iPad Air 2 & iPad mini 3 release date, media event: iOS 8.1, Apple A8

Apple prepares to revamp both its tablet lines, and enthusiasts are deep in debate as to whether the impending release date for the iPad Air 2 or the iPad mini 3 is more vital for the company. The new iOS 8.1 software update is about to arrive, and users debate whether its new features or bug fixes are more important to end users. The A8 microprocessor emerges, and analysts debate whether it’ll appear in both new iPads or just in the Air. Apple’s radio silence heading into its next media event has created a vacuum which has been filled with speculation. But that silence is about to come to an end.

The iPad mini outsells the larger iPad Air, though it’s never been entirely clear whether that’s due to customer preference for the smaller form factor or simply the smaller price tag that comes with it. But while the iPad mini 3 will become the new de facto face of Apple’s tablet lineup due simply to its popularity among the masses, the higher price point and greater interior space mean the iPad Air 2 represents Apple’s best opportunity for innovation and rolling out new features first.

While it’s a given that the iPad Air 2 will include the super-fast A8 chip first debuted in the new iPhones last month, for instance, Apple may or may not be inclined to also include the A8 in the iPad mini 3. There are cost and competent supply considerations among other factors.

One feature which will be made equally available to both new iPad lines is the iOS 8 system software with its apps like Health and Apple Pay. And unless Apple has fallen behind development schedule, the new iOS 8.1 version should debut alongside them. That’ll bring new features which weren’t finished in time for the 8.0 update.

The media event debuting the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 3, and whatever else is up Apple’s sleeve is taking place this Thursday October 16th at 10am PST. The subsequent retail release date for the new iPads should come within a few days to a few weeks thereafter.