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Apple drops the iPad Air 2; replaces it with the cheaper "iPad", starting at $329

Two and a half years ago, Apple announced the iPad Air 2, an ultra-thin 9.7-inch tablet with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, priced from $499. Today, alongside its announcements of the new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and a storage increase for the iPhone SE, Apple ditched the iPad Air 2, and replaced it with a new model simply referred to as "iPad".

Given that the Air 2 was released so long ago, the new model isn't much of an upgrade - but given that it costs significantly less than the now-deceased model, that's no great surprise.

The new iPad gets the same 64-bit A9 processor as the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus and SE, replacing the A8X chip of the iPad Air 2. The front (1.2-megapixel) and rear (8-megapixel) cameras also appear to be same as the iPad Air 2, and the new iPad also has a Touch ID fingerprint scanner embedded in the home button. The 9.7-inch Retina display has the same 2048x1536px resolution too.

But the big difference is the price. The new model now starts at just $329 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model, and $459 for the variant that includes 4G LTE connectivity. The only other storage option is 128GB, which will add an extra $100 to those prices.

The new iPad will be available to order on Friday, in Gold, Silver and Space Gray. Shipments will begin in the US and over 20 other markets from next week, expanding to more countries throughout April and May.

Apple also dropped the iPad mini 2 from its range today, while doubling the storage on the iPad mini 4 at no extra cost.

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