After 170M iPads sold, Apple unveils its iPad Air for $499 on November 1

After 170M iPads sold, Apple unveils its iPad Air for $499 on November 1

In San Francisco today, Apple’s Phil Schiller took the stage at the company’s media event and unveiled the latest update to its iPad tablet line. After more than 170 million devices sold, the company is debuting its fourth-generation tablet called the iPad Air with a 9.7-inch Retina display.

The new iPad is thinner and lighter than before. It weighs just 1 pound and comes equipped with an A7 chip. It’s bezel is 43 percent thinner and a GPU speed 72 times faster. It has a 5MP iSight camera, 1080p HD video  with new FaceTime HD camera with larger pixels, improved backside illumination, and dual microphone. It has a 10-hour battery life as well. And yes, it will come with iOS 7.

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It will be available in silver/white and gray/black and is designed to be environmentally friendly. It will replace the top of the line iPad and cost $499 for 16GB and $629 for 16GB and cellular connectivity. The new iPad will begin shipping on November 1.

Carriers supporting the iPad Air include Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and many others around the world.

Schiller said in a statement:

iPad created an entirely new mobile computing experience, and the new iPad Air is another big leap ahead. It is so thin, light and powerful, once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is.

iPad Air with its 9.7-inch Retina display weighs just one pound and packs the incredible performance of iOS 7 running on a 64-bit desktop-class Apple A7 chip, and delivers all-day battery life in the lightest full-sized tablet in the world.

Here’s the official pricing from Apple: the iPad Air with WiFi will go for $499 for the 16GB model while a 32GB one will cost $599, $699 for a 64GB,  and $799 for a 126GB device. If you’re looking for one with a data plan, it will start off at $629 for a 16GB model and go up to $729 for 32GB, $829 for 64GB, and $929 for a 128GB model.

The unveiling of a new iPad has been a long-time coming. Apple’s fourth-generation tablet made its public debut in March 2012, more than 1.5 years ago. In that version, it came equipped with a 264 pixel-per-inch Retina display, A5X with quad-core graphics, iSight, a 5MP camera, 4G LTE and more for a price starting at $499.

At its launch, the original iPad was called the “most advanced technology device” of our time, but some said that it wouldn’t be able to compete against the Netbook generation. Apple has since proved the industry wrong. Company CEO Tim Cook says that it has gone on to become one of the most successful products in its history, selling 170 million iPads. He claims that the device is being used four times more than other similar tablets.

The iPad has also become a great platform for developers, with 475,000 apps created specifically for the device.

See related: Everything Apple announced at its October event in one handy list

Photo credit: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images

Read next: iPad Air will ship on November 1 in 41 countries, iPad mini with Retina coming later in November