APPLE IS SET to launch two new iPads today, marking the beginning of a tech arms race in the run-up to Christmas.
A new 10-inch model is expected to be slimmer and more powerful than the current standard iPad model, with a PC-grade chip tipped for the updated device.
Apple is also said to be preparing a new cover case with a built-in keyboard, targeting those who want to replace their laptops altogether.
Meanwhile, the technology giant could introduce a new high-resolution 'Retina' screen on its 8-inch iPad Mini line of tablets, which are now outselling the larger 10-inch models (below) in Irish shops.
The tablets are likely to go on sale in Ireland early next month, with an expected sale price of around €350 for the updated iPad mini and €500 for the larger model.
Apple, which saw its tablet sales fall in its last round of sales figures, is facing fierce competition from rival tablet manufacturers, with many models now on sale in Irish shops for under €150.
New research from Gartner shows that the average selling price of tablets is falling, largely due to the proliferation of Google's Android operating system on tablets such as Google's Nexus 7, Samsung's Galaxy tablets and budget manufacturers such as Archos, Asus and Prestigio.
However, the iPad remains Ireland's best-selling tablet range, according to Irish retail figures.
The two new iPads will be launched on the day that rival firm Microsoft announce the Irish launch of two new tablet devices, the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2.
The company is also offering 200GB of free online storage space for two years as a sweetener.
The devices cost €440 and €900 for the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, respectively.