iPad Air: Just the basics

Apple announced the 5th generation iPad in San Francisco this morning, with availability from November 1st. Here’s the basic facts.
The iPad Air will come in silver or “space grey” and largely runs the same underlying hardware as the iPhone 5s; A7 processor, M7 motion co-processor and so on. It’s lighter — hence “Air” at 478 grams and thinner than the fourth generation tablet at 240×169.5×7.5mm.
What about pricing? US list pricing at the keynote was stated at $499. Apple’s web site hasn’t opened up pre-ordering just yet — they’re “currently unavailable” — but indicates that the entry level 16GB Wi-Fi model will cost $598, going up to $699, $799 and $899 for 32/64/128GB respectively. If you want LTE with it, it’ll cost you $749/$849/$949/$1049 for 16/32/64/128GB variants.
The iPad 2 lives on as the budget model, with a 16GB WiFi model at $449 and $598 for the LTE variant.
How does that compare to US pricing? For the Air, it’s not quite price matching; current exchange rates plus GST would put the price at around $565, so there’s a small markup there. For the iPad 2, US pricing is set to drop to $299, which would suggest an Australian price of around $330; that $449 price is a bit on the sharp side in that context, especially as it actually represents a price rise against the established iPad 2 price. Or in other words, if you want an iPad 2, hit a non-Apple shop now to get one slightly cheaper.

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