Apple's new iPad air is 20 per cent thinner and 28 per cent lighter than the previous version

Thinner iPad and faster Mac introduced by Apple

Thinner iPads and faster Mac computers together with free upgrades for life on its operating system and business software have been introduced by Apple during a launch event in San Francisco.

Joining the series of high-tech product launches before the onset of the Christmas shopping craze, Apple has unveiled the iPad Air – a full-sized tablet about 20 per cent thinner and 28 per cent lighter than the previous tablet generations.

The gadget weighs only one pound and features a high resolution 9.7-inch Retina display.

Also the new iPad mini is fitted with a Retina display, described by Apple as bringing all the pixels from the 9.7-inch iPad to its 7.9-inch screen.

Those expecting a launch of entirely new revolutionary products, such as wearable gadgets, could have been disappointed as Apple went for evolutionary improvements instead, fitting the new iPads with faster processors and better screens.

"As always with Apple, expectations on systematic breakthrough hardware innovations are irrational," said Thomas Husson, an analyst at Forrester. "Apple is good at inventing new products and at maximizing profitability of its product range over time through software innovations and clever marketing."

The new iPads are entering a market where competition is fierce with Microsoft, Nokia and Amazon having recently introduced their respective devices. For the first time in the iPads’ history, the products will start selling in the USA and China at the same time as Apple doesn’t want to lose time in its biggest market region.

The new Mac Pro is a premium and high-powered cylindrical desktop computer that will be assembled in the USA.

Aiming to improve its position in the Microsoft dominated desktop software market, Apple has introduced free upgrades to its Mac operating system and iWork software suite, which competes with Microsoft Corp's Excel, Word and other applications.

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