Apple refreshed its tablet range with the iPad Air, a thinner, lighter version of its larger screen tablet, as well as a higher resolution iPad mini, both moves to see off potential rivals to its crown at the high end of the tablet market.
The iPad Air is a 9.7 inch screen tablet which is 20 per cent thinner and nearly 30 per cent lighter than its fourth-generation predecessor.
The company also announced the 7.9-inch iPad mini with Retina, which boasts the same amount of pixels as the 9.7-inch model.
And Apple is including its productivity and media apps for free on the new tablets.
As significantly, the company announced that it will start selling last year’s iPad mini for $299 in the US, the first time it has sold a tablet with a sub-$300 price tag.
Prices for the iPad Air start at $499 for the Wi-Fi-only, 16 GB model. And the cheapest new iPad mini will cost $399 (Wi-Fi-only, 16 GB). Both models sport LTE connectivity.
Apple will be hoping the refresh will shore up its traditional dominance of high end tablets. However, the company said it has now sold 170 million iPads since its launch in 2010 which means the latest quarter saw flat sales on a year-on-year basis, analysts concluded.
There is a threat of greater competition, including from Nokia which this week unveiled its first Windows tablet, as well as established rivals such as Samsung. Apple will be hoping the current refresh will head off such concerns.
The iPad Air is available from 1 November with the new iPad mini coming available later in the month.