Apple iPad Mini And More Announced Today
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Today’s announcement brought surprise to Apple fans that many felt was lacking in the iPhone 5 event. From a brand new iMac redesign to quick and speedy Proper iPad refresh, Apple was able to hit many areas where many weren’t looking. While all eyes were on the new iPad Mini, Apple was able to secretly revamp much of their product line, and just in time for the holidays.
Apple today unveiled their long awaited and long rumored iPad Mini at San Jose´s California Theatre. Just as many had expected, the new, smaller iPad is actually called the “iPad Mini,” a name which many who initially had issues with have finally learned to accept in the many months leading up to today´s announcement. Also, (almost) as expected, the iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch display, non-Retina, and bares Apple´s latest in connectors, the Lightning port.
Apple has managed to make a very slim and powerful device in the iPad mini. Weighing in at only .68 pounds and just 7.2 mm thin, the iPad Mini fits the same form factor that many thought it would: Slightly iPad, slightly iPod Touch, all Apple. In fact, according to Apple, it´s “Every inch an iPad.”
The iPad Mini won´t be getting the Retina screen, (XGA 1024×768 resolution) and Phil Schiller even described this new smaller iPad as “equal to or better” than the iPad 2. For instance, the Mini gets a full 10 hours of battery life and runs on a dual-core A5 chip. Unlike the iPad 2, the Mini also gets LTE as well as the new Wi-Fi technologies which are in the 4th Gen iPad and iPhone 5.
The iPad Mini also gets the same diamond cut, chamfered edge and some other similarities as the newest iPhone and iPods. There are also brand new Smart Covers as well, which wrap around the spine of the iPad Mini.
There´s a 5 megapixel camera on the backside of the new Mini and a FaceTime HD camera on the front, capable of shooting 720p videos.
And while the iPad Mini doesn´t get the Retina display, Apple did utilize the new in-cell technology to laminate the display into the new tablet, making it incredibly thin.
There were plenty of question marks going into this event, not the least of which being at what price point this new iPad Mini would start.
Another surprise: Schiller announced these new iPad Minis will start at $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model. Pre-orders will start this Friday and Wi-Fi models will ship November 2.
Many had assumed Apple would price these tablets more aggressively, somewhere near the $199 or $249 range.
The iPad Mini was the headliner at this event, and while there was zero mention of iTunes 11, Cook and Schiller did take time to announce new Macs and even a new, 4th Generation Proper iPad.
13” MacBook Pro with Retina Display
Just as the rumors had predicted, Phil Schiller announced a new, 13” MacBook Pro with Retina Display, calling it the thinnest MacBook Pro ever with the world´s Second highest display on a laptop computer. Just as is the case with its 15” inch sibling, this smaller Retina MBP should be extra fast, extra smooth and extra beautiful.
The new 13” MBP with Retina also comes with Ivy Bridge processors, Intel HD 4000 graphics, 8GB RAM and up to 768 GB of flash storage, all powered by a 7-hour battery. Pricing for the 2.5 Ghz Starts at just $1,699 and will begin shipping today.
Schiller also announced an update to the Mac Mini line, introducing Ivy Bridge processors, Intel HD 4000 graphics and up to 16GB RAM and up to 1 TB. Starting out, the new Mac Mini with 500 GB of Hard Drive starts at just $599. All new Mac Minis begin shipping today. According to Apple, the Mac Mini is the world´s most efficient desktop, using up just half of the energy once consumed by older models.
One big surprise which many Apple fans have been waiting for was the new generation of iMacs. This new form factor makes the new iMacs incredibly thin, up to 80% thinner with a 5mm edge. To achieve this thin design, Apple deployed the similar lamination, in-cell technology used on the iPhone and iPad Mini, leading to 75% less reflection on the screen.
The new iMacs come equipped with Ivy Bridge, up to a 3 TB hard drive, 32 GB or RAM and, should the mood stoke, up to 768 GB of Flash memory. Apple´s even named a new technology called “Fusion Drive.”
While it sounds like this is nothing more than Apple´s very own hybrid drives, Fusion Drive pairs together a 128 GB flash drive with a 1 or 3 TB hard drive and can automatically determine which apps and documents a user calls up the most. Those which are called up most often are placed on flash storage, while the others are stored on a spinning disk. Mountain Lion is also stored on the flash side, allowing for speedy startups. This technology is already built into Mountain Lion and should begin working as soon as these drives begin shipping.
These iMacs, by the way, start at only $1,299 for the 21” with a 2.7 GHz quad-core i5, 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive. The 21” iMac will begin shipping in “November.”
The 27” iMac starts at $1799, and will begin shipping in “December.”
The new iPad
Another huge surprise to those watching: Apple has already announced the 4th generation iPad, just months after releasing the latest “iPad” with Retina Display.
Apple couldn´t let the iPhone have a faster processor than the iPad for long, of course, and the new iPad comes with an A6X chip, which Schiller promised will have twice the performance over the already zippy A6. This new iPad still gets 10 hours of battery life , LTE with “Expanded Coverage,” (Schiller was careful to note this feature) and the same, updates wireless configurations as the iPhone 5, with 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz Wi-Fi.
Just as the previous generation, the new, 4th Gen iPad also starts at $499 for a 16 GB iPad, $629 for an iPad with “cellular.”
And, just like the rest of Apple´s newest devices, the new, 4th Gen iPad (which, interestingly enough, is still referred to only as “the iPad”) gets the same Lightning port treatment, bringing Apple´s newest, all-digital connector to their latest and greatest tablet.
This announcement held many surprises, something die-hard Apple fans had been looking for, especially after last month´s incredibly predictable iPhone 5 announcement. Now, with new desktops, iPads, iPhones, iPods and Laptops, there´s almost nothing brand new which won´t be able to find its way underneath a tree this holiday season, and I have to think Apple planned this very well.