Tablet Tuesday: New Apple iPads vs. Nokia Lumia 2520 vs. Microsoft Surface 2

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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**Editor's Note: More interested in handsets than tablets? Click here for our list of September's hottest selling smartphones or here for our top 10 list of best smartphones in 2013 (so far).**

If you've waited to get at tablet for your business – or just for fun at home – your options increased quite a bit on Tuesday.

Apple's new iPads will steal the most headlines. The Silicon Valley giant unveiled its new flagship tablet, which it's calling iPad Air. The 9.7-inch device has a faster processor and better camera than last year's model. Most significantly, the Air lives up to its name, tipping the scales at just one pound – nearly 30 percent lighter than the 2012 version. It's also 20 percent thinner. You can get it in silver and space grey.

You'll pay $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad Air; those compatible with cellular networks start at $629. If you want 32GB of storage, you'll pay an extra $100. You can get as much as 128GB if you want to shell out $799 (Wi-Fi-only) or $929 (cellular-connected). The Air is available in 40 countries beginning Nov. 1.

“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," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

Apple also introduced its second iPad mini. This version of the 7.9-inch device comes with the company's sharper Retina display and the upgraded processor. Prices start at $399 (Wi-Fi-only) and $529 (cellular). The new mini goes on sale sometime in November.

Apple is consolidating its tablet product line. Only the new iPads, the iPad 2 and the original iPad mini are available. The company cut $100 off the price of the old mini. The base model of the iPad 2 will go for $399.

“This is the clearest statement Apple could have made that it is only interested in competing in the premium tablet space," noted Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum. "The yawning gap between the specs of the cheaper iPad mini and iPad 2 and the new iPads signifies that it is only willing to compete at the lower price points with older models. This leaves a huge chunk of the tablet market unserved by Apple while others such as Google, Amazon and a raft of others aggressively target the sub-$400 market. This reinforces our view that Apple's share in tablets will continue to fall as Android's share rises over the coming years."

Also new is something T-Mobile USA customers will enjoy. Their carrier will offer iPads for the first time.

Not to be outdone, Nokia made news on Tuesday by unveiling its first Windows-based tablet, the Lumia 2520.

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