Today, Apple held its long-awaited next generation iPad event. There were no surprises to be had. There were no special magical moments or last minute sly moves by CEO Tim Cook that might hint at announcing something completely unexpected - if not necessarily unanticipated (something wearable). No - Apple did not have any of this at their event today - but the event was never the less thrilling in its own way.
We're working on a detailed article of the entire event, but for now we are looking to simply get the word out on what everyone really wants to know about - the new iPads. Before we do, let's quickly note that Apple formally announced the availability of the Mac OS X Mavericks - which will be made available free to all users with hardware dating back as far as 2007. New versions of iLife andiWork apps are all being made available as well for free across all platforms - all iOS devices and all Mac OS devices. Apple wants its software in the hands of as many people as possible - whether consumer, educator, enterprise workforce or SMB employee. It is lowering the entry point - it doesn't get any lower than free.
Apple also detailed - again, the inner workings of its new and amazing Mac Pro cylindrical computer. We'll detail it in our larger article, but for now let's just say that with a starting price of $2,999.00 it truly packs a huge punch for the dollars and is simply amazing relative to its physical size. It is a fitting piece of hardware for the new Mavericks OS to run on.
And the company highlighted its 13 and 15 inch MacBooks - both of which will now deliver retina displays while delivering amazing battery life of 9 hours and 8 hours respectively. Phil Schiller, SVP of Worldwide Marketing noted that he can watch the entire Black Knight Batman Trilogy on a single battery charge.
In truth, any of these announcements would be rather amazing in their own right. We know of no consumer-focused company or for that matter any enterprise-focused company that can deliver any of these sophisticated products at the price points Apple will deliver them. Again, we'll highlight these in detail in our larger article but for now, we'll note their availability.
We'll be brief here. There is indeed a new large iPad in town and it is called the iPad Air. With good reason. Apple has reduced the bezel width along the long sides of the iPad by 43 percent, making the entire device much narrower, and has reduced its weight to exactly one pound as well as made it 7.5mm thin - all pretty amazing. It is shown immediately below.
On the inside, it looks amazingly like the iPhone 5s. It sports the same A7 processor and the same M7 Motion co-processor. It leaves us thinking that there will be an upgrade coming sooner than later to the A7X processor many thought would appear in this machine. That was not to be the case this time around. And there is no fingerprint scanner. As is Apple's custom, the new iPad Air - which completely replaces the Apple 4th generation device, will sell for $499 and will be available on November 1, 2013. Apple will also continue to offer the iPad 2 for $399 (though we are quite dubious of this particular strategy there is some reason for it - more on it in our detailed article).
Finally, Apple announced the Retina display iPad Mini. It will also sport the A7 processor, as well as the M7 Motion co-processor. From a pixel density perspective the iPad Mini with retina display will be exactly the same as the new iPad Air - meaning that developers only need to write one app that will run on both devices in exactly the same way.
There really isn’t much more to say about the Retina iPad Mini from a 10,000 foot perspective. Again, we will go into greater detail in our larger article. The new retina mini will be priced at $399 and will become available later in November 2013. Apple will offer the original iPad mini for $299. We could debate that price point - perhaps it should have been lower. In any case, we doubt that pricing will have any effect on sales of either new device.
So, as we noted above, Apple indeed literally met all leaked expectations. There were no surprises to be had, but hey, we already knew we would not see anything of a wearable sort - so Apple met that expectation as well.
It's all good - we believe Apple is perfectly placed for the holiday season.
TechZone360 Senior Editor
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