iPad AirEarlier this week at a special launch in San Francisco, Apple launched their next generation of iPads – the iPad Air and the Retina iPad Mini. Targeted at the top end of the tablet market, we take a look at the new and improved features and what you can expect from the two devices.

First up is the full-size iPad Air. At first glance you may not notice that much difference between an iPad and the new iPad Air - the screen size remains the same at 9.7-inches as does the resolution of 264 pixels per inch. It also comes with the same onboard storage options ranging from 16GB to 128GB and the camera is also a 5-megapixel iSight model.

However look a bit closer and pick up the iPad Air and that’s when the improvements become apparent. The iPad Air is not only 20% slimmer but it’s also almost 30% lighter than the iPad 4. It boasts a ‘thinness’ of 7.5mm which means it’s almost 2mm thinner and it weighs 469 grams compared with 652 grams which makes it currently the lightest full-size tablet available. Apple has also managed to shave off 16mm off the width.

Of course, it’s not just the design that Apple have improved, there’s also plenty going on on the inside. As expected the iPad Air comes with a 64-bit Apple A7 chip as well as a M7 motion coprocessor (both of which feature in the iPhone 5S) which means it will be significantly more powerful as well as being super fast.  The M7 motion coprocessor has been designed to collect data from the iPad Air’s sensors - which enables it to recognise whether you are walking, driving or resting for example. It interacts with motion-based apps which makes it an ideal device for health and fitness apps, sat nav apps etc. Other enhancements to the iPad Air include upgraded technology for better and faster WiFi connections and 4G compatibility. The iPad Air will be available from the 1st November and will be priced at £399 for the 16GB model.

The more compact iPad Mini has also had a makeover and is now known as the Retina iPad Mini. As the name suggests, the Retina iPad Mini features a stunning Retina 7.9-inch screen which boasts a resolution of 2048x1536 which gives it an impressive pixel density of 326ppi which makes it comparable to the screen of the iPad Air.

As with the iPad Air, the Retina iPad Mini also comes with Apple’s new 64-bit A7 chip which makes it 4 times quicker than the A5 chip which featured in the original iPad Mini. The new Retina iPad Mini is also the proud owner of the M7 motion-recognising coprocessor which has the added benefit of being extremely battery to boot.

Other very welcome upgraded features include two antennas for faster WiFi speeds, 4G compatibility and dual microphones which make for better video and audio recording, FaceTime and Siri voice recognition. The Retina iPad Mini comes in a Space Gray version in addition to White and will be available with a choice of built-in storage which ranges from 16GB up to 128GB. Prices for the new iPad Mini will start from £319 and it’s expected to be released sometime in November.