and white and in space grey and black. There's no gold option, so if you want to look like a yuppie, you'll have to buy a case.

Read more: New iPad Pro 11

10. It's still the flagship iPad

Interestingly, Apple is keeping the iPad 2 around for people who want to get into the iPad world but pay less for the privilege. This is an interesting move: the iPad 2 is pretty old technology now, with a non-Retina screen and an aging A5 processor.

The iPad Air isn't dramatically more expensive and in all honesty, offers a far better user experience, especially with iOS 7. Nonetheless, the choice is there. The iPad Air will launch internationally on November 1 in a wide range of countries including for the first time at launch, in China.

You can see the iPad Air in action in our hands-on video: