October 22, 2013
New iPads, Macs Officially Released By Tech Giant Apple
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Following the trail it blazed last year, Apple has this year released new iPads one month after releasing its new iPhones. This year’s announcement saw a newly redesigned and renamed fifth-generation iPad as well as new iPad minis with a Retina Display, finally settling a long held debate.
The Mac line also got some attention today as Apple announced its newest operating system, Mavericks, will finally be available today from the Mac App Store for free, no charge. This new operating system will ship natively on the new MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros, as well as the American made, pill-shaped Mac Pro, Apple said in the announcement.
The name of the game today, however, was “Free.”
Apple is offering nearly all of its homemade apps for free for new iOS and Mac users. When Apple didn’t release something for free, it dramatically slashed the prices and now offers iPads as low as $299 and MacBook Pros with Retina Displays as low as $1299.
iPad Air, Retina iPad Mini
The iPad line saw significant changes; the most notable is the renaming of the 9.7-inch iPad. The new iPad Air is, like it’s MacBook namesake, thinner and lighter than any other tablet. It is 7.5 mm thin and weighs only one pound. It gets the same A7 chip as the iPhone 5S, which may speak more to the power of the chip itself. Apple also packed in the M7 motion coprocessor, which handles the accelerometer, gyroscope and more, aiding in better battery life.
The 64-bit architecture was shown off earlier in the presentation as Apple introduced its powerful new iWork apps. GarageBand has been expanded to allow for 32-track recording for devices with a 64-bit chip. For all the changes inside the iPad, Apple hasn’t changed the prices. The 16 GB Wi-Fi model starts at $499 and $549 with expanded 4G LTE.
It also gets a redesign, looking more like an iPad mini than an iPad of old. This includes a narrower bezel and the chamfered edges of the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. As rumored, the fifth-generation iPad will be available in the new Apple colors it introduced with the iPhone 5S, which include space gray, silver and black; however there is no gold. These external changes represent the first major overhaul since the introduction of the iPad 2 in 2011 and also represent a 72-percent speed increase over the original iPad.
Even more surprising than the new iPad Air is the new iPad mini. As many had predicted, it gets the new Retina Display with the same amount of pixels found in its larger Air sibling, or 2048 x 1536. It also gets the same A7 processor as the iPhone 5S and iPad Air, meaning the most notable difference between the Air and the mini is the size of the screen. The new mini gets up to ten hours of battery life, expanded LTE coverage, new MIMO Wi-Fi technology and will be available in white/silver and space gray/black in late November. This newly redesigned mini starts at $329, but Apple is keeping the original, non-Retina mini at $299 and the three-year-old iPad 2 at $399. This means Apple now offers an iPad starting at $299, and then at $100 intervals all the way up to its largest, 128 GB iPad Air at $799 ($929 with Wi-Fi.).
American Made Mac Pro and Retina MacBook Pro
Apple first unveiled its new, American-made Mac Pro during this summer’s WWDC in San Francisco, promising it would release it sometime this year. Today the tech giant announced these computers will start shipping in December with a few tweaks to the original specs it listed in June. The Mac Pro comes equipped with Xeon Eon chips in four, six or eight core configurations. The pill-shaped computer is packed with Solid State drives in up to one terabyte of storage.
With all the new features and improvements, Apple claims the new Mac Pro is capable of handling up to seven teraflops of computing power. And of course, Apple is pushing the fact that these computers are 100 percent designed and assembled in the United States of America.
The MacBook Pro line also saw a minor refresh, with Retina Display models getting significant reductions in prices, better battery life and improved internals. Both the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro get models of Intel’s Haswell chip. The 13-inch gets the Haswell while the 15-inch gets the new Crystalwell chip providing nine and eight hours of battery life, respectively. Both models are available today starting at $1299 and $1999.
Interestingly, Apple gave little mention of the existing MacBook Pros without Retina Displays, suggesting the Cupertino, California-based company may be ready to cut them out of production. When the Apple store returned after the usual downtime during the event, only the 13-inch MacBook Pro could be found for $1,199, just $100 less than the starting Retina model.
It’s All About the Software
Apple also announced new changes to iWork apps on both iOS and Mac. Keynote, Numbers and Pages, for instance, have been reworked on a 64-bit architecture and add new animations and UI elements. Sending these documents via email will allow users to open them with iWork beta online. The new version of beta also adds collaboration and lets users edit one document at the same time in the cloud. Each of the new apps are available for free with the purchase of a new Mac or iOS device and are available today.
Finally, Mavericks was shown off once again with a few new features. Most notably, the iCloud Keychain feature which was set to ship with iOS 7 but pulled at the last second will arrive with Mavericks and a new update to the mobile operating system. This will allow users to create secure passwords on Macs or iOS devices and have them instantly shared and securely stored in iCloud. It was suggested Apple could tie this feature with TouchID, its new fingerprint scanner technology, but Apple gave no mention of this today.
The Mavericks OS also brings the Maps and iBooks apps to the desktop and syncs with these apps in iCloud. Maps accessed on a Mac can be synced with an iPhone, for example. Some under the hood tweaks are expected to give all Macs better battery life as well as provide more power for running processes.
With memory compression, Mavericks can fit 6GB of memory on 4GB of space and, according to Craig Federighi, the OS will give the newest MacBook Air an extra hour of battery life.
Apple issued two Golden Master versions of Mavericks in the past week as it finalized the build and got it ready for public availability. For the first time ever, Apple released a new operating System update free of charge, and it will be available today, October 22.