Apple Reveals iPad Air 2, iOS 8.1 Release Date

iPad Air 2Today, Apple unveiled its iPad Air 2, the thinnest and most powerful iPad in the company’s history. This news came alongside details for Apple’s iOS 8.1 operating system update, which will reintroduce Camera Roll to device users, among other features.

The iPad Air 2 is 6.1 mm thin, weighs less than one pound, and features improved Retina display for more vibrant colors and an overall better visual experience. The device has improved back and front-facing cameras, as Apple is now embracing the fact that users take photos with these larger portable devices, and not just their iPhones.

Both the iPad Air 2 and the also newly-announced iPad mini 3 offer Touch ID for unlocking the device or making purchases using a fingerprint. The iPad Air 2 will retail for $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 64GB model, and $699 for the 128GB model, all in Wi-Fi configurations. The Wi-Fi / cellular models start at $629 for the 16GB option. Pre-orders for the device begin on October 17, and they’ll begin shipping next week.ios 8 650In addition to this hardware news, Apple revealed its plans for iOS 8.1, the upcoming free update to its newest operating system. In response to user requests, the Camera Roll will make its return to the Photos app. In addition, Apple Pay will be introduced for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and the public beta for iCloud Photo Library will go live.

iCloud Photo Library allows users to have access to all of their photos across all of their devices. Any organization or updates made on one device is represented on all devices. This counts for iPhone and iPad devices, as well as Mac and PC platforms, and also supports viewing videos, with no downscaling. The first 5GB of iCloud Photo Library storage are free, and users can purchase additional storage for a monthly fee (20GB is $0.99 per month, for instance).

Since the company’s announcement of Apple Pay earlier this year, more than 500 new banks have signed on to support the service. These banks join the major institutions, like Chase, Bank of America and Capital One, who announced their support back in September. Apple Pay gives users a secure, private and faster way to make purchases in real-world stores and in apps, with in-app Apple Pay support being available in the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.

The iOS 8.1 update will go live on Monday, October 20.