Meet the iPad Air – Apple's "biggest leap ever" in the iPad world

iPad 5 who? Apple's newest tablet is its thinnest, fastest, most scrumptious yet. But it won't read your fingerprints
Apple iPad Air

Finally after being leaked more times than we can bear to count, Apple has finally lifted the curtains off its latest full-fat iPad.

The fifth generation iPad Air (RIP iPad 5 moniker) features a slimmer, sexier and lighter design with clever brains to match.

Air apparent

Apple iPad Air
Apple iPad Air
Apple iPad Air

It's a whopping 20 per cent thinner than the previous generation iPad 4, at just 7.5mm. Round the front, it's also been on a crash diet, with a bezel that's 43 per cent thinner than the previous model. Thanks to these refinements, the iPad Air tips the scales at a feathery 469g; according to Apple, the new iPad Air feels very different in the hands and is groundbreaking both in design and comfort.

Despite its smaller bezel, it retains Apple's beautifully crisp 9.7in 2048x1536 display and also has two new colour schemes to boot – silver/white and space grey/black. iPhone 5s-style gold, however, is nowhere to be seen – sorry bling fans.

Touch too much

Apple iPad Air
Apple iPad Air

Also absent is the long-rumoured Touch ID fingerprint Home button sensor, despite the fact that the iPad Air sports same 64-bit A7 processor found in the iPhone 5s, which is required for the fingerprint encryption to work. 

Why Apple omitted this function remains unclear, but it could be due to space-saving constraints or the fact that you can't comfortably unlock an iPad one-handed.

Other juicy specs include dual WIMO antennas which promise twice the data speeds over Wi-Fi than the iPad 4 and a smaller battery (to help reduce the weight) which still offers 10 hours of use thanks to the more efficient A7 processor. And of course, it'll ship with the latest version of iOS 7.

The A7 chip itself provides the iPad Air with twice the 3D rendering power and 72x the graphics performance of the original iPad; it's backed up with the M7 motion coprocessor found in the iPad Mini 2 and iPhone 5s.

Overall, Apple promises that the iPad Air will be a "drastically different experience" to any other iPad that's come before it, and we can't wait to caress its sleek build, so stay tuned for our hands-on preview.

The new iPad Air can be yours on 1 November from £400 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, or £500 for the 16GB 4G model.

If you're feeling particularly frisky you can fork out a wallet-busting £740 for the 128GB 4G iPad Air, but we're sure you'll find something a little more within a respectable price range on the Apple Store.

We'll be getting hands-on with the iPad Air, and its little cousin the iPad Mini 2 with Retina display, shortly – stay tuned for our first impressions.