In addition to being thinner and 28 percent lighter, the iPad Air also has a 43 percent narrower bezel around the screen's borders. The overall volume of the device has been reduced by 24 percent from the previous generation.
"iPad created an entirely new mobile computing experience, and the new iPad Air is another big leap ahead. It is so thin, light and powerful, once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is," Apple marketing chief Philip Schiller said. "iPad Air with its 9.7-inch Retina display weighs just one pound and packs the incredible performance of iOS 7 running on a 64-bit desktop-class Apple A7 chip, and delivers all-day battery life in the lightest full-sized tablet in the world."
Inside it features the new A7 chip that just launched in the iPhone 5s, featuring 64-bit architecture. The iPad Air also sports the new M7 Motion Processor with doubled graphics and CPU performance.
Apple's latest tablet flagship is the first to feature MiMo wireless technology, allowing multiple Wi-Fi connections at once to boost 802.11n performance up to two times. The cellular-capable models also have expanded LTE support.
Other features of the iPad Air are a 5-megapixel iSight camera, an improved forward-facing FaceTime Camera, and dual microphones, all while still featuring the same 10-hour battery life, even as nearly a half-pound has been shaved off of the device's weight.
"When you hold it, it will be a dramatically different experience from the previous iPad," Schiller said Tuesday.
The iPad Air comes in space grey and white, as well as black, and starts at $499. Models with cellular LTE connectivity start at $629, shipping Nov. 1.
Also still a part of Apple's lineup is the iPad 2, which remains available for $399. The company also announced on Tuesday that total iPad sales have exceeded 170 million as of earlier this month.
AppleInsider's will have a full list of availability in the Price Guide as the tablets roll out.