The iPad Air 2 ($399 and up from the Apple Store) is the current flagship of Apple’s family of tablets. It features a noticeably slimmer (18% thinner) profile compared to the original iPad Air, but largely retains the same physical design. A Touch ID sensor has been added to the Home button for fingerprint recognition, enabling ID-secure online (but not in-store) Apple Pay and iTunes Store purchasing. It now comes in the gold color option that Apple previously only offered on iPhones, as well as space gray and silver versions. You can choose from 32GB or 128GB capacities, as well as Wi-Fi-only or Wi-Fi + LTE Cellular models.
Armed with a 9.7″ screen with a Retina-caliber 2048×1536 resolution, it has a new anti-reflective coating that makes the display 56% less reflective. It’s also the only iPad to include an A8X chip, an improvement over the iPad Air that uses a second-generation 64-bit architecture and 3 billion transistors for 40% faster CPU and 2.5x faster GPU performance. Though it promises (and delivers) the same 10-hour battery life as its predecessor, real-world run times have dropped a little relative to the first iPad Air, offset by the Air 2’s smaller chassis and 32-gram lighter weight.
The iPad Air 2 also includes the M8 motion tracking chip and barometer that were introduced in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, enabling it to sense its elevation and movement. In addition, iPad Air 2 gets a much-improved 8 megapixel iSight camera with an f/2.4 aperture and 1080p video recording capabilities, similar to the iPhone 5s. Other specs include up to 2.8x faster Wi-Fi performance with 802.11ac and MIMO, while the cellular model increases LTE support to connect with 20 different LTE bands.