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New iPad Air 2 likely to be thinner, faster and feature Touch ID sensor

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Apple is expected to unveil the next generation of iPads this week, but looks like tipsters are determined to reveal much of what’s in store even before the final launch.

A recent leak by a Vietnamese website that seems to have got a prototype of the new iPad Air or the iPad Air 2 reveals that it will be just 7 mm thick. Shaving off the extra 0.5mm from the original iPad Air might not make it the thinnest tablet in the market, thanks to rival tablets by Sony and Dell. However, the slimmer chassis might mean that Apple could sacrifice the mute button in the right side.

Similarly, a Chinese blog has got its hands on the internal hardware of the forthcoming iPad Air. It says that we can expect it to come with a faster A8X processor and 2GB of Ram. According to Macrumors, Apple has traditionally used “X” versions of its main chips with enhanced graphics for its iPads, so we can expect better performance in games and other graphics-heavy apps and websites.

The website further reveals that the next iPad Air will feature a Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the home button, which will allow Apple Pay transactions as with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple is launching Apple Pay later this month in the US, so there will be a wide range Apple products making the most of this service, including the new iPad.

There’s little change in the design, except for recessed volume buttons, which were first adopted in Apple’s latest iPhone 6 models. According to Apple Insider, the speaker grille has apparently changed from two rows to a single row of holes. The Vietnamese blog Tinhte.vn points out a new hole above the volume control buttons, which could be a microphone.

Along with the 9.7-inch iPad Air, Apple may launch a larger tablet, which some speculate to be the iPad Pro. It is expected to flaunt a larger, 12.9-inch liquid-crystal-display screen with a resolution similar to the iPad Air. There’s little news on whether we’ll see a upgraded iPad Mini this year.

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