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Future Tech: 

iPads and Lollipops: Apple and Google’s new tech treats

Lollipop body

The gigantic gongs of tech’s two mightiest kingdoms have sounded around the world this week, as Google and Apple release brand new kit and software – including new iPads and Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Apple updates iPads

It’s more evolution than revolution with Apple’s newest tablet, the iPad Air 2. It’s the thinnest device of its kind, at only 6.1mm thick, and also boasts the addition of Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor, anti-reflective screen and a speedy A8X processor. Apple also upgraded its smaller tablet in the form of the iPad Mini 3, which also gets Touch ID, as well as a rear camera.

iPads 2

iPad Air 2 – the thinnest iPad yet

The new releases comes at a time when Apple’s earnings reveal sales of 13.3 million iPads in the April-June quarter of this year – a 9% fall from the same period last year. Market research suggests that, although the iPad remains the highest seller in the tablet market, its market share has dropped to 26.9% from 33%, leaving some experts to question whether the iPad Air 2 and new iPad Mini can reverse the flow. Some have also questioned whether sales of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus could further decrease demand for iPads.

Apple also launched a new iMac with an incredible 5K resolution (over twice the resolution of current HD standards), which is priced at $2,499, and an upgraded Mac Mini. Both will use Apple’s latest operating system: OS X Yosemite.

Over to you, Google

Lots of news from Google this week, with its new OS dominating the headlines. Named Lollipop, the company has described the update as a “quantum leap forward”. One of the most notable new features of Android 5.0 Lollipop is Material Design, which brings flatter icons and smoother animations.

Lollipop is also optimized for 64-bit processors, as well as being vastly improved when it comes to battery efficiency. Google has also created a new lock screen that doesn’t make you open an app to deal with notifications, and also something called ‘smart lock’, which allows users to set locations, such as in the car or at home, as places where the need to type in a password is disabled.

The software development kit for the Nexus 5 phones and Nexus 7 tablets is available now, while Lollipop will hit the public domain in November with the release of the Nexus 9 and Nexus Player…

Google’s new kit

Yes, that’s right, Google has unveiled the Nexus 9 (a tablet made by HTC) and the Nexus Player (an Android TV set-top box made by Asus). There’s also a Nexus 6, a 6-inch smartphone made by Motorola.

nexus family

The new additions to the Nexus family

The Nexus Player brings Android TV to the living room, and will cost $99 in the US and Canada. It features an Intel chip and comes with a remote control with a built-in microphone, while you can buy a controller to play video games. Google, Sony, Sharp and Philips will all include Android TV in their latest television sets. Samsung and LG are yet to declare.

The Nexus 9 tablet will cost $399 for the 16GB version, and will be sold alongside covers with built-in keyboards, much like Microsoft showcased with its Surface tablets. Perhaps the niftiest feature of all can be found on the Nexus 6 smartphone, which can be charged for just 15 minutes to deliver six hours of battery life.

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