Apple Unveils New iPads at Oct. 16 Event

Apple unveils new iPads at Oct. 16 event
Apple Event
Apple on Thursday unveiled a new iPad Air 2 that will improve upon its past tablet models.
The latest iPads will include Touch ID, which allows users to unlock their devices and authorize purchases with their fingerprint. That option is already available on the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The new device is 18 percent thinner than the previous iPad Air.

iPad Air 2 will come in silver, space gray and gold. It starts with $499 with 16 GB, $599 for 64 GB and $699 for 128 GB. Apple also introduced a new iPad mini 3, starting at $399. Pre-orders for the two devices start today. They ship starting next week.

Last year, Apple unveiled the iPad Air, a 9.4 inch tablet that weighs 1 pound, much lighter than previous iPads. On Wednesday, a user guide for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 was posted on the iTunes store, indicating Touch ID for the tablets would likely be announced on Thursday, according to blog 9to5Mac.

Apple is still the leader in tablets, with 37 percent of all households owning an iPad in the first quarter, according to survey of 10,000 U.S. households by research and consulting firm Parks Associates. After Apple, about 16 percent of households had an Amazon tablet and 14 percent had a Samsung tablet, the firm said.

But tablet sales haven’t been as robust. In Apple’s third quarter, iPad sales declined 9 percent to roughly 13 million units sold. Part of the reason why people may not be buying new iPads is because Apple builds strong products that people want to keep longer, said Tim Bajarin, president of research firm Creative Strategies. Additions to the new iPads such as the Touch ID, could convince some people with the iPad 2 or first generation iPad to upgrade, he added.

Analysts predicted Apple would discuss Apple Pay and more details about Mac operating system Yosemite. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Apple Pay begins on Monday, while Craig Federighi said Yosemite will come out today.

The event will begin at 10 a.m. Pacific time on Thursday at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino. Follow me @thewendylee on Twitter and check back here for details.