Apple has updated its iPad Air line by ditching the branding altogether. The new 9.7in iPad is simply called iPad, and is a cheaper, updated version of the iPad Air 2. There will be no iPad Air 3. The new iPad will be available for pre-order right now, and is the cheapest this model has been for some time.
Apple has launched its latest iPad, simply called iPad. The Air branding is no more, but the new product is an updated version of the company's 2014 iPad Air 2. There will be no iPad Air 3.
The iPad is what would have been called the iPad Air 3 and comes with Apple's A9 processor, an update to the A8X processor in the iPad Air 2. This means it has the same chip as the iPhone 6s, but retains the same display and cameras as the Air 2.
It represents a shift for Apple's marketing strategy around iPads, which have had steadily declining sales of late. By leaving the Air brand behind (the company looks set to do the same for the MacBook too), it is repositioning a high end product as the affordable option for those who don't need the flashier, more expensive but better equipped iPad Pro.
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said: "iPad is the world's most popular tablet. Customers love the large, 9.7-inch display for everything from watching TV and movies, to surfing the web, making FaceTime calls, and enjoying photos, and now it is even more affordable."
He went on to say: "New customers and anyone looking to upgrade will love this new iPad for use at home, in school, and for work, with its gorgeous Retina display, our powerful A9 chip, and access to the more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for it." Read next: Inside the new iPad 2017 - component teardown.
Apple will be hoping that indeed more people with iPads will be tempted to upgrade. The iPad has enjoyed less fruitful global upgrade sales compared to the iPhone. It is not unusual for people to hold on to their iPad model for up to four or five years.
Apple promises all day battery life and continuing adaptable Apple SIM support if you plump for the cellular model.
Read more: New iPad 2017 review
When will the new iPad go on sale?
As of Friday 24 March, the new 9.7in iPad is now available to buy from Apple, with an expected delivery on 10 or 11 April at the time of writing. You can order now from Apple here, or from the following retailers:
How much will the new iPad cost?
The new 9.7in iPad is attractively priced, starting at £339 for 32GB with Wi-Fi only - £40 cheaper than what the iPad Air 2 was selling for until the announcement. A 128GB version is also available for £429, in addition to a 32GB cellular version at £469 and a 128GB cellular version at £559.
What colours is new the iPad available in?
The new 9.7in iPad will come in silver, gold or space grey - no rose gold to be seen, a colour reserved for the iPad Pro.
What are the specs?
The new iPad retains the excellent display of the iPad Air 2, with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 (264ppi). It will look serious good, and will run all the smoother and faster with Apple's excellent A9 chip and M9 coprocessor.
Dimensions and weight
It measures 240 x 169.5 x 7.5mm and weighs a shoulder-pleasing 469g.
Ports, buttons and slots
Everything that we saw on the iPad Air 2 is also present, with Touch ID home button, Lightning connector, stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack (hooray!) power/wake button, volume controls and a SIM tray on the cellular versions.
The rear facing 8Mp camera is the same as on the Air 2, with features such as autofocus, panorana, HDR (not for video) and a f/2.4 aperture. It's also capable of 1080p HD video recording at 30fps and slo-mo recording at 120fps.
The front facing camera is a FaceTime HD lens with 1.2Mp and a f/2.2 aperture, capable of 720p HD video recording. So, excellent for a tablet, basically.
What new accessories are there for the new iPad?
There are a set of new Smart Covers for the new 9.7in iPad available here from Apple, including a new (PRODUCT)RED cover to match the also new red iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
If you're more looking for information on other models in the current iPad range, read our reviews of the 12.9in iPad Pro, 9.7in iPad Pro and iPad Air 2, and of the iPad mini 4 and iPad mini 2. And remember to check our iPad buying guide 2017 and roundup of the best cheap iPad deals UK.
We discussed the iPad and red iPhone on our podcast here: