iPad Air 2 vs iPad Air

This time round the headline figure is still 10 hours of battery life in real world use, but it's unclear whether getting that into a thinner case is the result of a better battery, more efficient processing or both. We're just waiting for Apple to confirm the mAh figures.

iPad Air 2 vs iPad Air: CPU/RAM

The processor inside the iPad Air is Apple's own A7, a 64-bit processor teamed with Apple's M7 motion co-processor, and it's backed with 1GB of RAM, which is small by modern tablet standards. Offering just 16GB of flash storage - which of course you can't add to - in the entry level model seemed stingy too, especially now that OS updates such as iOS 8.0 require nearly 6GB of free storage to install over the air.

The iPad Air 2 gets a new processor, Apple's A8X, which is a customised version of the A8 processor you'll find in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple says it delivers up to 40% better CPU performance, and up to 2.5 times the GPU performance.

iPad Air 2

As with the iPhone 6, Apple has changed the storage options slightly: the too-small 16GB option is still there, but the next steps are now 64GB and 128GB.

iPad Air 2 vs iPad Air: TouchID

The original iPad Air just has a home button, but the iPad Air 2 gets the same TouchID fingerprint sensor we've already seen on the iPhone 5S, 6 and 6 Plus. Touch ID isn't just an alternative to PIN codes for unlocking your device, as handy as that is; it's also a key part of Apple Pay, which will enable iOS 8 users to authorise payments using only their fingerprints. Apple Pay is currently a US-only service, but Apple's ambitions for it are clearly global.

iPad Air 2 vs iPad Air: Price

As expected, Apple hasn't messed with the price for the iPad Air 2: the cheapest one is still £399 (US$499, AU$598), rising by £80 ($100, AU$100) for 64GB and the same again for 128GB, If you want the cellular model that starts at £499 (US$629, AU$749), and once again the increments are an extra £80 ($100, AU$100) to 64GB and then again to 128GB.

iPad Air 2

iPad Air 2 vs iPad Air: Early verdict

There's no doubt that the iPad Air 2 is better than its predecessor. It's faster, it has a better camera, and it has Touch ID. It's not perfect, though. We still think 16GB is simply too little storage for a modern tablet, and we're not convinced that a thinner iPad was a bigger priority than one with even better battery life. Nobody who buys one is going to be unhappy, but we're not sitting here desperately trying to trade in our existing iPad Airs.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.