THE Christmas computer wars have heated up as Apple and its rivals launched new tablets last night.
The new, full-size iPad, called the iPad Air, is almost a third lighter than the existing full-sized model and features a new PC-grade chip. It will cost around €500 and will be available from November 1.
Meanwhile, the new iPad mini sports a 'Retina' high-resolution display and more power.
Apple also discounted its existing iPad mini, which will remain on sale to challenge cheaper tablet PCs.
Demand is likely to be strongest for the new iPad mini, which now outsells Apple's high-end iPad models in Irish shops.
iPads are the best-selling tablets in Ireland, according to retail figures.
Apple is not the only one to launch shiny new devices over the last 24 hours.
Nokia has also unveiled its first tablet PC, the Lumia 2520.
To date, Microsoft-powered tablets have proven to be popular with business users but have struggled to find traction in the consumer market. Nokia's 2520 will cost from €500, with an optional keyboard accessory costing around €100 extra.
However, the company has declined to say whether it will go on sale in Ireland before Christmas. Nokia's new gadget is the second Windows-based tablet PC launched in successive days, with Microsoft's own Surface 2 machine released in Irish shops earlier this week.