Microsoft, Nokia and Apple all unveiled their latest technology Tuesday, ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Apple debuts ‘iPad Air’
Apple on Tuesday unveiled a slimmer version of its top-selling full-size tablet computer, dubbed the "iPad Air," along with a revamped iPad Mini with an improved high-definition display.
The new iPad Air is 43 percent thinner than the version it replaces, weighs just one pound (450 grams), and is "screaming fast," Apple vice president Phil Schiller said at an unveiling.
Apple also showed an upgraded iPad Mini, which has high-definition "retina" display along with faster computing power and graphics.
The two new iPads will be sold alongside the existing versions, starting November 1 in a number of countries.
The iPad Air will start at $499 and the new Mini version at $399 for US customers.
Apple will cut the prices of the older iPad versions.
New Surface tablets hit the market
Whether or not you like Microsoft's updated Surface tablets will depend on your needs.
Both the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets can be great for working on the go, especially with the $130 keyboard cover accessory.
On the flip side, the new versions still lack the elegance and fun that iPads are known for and many Android-based tablets now offer. People used to the hundreds of thousands of apps on those devices will be disappointed.
The Surface 2 starts at $449 and runs a lightweight version of Windows 8.1 called RT, meaning it works only with apps designed specifically for it.
The Surface Pro 2 starts at $899 and runs a full version of Windows 8.1, so it also works with programs designed for traditional desktops and laptops, including Photoshop and Quicken personal-finance software.
Both new Surface tablets go on sale Tuesday.
Microsoft also will continue to sell last year's Surface RT model for $349.
Nokia announces first tablet
Nokia introduced its first tablet computer, the Lumia 2520, Tuesday.
It will run Windows 8.1 RT, the lightweight version of Windows. All versions of the 2520 will come with built-in 4G LTE cellular access.
By contrast, iPads and most other tablets make cellular access optional, with their cheapest models capable of using Wi-Fi only for Internet access.
The 10.1-inch tablet will cost $499. An optional cover with a physical keyboard and extended battery life is $149 extra.
The camera is 6.7 megapixels, but shares the low-light technology and manual controls found in the Lumia 1020.
The Lumia 2520 will be on sale by the end of the year.