Over the last 24 hours, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has all but confirmed that it will unveil its latest iPad tablets at an event located near its Cupertino, California headquarters on October 16. The event has been confirmed by Apple sending out invitations, but the world’s largest seller of consumer electronics is remaining as enigmatic as usual with regard to the content of this particular confab.

Apple cryptically stated in its invitations for the events that “it’s been way too long.” While this doesn’t give too much away, the opinion of the analyst community is that it is a clear indication that the new iPad Air 2 will be launched in California.

With sales of tablets having fallen quite significantly, Apple will be looking to produce an outstanding device with the iPad Air 2 in order to entice new consumers to the range. it is also a key time for the Apple share price, with the psychologically vital $100 barrier having just been penetrated.

apple_stock Apple iPad Air 2

So what can we expect from this critical tablet release. Here is a rundown of the rumoured specs of this hotly anticipated device.

Apple iPad Air 2 Details

Size

While smartphones are getting bigger, it was only last year that Apple re-designed the iPad 4, with it now featuring thinner bezels and a new lightweight feel. However, it seems that the opposite might be the case with the iPad Air 2. Rumours currently indicate that this new tablet could be as large as 12.9-inches, although the existence of a smaller companion model is also expected. This would, of course, be very much in line with Apple’s policy for the iPhone 6.

Display

There are some exciting rumors are doing the rounds with regard to the display of the iPad Air 2, with some analysts suggesting that this could become the first 4K device from Apple. It is presumed that this will be a Retina HD device as well. Previous claims of this nature have proven to be inaccurate, so this shouldn’t be taken for granted. But it is also rumoured that Apple iMac range will go 5K in this generation, so the momentum is certainly heading in that direction.

Apple iPad Air 2 - Release Date, Specs, Price

Apple Pay and TouchID

The most recent release of iOS 8.1 contained within its source code indications that the iPad Air 2, in both purported device sizes, will be compatible with the TouchID fingerprint scanner and NFC / Apple Pay. This seems a racing certainty, given the determination of Apple to establish itself in the highly lucrative mobile payments market. Given the prominence of tablet computers in commercial advertising, it is hard to believe that Apple will not include these features in the forthcoming iPad Air 2.

Split-Screen

In software terms, the biggest innovation for the iPad Air 2 may be the introduction of a split-screen mode. There are already early versions of this mode which have been discovered within iOS eight, which suggest functionality not dissimilar to the Windows 8 Metro interface. This enables users to have two applications running side-by-side simultaneously. In accordance with this rumor, it is suggested that Apple will provide the device with 2 GB of RAM in order to ensure that it is powerful enough to deal with application multitasking.

Storage

The general consensus on storage is that the iPad Air 2 will very much follow the template provided by the iPhone 6. This would suggest that Apple will offer iPad Air 2 buyers 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB versions of the tablet.

Price

It is rather early to speculate on what the iPad Air 2 will cost, but one thing can be said with some certainty. If Apple chooses to release a 12.9-inch version of this tablet, it will not be cheap for consumers to purchase. It looks as if this will be the most feature-packed tablet that Apple has ever released, as it attempts to kickstart the range again, so we shouldn’t perhaps expect it to be a particularly affordable device; at least in the higher spec version.