The 9.7-inch iPad Air is 20% thinner than the previous model, and weighs only one pound. Photo courtesy: AP
(Brett Molina, USA TODAY)-- Eager technology fans braved lines at Apple stores around the world to snag the company's latest iPad tablet.
The iPad Air launched in 42 countries including the U.S. on Friday, the latest gadget to enter an increasingly heated tablet market.
The 9.7-inch iPad Air is 20% thinner than the previous model, and weighs only one pound. It features the zippier A7 processing chip as well as the M7 coprocessor, both of which are found in Apple's iPhone 5s.
Stakes are high for Apple, as the company continues to lose market share in the crowded tablet space. During the third quarter, Apple commanded a 29.6% market share for global tablet shipments, down from more than 40% last year, says IDC. Meanwhile, rival Samsung is gaining ground, boosting its share in the third quarter from 12% to 20%.
Apple is looking to top the 3 million iPads sold last year, when the fourth-generation iPad and the iPad mini launched. A new iPad mini with Retina display is slated to hit stores later this month.