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Summary: Slimmer iPads and iMacs highlight avalanche of Apple updates

Philip Michaels | Oct. 24, 2012
Prior to Tuesday's press event, Apple promised that it had "a little more" to show us. That "little more" turned out to be quite a bit, as the company released a smaller version of its iPad tablet, introduced a new generation of regular-sized iPads, and rolled out new iMac, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini models.

Prior to Tuesday's press event, Apple promised that it had "a little more" to show us. That "little more" turned out to be quite a bit, as the company released a smaller version of its iPad tablet, introduced a new generation of regular-sized iPads, and rolled out new iMac, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini models.

The iPad mini was the last in the slew of product announcements Apple made on Tuesday, but it was clearly the most anticipated. The 7.2mm-thick tablet is 23 percent thinner than a full-sized iPad and weighs in at half the weight of its predecessor. The iPad mini sports the same 1024-by-768 resolution of the iPad 2, so that existing iPad-optimized apps will work on this new model.

The iPad mini starts at $329 for 16GB, with 32GB ($429) and 64GB ($529) configurations also available; adding cellular connectivity tacks on another $130 to the price tag. Apple will start taking pre-orders this Friday. The Wi-Fi versions of the iPad mini begin shipping on November 2; the cellular editions will start shipping "a couple of weeks" after that.

In addition to the iPad mini, Apple also introduced a fourth-generation of its full-sized iPad. The new tablets are powered by the A6X chip, which promises faster performance and better graphics. The front-facing camera has been upgraded to a FaceTime HD model, and a Lightning port replaces the 30-pin dock connector. Apple kept the prices on these iPads the same as the third-generation models it introduced just six months ago.

"We're not taking our foot off the gas," Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

Get more information on Apple's new iPads

Apple's tablets may have been the marquee attraction, but they weren't the only hardware unveiled Tuesday. Perhaps the most eye-catching update was the new iMac lineup, featuring dramatically thinner versions of Apple's all-in-one desktop.

The iMac still sports the aluminum design that's been in place for more than five years, but the insides have been re-engineered to make the machine lighter and thinner. The new systems are 45 percent skinnier than their predecessors, according to Apple; they're also about 8 pounds lighter.

The new iMac comes in 21.5-inch and 27-inch sizes, with prices starting at $1299 for a 2.7GHz quad-core Core i5-powered version of the smaller one. The other 21.5-inch iMac features a 2.9GHz quad-core Core i5 processor for $1499, while the 27-inch offerings sport a 2.9GHz quad-core Core i5 or 3.2GHz quad-core Core i5 for $1799 and $1999, respectively. The 21.5 inch models will ship in November, the 27-inch the month after that.

Among the build-to-order options for the new iMac is the newly announced Fusion Drive, a hybrid storage device combining flash storage with a regular hard drive. The Fusion Drive features 128GB of flash storage and 1TB or 3TB of hard-drive capacity. Apple hasn't announced pricing or availability for the iMac upgrade.

 

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