Some Apple events—such as the one in September where company introduced its new iPhone 5s and 5c—are focused: They spend a lot of time talking about just a couple of new products. Others are more scattershot, blasting the expectant audience with one new product after another. Apple's Tuesday event was definitely one of the latter.
The company unveiled a brand new iPad model (the iPad Air), and added a Retina screen and an A7 processor to the iPad mini. It announced an updated line of Retina MacBook Pros while also naming December as the a shipping month for its new Mac Pro (the black cylinder that looks like it belongs on Darth Vader's desktop). It showed off updated iLife and iWork suites for the Mac, iOS, and iCloud.com. And it announced that the latest version of OS X—Mavericks—would be available immediately after the event, and for free.
Contrary to rumor, there was no iPad 5 at Tuesday's event. Rather, there's a completely new iPad model: the iPad Air. As you might guess from the name, it's significantly thinner than its already-skinny predecessor, while also getting a bit of a speed bump.
The new model is 20 percent thinner than the fourth-generation model, and 0.4 pounds lighter (weighing an even one pound). In addition, while the iPad Air has the same 9.7-inch Retina display as its full-sized predecessor, the bezel around that screen is much smaller: 43 percent thinner than previous generation.
But inside that slimmed-down chassis rests the new 64-bit A7 chip (first seen in the iPhone 5s) and M7 co-processor. Apple says the new processors provide twice the CPU and graphics performance as the previous model, all while retaining a 10-hour battery life. Among the other new features Apple touted include faster 802.11n Wi-Fi with MIMO support; expanded LTE networks; improved FaceTime and iSight cameras; and dual mics for better Siri and audio capture.
Both Wi-Fi and LTE models of iPad Air will start shipping November 1 in silver/white and space gray/black color choices. They'll cost the same as the iPad models they replace: $499 for 16GB Wi-Fi and $629 for 16GB Wi-Fi plus Cellular, with storage options up to 128GB. The full-size iPad 2 remains in Apple's lineup at $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi version.
Apple also introduced a new generation of the iPad mini. Its marquee feature: a new high-resolution Retina Display.
The new iPad mini ups its screen resolution from 1024 by 768 pixels to 2048 by 1536 pixels while keeping the same 7.9-inch (diagonal) screen size. That ups the mini's pixel density from 163 pixels per inch to 326 pixels per inch—almost identical to the density of the iPhone 5s.
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