Apple

Apple announces iPad Air and more

Jack Wallen takes a look at some of the announcement highlights from today's Apple event.

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Last month, Apple unveiled two new iPhones -- the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s -- among other announcements. Today's Apple event focused on other new products and product updates, including those for MacBooks, iPads, Mac Pros, OS X Mavericks, and software. Let's take a look at some of the highlights.

iPad Air

Apple was happy to introduce the new iPad Air. Here are some of the features you can expect to see with this device:

  • Display: 9.7-inch Retina Display
  • Size: 7.5mm thick (20% thinner)
  • Weight: 1 pound (down from 1.9), which currently makes it the lightest full-sized tablet in the world
  • Processor: A7 chip (64-bit, M7 motion co-processor), which is 72x faster than the original iPad in GPU performance
  • Camera: 5 MB iSight camera (1080p HD video, FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones, improved backside illumination)
  • Battery: 10 hours battery life
  • Colors: Comes in Silver, White, and Space Gray
  • Cost: $499.00 for 16 GB Wi-Fi (Cellular is $629.00); iPad 2 remains around $399.00
  • Available: iPad Air ships November 1st

iPad mini

Here are some features that you can expect to see with the new iPad mini:  

  • Display: Retina display; 2048 x 1536 pixel display at 7.9 inches
  • Processor: A7 Chip (64-bit); 4x faster CPU and 8x faster graphics
  • Networking: MIMO Wi-Fi support; Extended LTE bands
  • Colors: Comes in black and white
  • Battery: 10 hour battery life
  • Cost: $399 Wi-Fi with 16 GB storage; Original iPad mini (16 GB) remains at $299
  • Available: Arriving in November

Mac Pro

Let's take a look at the some of the new features we can expect to see in the Mac Pro:  

  • Processor: Intel Xeon E5, with 3, 6, 8, or 12-cores
  • 1866 MHz DDR3 ECC (Four-channel controller, up to 60 GB/s bandwidth, up to 64 GB)
  • Dual GPUs (AMD FirePro graphics, up to 4096 stream processors, dual 384-bit memory buses, up to 12 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 528 GB/s total bandwidth, up to 7 teraflops)
  • PCIe controller (up to 1.2 GB/s reads, 1.0 GB/s writes, up to 1 TB capacity)
  • Thunderbolt 2 (20Bg/s throughput, channel bonding, up to 6 devices per port, backwards compatible)
  • Bluetooth 4 supported; 802.11ac supported; USB 3
  • Energy efficient (43 watts at idle vs. over 160 watts for current Mac Pro)
  • Cost: Prices start at $2,999 (3.7 GHz quad-core Xeon, 12 GB DRAM, Dual FirePro D300, 2 GB VRAM each, 256 GB SSD)
  • Available: Before the end of the year

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro also has some improvements. Here are a few things you can expect to see with this device:

The 13-inch MacBook Pro

  • Processor: Runs 4th gen dual-core Haswell chips
  • Display: Iris integrated graphics
  • Battery: Up to 9 hours of battery life
  • Network: 802.11ac Wi-Fi supported
  • Interface: Thunderbolt 2
  • Cost: Starts at $1,299 (down from $1,499) -- with 2.4 GHz i5, 4 GB RAM, Iris Gfx, and 128 GB storage
  • Available now

The 15-inch MacBook Pro

  • Processor: Runs 4th gen Intel Quad core
  • Display: Iris Pro graphics (upgrade to GeForce GT750)
  • Battery: 8 hours battery life
  • Cost: $1999, down from $2199 -- with 256 GB SSD, 8 GB DRAM, 2.0 Ghz i7
  • Available: now

OS X Mavericks

On the software side, OS X Mavericks is free and now available for Mac users who are upgrading from Mountain Lion or Snow Leopard. Here's some of the latest information about this new release: 

  • 10% increase in battery life
  • Compressed memory, which will scrunch down RAM -- effectively getting 6 GB of RAM when you only have 4 GB RAM installed
  • Apps can now adjust how memory is handled based on the task
  • OpenCL speeds up tasks by 1.8 times or higher
  • Tweaks to finder tags, notifications, full-screen apps with multiple monitors
  • Apple Maps will finally appear
  • New iBook app
  • Documents can be tagged for better searching
  • iCloud Keychain
  • Safari Reader redesign

iLife

  • iLife, iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband getting retooled for iOS 7 and Mac
  • Photo browsing much improved in iOS 7
  • New look for iPhoto in iOS -- black and gray
  • Book making for iPhoto in iOS -- design books on your phone or tablet and pay Apple to print it and send it to you
  • iMovie has a new look (you can also easily share videos out to social networks) and more effects (like picture in picture and slo-motion controls)
  • Garageband going from 8 tracks to 16 (64-bit devices can handle 32 tracks)
  • All of these apps will be free with purchase of any new Mac or iOS device

iWork

  • Pages, Numbers, and Keynotes have all been reworked
  • iWork now has “full file compatibility”
  • Content sensitive keyboards on iOS and contextual controls on the side of the screen for Mac App
  • More realistic physics for Keynote transitions
  • Share documents through Apples iWork Beta service online
  • Online collaboration built in
  • iWork free on any new Mac or iOS device

There you have it! Were there any surprises? What Apple product or software announcement are you most excited about? Share your feedback in the discussion thread below.


About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

5 comments
333239
333239

As usual with Apple stuff, HFM?!

The software is not free, as Steve117 said it's just factored into the hardware price which is already way too much. Still, all those Apple profits have to come from somewhere don't they. When you add up the TCO then Microsoft doesn't really have to worry.

eoschlotz
eoschlotz

Brilliant strategy to give away the OS, iLife, and iWork - it hits Microsoft right in their pocketbook. The MacPro pricing is very disappointing. $3000 BASE with basically no disk or display. And you have to use very expensive Thunderbolt external drives to do anything. No thanks.

Steve117
Steve117

Nothing special here. free software... I think they just factored in the price of the software into the hardware.

gregory
gregory

Still no removable storage options like Android units (SD Cards, USB port, etc.). They wonder why they are losing market share at a rapid pace. Still too much interlock with iTunes. My daughter once said, "iPads are just
large iPhones" So true. User flexibility is key.

monsuco
monsuco

So happy to hear Mavericks is freeware. We've still got some machines on Lion and I was worried about Apple dropping support for Lion. Now we can upgrade without me having to fight for a budget.