Apple’s iPad Air And iPad Mini With Retina Event - 23 Oct 2013

Just over a month after their last event, and the reveal of the iPhone 5C and 5S, Apple has held another event at which they spoke about a plethora of new technology being made available for consumers. Although the event is now referred to as Apple’s iPad Air Event there was so much more than just the next iPad.

The iPad Air

ipad air

Obviously the next generation of iPad, the iPad Air, took centre stage, bringing with it the upgrades we all thought we’d see. First on the list was a thinner look, twenty percent thinner to be exact, at 7.5mm. Apple also announced this iPad is lighter than all it’s previous iterations at just 1 pound, making it the lightest tablet computer available on the market.

The iPad Air will have the same casing (only slightly larger) as the iPad Mini, bringing the same sleek look to the entire iPad range. Both the rear facing and Face-Time cameras have seen an upgrade, with a 5mp iSight camera on the rear, and a FaceTime HD camera on the front. Dual microphones are also being used for the first time in the iPad Air, meaning less background noise is heard when talking into it.

The new 64-bit A7 Processor and M7 Motion Processor bring all of these new features together, both of which are now part of the iPad Air. The new chips, also used in the iPhone 5S, allow for up to 8 times faster performance, and 72 times faster graphics performance. Even supporting new technology, these chips don’t hinder the device’s battery life, maintaining the 10 or so hours you could achieve with the previous generation.

From Friday November 1st you’ll be able to purchase a new iPad in a number of sizes: 16GB (£399 Wi-Fi only – £499 with cellular data), 32GB (£479 Wi-Fi only – £579 with cellular data), 64GB (£599 Wi-Fi only – £659 with cellular data), and 128GB (£639 Wi-Fi only – £739 with cellular data). Each model comes in either white/silver or black/space grey, matching those available for the iPhone 5S, apart from gold.

iPad Mini with Retina Display

ipad mini with retina display

Possibly the biggest news to come out of the event was this, the announcement of an iPad Mini model with retina display. Since the launch of the iPad Mini, a retina display has been at the top of everyone’s list when asked what they would like in the next model, and thankfully Apple listened.

The new iPad Mini will use the same A7 chip as the iPad Air, making it 4 times faster at performing CPU tasks, 8 times faster at performing graphics tasks, and it’ll maintain the 10 hour battery life you could get out of your old iPad Mini. The new model will be available in the same sizes and colours as the iPad Air, though the release date is set to be later in November: 16GB (£319 Wi-Fi only – £419 with cellular data), 32GB (£399 Wi-Fi only – £499 with cellular data), 64GB (£479 Wi-Fi only – £579 with cellular data), and 128GB (£599 Wi-Fi only – £659 with cellular data).

As we mentioned in a previous post, Apple were thought to be developing a cheaper model of the new iPad Mini to match the marketing strategy of the iPhone 5C. Apple didn’t announce a cheaper model of the iPad Mini with Retina Display, but they did say that the iPad Mini with standard display would still be available after the launch of the new model, meaning there is a cheaper alternative for those looking for a smaller tablet.

The New MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro with Retina Display

macbook pro with retina display

As predicted by many, the new MacBook Pro range will use the latest Intel Haswell Processor, making it the standard for the entire Mac range. The new processor will give a boost to graphics and performance, with battery life in this range also boosted to around 8 or 9 hours.

The MacBook Pro with Retina Display will obviously have the upper hand with an improved display, but they also include improved graphics technology, resulting in 2 times the 3D performance at a rate that’s 45% faster than the highest end MacBook Pro. To bring the new range up to date with the MacBook Air, the new MacBook Pros will also have 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and Thunderbolt 2 ports. Retina display is incredibly crisp and clear as the eye cannot detect pixels on it at normal viewing distance, which is why bringing it to the MacBook Pro range is such a good idea.

The Mac Pro

mac pro

News on the Mac Pro has been almost non-existent since its reveal, but yesterday Apple shed light on what’s inside the black cylinder of power. The Mac Pro will use a Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor, come with up to 16GB of Ram, Dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics processors, and a 256GB SSD, configurable up to 1TB.

Apple boasted that this incredibly powerful Mac would be as quiet as the current Mac Minis and use 70 percent less power than the current Mac Pros. Also confirmed was the release date for the Mac Pro, which will be December this year. A December release date means everyone can start taking advantage of its power around Christmas time.

OSX Mavericks

osx mavericks

Even if you didn’t watch the event you’ll know this bit already, Mavericks is free and can be downloaded right now. The new operating system brings with it a number of new features, all of which are aimed at boosting performance and battery life across the board.

Apple said that you’ll be able to get around an hour of extra web browsing time thanks to a feature called Compressed Memory. This feature allows your Mac to detect when programs aren’t being used and tabs are simply sitting there for reference. The feature will then compress the inactive data to allow for better performance from the programs and tabs you are using. Mavericks will also support new versions of apps that have been optimized to provide new features and better usability. Mavericks supports OpenCL, meaning it will allocate more or less memory to the integrated GPU depending on what you’re doing, resulting in better graphics.

On top of Mavericks being free to upgrade to, Apple has also said that anyone can upgrade to it, meaning everyone who has a Mac that’s a few years old and hasn’t got the latest OS on, can now take advantage of the most-powerful OS from Apple to date. Many people thought that Apple would only allow Macs of a certain age to download OSX Mavericks, but this change not only contradicts that but also the opinion of those who think Apple simply stop support for devices after two years.

Apps

osx mavericks apps

There have been several updates to the core Apple apps, including the iLife and iWork suites. iWork in particular is said to have had the biggest overhaul ever, giving it full file compatibility across various devices and the web. iWork for iCloud will now let users work together in the same document, and apps such as Pages, Numbers and Keynote now all include new features such as animations.

Apple has also worked hard to provide better apps for iOS. iMovie for iOS has seen a redesign, and is now geared more towards editing. A new feature called iMovie Theatre will let users store trailers and movies in one place that’s backed up by iCloud.  Garageband is another app that has been upgraded for iOS. There are new features to choose from, such as Drummer, and a redesigned look much like iMovie.

Sales

apple sales

Apple took time to go over some sales figures from the year gone by, and gave out a few key points that were quite interesting.

The weekend after the launch of the new iPhones saw 9 million iPhones sold, though no distinction was made between the 5S and 5C, and with Apple supposedly cutting back on the production of iPhone 5Cs it could be that their budget smartphone didn’t sell as well as they thought it would. 5 days after the iPhone launch there were 200 million devices running on iOS7, with more than 20 million listening to 1 billion songs on iTunes Radio.

The Appstore now has more than 1 million apps available for users, and so far 60 billion of them have been downloaded. Lastly, 170 million iPads have been sold in total, which is more than four times the total sales combined for competing tablet devices (Apple seemed quite pleased about this last point).

On a final note, there was a distinct lack of Touch ID, the fingerprint scanning technology used in the iPhone 5S, at the event. Many have said this shows that hackers have shaken Apple’s confidence in the device, and that the technology may not see a transition to iPads or Macs in the future. However, this lack of appearance could also simply mean that Apple is saving Touch ID on iPad for next year, when they reveal the next generation of iPad Mini and iPad Air.

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