Apple shows off new iPads, Retina iMac

iPad mini 3
iPad mini 3. Image: Apple

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17 October 2014 | 0

Apple has unveiled the 9.7″. iPad Air 2 and the smaller 7.9″ iPad mini 3, both revisions of their predecessors, with the new mini getting the shortest shrift on stage time and changes.

Thursday’s event was live-streamed, the third consecutive for Apple’s iPad introductions, and the first since the fiasco of last month’s webcast of the iPhone 6 debut. Unlike that broadcast, which was plagued by a host of problems, this went smoothly for the most part.

The new iPad Air 2 boasts a 64-bit A8X SoC (system-on-a-chip) – as most recent rumours maintained – that was a slightly tweaked version of the A8 that inhabits the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Schiller trumpeted speed increases – a 40% faster CPU, a graphics processor 2.5 times faster – over the A7 SoC in 2013’s iPad Air.

The Cupertino, Calif. company also duplicated its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus storage changes of September for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 today by keeping the lowest-priced tablet models at 16Gb, but doubling the amount of storage space for the mid- and top-tier devices to 64Gb (from 32Gb last year) and 128Gb (from 64Gb), respectively.

Apple retained its now-standard pricing for both iPads: The iPad Air 2 starts at €509 for a 16Gb Wi-Fi tablet, €629 for one able to connect to a mobile data network. Meanwhile, the iPad mini 3 begins at €409.

Previous-generation models will still be sold, said Apple, at prices €100 lower than the newest. A 2013 16Gb iPad Air, then, costs €409, while last year’s iPad Mini with Retina was reduced to €249.

In another cost-cutting move, Apple will also continue to sell 2012’s original, lower-resolution iPad Mini at €249, a drop of 17%.

Confirming another recent rumour, Apple showed off a ew iMac with a 5Kresolution display of 5120×2880 pixels, available only in the 27″. size, costs €2,699.

As it did when it debuted the first Retina MacBook Pro, Apple added the Retina 5K iMac at the top of the desktop line’s band, leaving the 2013 models at the same €1,899 (27″.) and €1,129 (21.5″.) prices. If Apple follows the refresh trajectory with the iMac that it used with the MacBook Pro, it will eventually replace all but one entry-level non-Retina iMac with machines sporting high-resolution screens.

Apple also revealed the delivery date of OS X 10.10, aka Yosemite, which it will release today. The upgrade will be free, as was last year’s Mavericks, and be available via the Mac App Store as a 5.2Gb download.

One of Yosemite’s most anticipated features, however, won’t be ready until Monday, 20 October, said Craig Federighi, who leads iOS and OS X development. That’s when Apple will release iOS 8.1, which will complete Continuity, a set of task hand-off tools that lets users start a job on an iOS device then pick it up on a Mac, or vice versa.

Other announcements included a revamped Mac Mini, the display-less computer that has held down the very bottom of the Mac’s pricing structure. Apple lowered the price of the entry-level Mac Mini to €519.

Computerworld

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