Apple launches iPad Air, makes more software free

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)|By:, SA News Editor

The 5th-gen iPad (AAPL - unchanged) has been unveiled; Apple is calling it the iPad Air. The device is 20% thinner than its predecessor, and ~30% lighter (it weighs 1 pound).

As rumored, the Air has thinner (iPad Mini-like) bezels, and contains Apple's 64-bit A7 CPU and M7 motion co-processor (both are found in the iPhone 5S). Apple claims up to 10 hours of battery life (same as the 4th-gen iPad).

Pricing is unchanged relative to 4th-gen models: a 16GB Wi-Fi-only Air goes for $499. The tablet ships on Nov. 1. The iPad 2 is being kept around, and without price cuts (it starts at $399).

Cumulative iPad sales have passed 170M, and over 475K of the App Store's 1M apps have been optimized for the iPad. There were 375K iPad-specific apps in June.

Also: Apple has updated its iLife media apps - iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand - as well as its iWork productivity suite. The iLife apps have joined iWork (previous) in being free to buyers of new iOS hardware. Between the free iOS apps and Mavericks, Apple is now clearly content to give away software to drive hardware sales.

live blog, webcast

More on Apple