Consumers here will be among the first in Asia to get their hands on the iPad Air 2 when it starts selling at retail stores next week. Together with Hong Kong and Japan, Singapore is one of only three markets in Asia that will start selling both the Wi-Fi and 4G LTE versions of the device. China and Macau will have only the Wi-Fi models available at launch.
Unveiled yesterday by Apple chief executive Tim Cook, the 6.1mm-thick iPad Air 2 beats its closest rivals, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (6.6mm) and the Sony Xperia Z2 tablets (6.4mm), by a sliver to regain its thinnest mainstream tablet title.
Other features of the new iPad include the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, a faster processor and an upgraded rear camera.
Marketing director Daniel Lee, 34, intends to get the new iPad Air 2 because of "its aluminium build, great feel and reasonable price tag".
But others felt the new Apple tablet was nothing to shout about.
"Given Apple's policy not to have useful features like removable storage, I think it can limit itself only to minor improvements in processor and chassis," said marketing executive Andrew Chan, 40.
The iPad Air 2 comes at a time when Apple is seeking to shake up the slowing sales of iPads. According to Kantar Worldpanel Comtech data, nearly 50 per cent of iPads in use are of the first- and second-generation models, which were introduced in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The entire tablet industry is also facing slower growth. Research firm Gartner estimated that tablet sales worldwide will reach 229 million units this year, a mere 11 per cent increase from last year. Last year, tablet sales grew 55 per cent from 2012.
"Some tablet users are not replacing a tablet with a tablet - they are favouring hybrid or two-in-one devices," said Mr Ranjit Atwal, Gartner's research director.
In an interview with Wall Street Journal after the launch, Mr Cook said he remains "bullish over the long haul" about the iPad, although he admitted that quarterly sales may continue to fluctuate.
In addition to the iPad Air 2, Apple launched the iPad mini 3, which comes with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, as well as a new 27-inch iMac with a high-resolution display.
This article was first published on Oct 18, 2014.
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