Three weeks ago, Apple announced to the world, “We still have a lot to cover.” With the iPads, Macbook Pros and Apple TVs all sorely needing a refresh to compete with other vendors, we were left to wonder what would be released. On Tuesday, we found out what Apple was up to.
The most drastic change of them all was found in the iPad. For the first time, the iPad Air, no longer the “new” iPad, boasts a new footprint with a 43 percent thinner bezel and 20 percent thinner profile. It also weighs only one pound, down from the previous 1.44 pounds. Anyone familiar with tablets would know how noticeable this change is. Apple jabs another sucker punch to its competitors with its unparalleled speed. The internals of the iPad are again top-of-the-line with the 64-bit A7 processor under the hood paired with the M7 motion chip introduced earlier in the 5s. Apple claims that with a 4X boost in performance, the iPad Air offers a desktop-like experience.
The iPad mini 2 was announced alongside the iPad Air. The iPad mini 2 has the same 2048x 1536 Retina display supported by the A7 processor and M7 motion chip. The iPad mini 2 was thinned down to the same 7.5 mm-thick footprint as the iPad Air, and the bezel was likewise reduced.
It will be interesting to watch the iPad mini 2’s sales figures. The iPad mini was heavily criticized for its lack of retina display when cheaper tablets such as Google’s Nexus 7, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.0 had higher screen resolutions. Against analyst expectations, the iPad mini still dominated the 7.0 inch tablet market, and now returns with an improved form factor, pristine display, and blazing-fast internals. Sadly, the Touch ID fingerprint scanner was not introduced in either tablet.
Apple also refreshed the Macbook Pro with retina display and new internals. The line now contains Intel’s new Haswell processors, which deliver much-improved graphics performance and battery life. The 13-inch and 15-inch computers are expected to last 9 hours and 8 hours respectively on a single charge. Otherwise, both computers contain faster solid-state drives, Thunderbolt 2 ports, and 802.11ac Wifi.
The new 13-inch model is thinner and lighter than before at 0.71 inches thick and 3.46 pounds, while the 15-inch model remains intact. Both models also cost less. The 13-inch computer starts at $1299 with base configurations of a 2.4 GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128 GB of solid-state storage. The 15-inch system contains a quad-core Core i7 processor paired with 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage for $1999.
Also, after 498 days since the last update, the Mac Pro refresh was welcomed gratefully by many. Apple last updated its Mac Pro line on June 11, 2012 with modest internals, leading many analysts to believe the Mac Pro line was being axed. To the contrary, Apple came back swinging with full force with its 2013 update of the Mac Pros. For $3000, the new Mac Pro now features a 3.7 GHz quad-core Xeon CPU paired with 12 GB of RAM, 256 GB of solid-state storage, and two AMD FirePro D300 GPUs. Apple claims that this is a computer you will use for the next ten years.
All computers ship with Apple’s new OSX Maverick and updated iLife and iWork packages. If you’ve been waiting to buy an Apple product, now might be just the time.