At a press conference today Apple introduced a new lineup of iPads and MacBook Pro’s in addition to the powerful desktop machine, the new Mac Pro. The company also announced that OS X Mavericks, the next software version for Mac, is available as a free download starting today.
iPad Air and iPad mini With Retina Display
The newest members of the iPad family are the iPad air and iPad mini with Retina display. Though neither comes equipped with a fingerprint scanner, as many had hoped, both products are still bound to fall on many people’s wish lists come this holiday season. The iPad Air features a 9.7-inch Retina display and is 20% thinner and 28% lighter than the fourth-generation iPad. Offering a 43% narrower bezel around the screen, the iPad Air weighs just one pound. The iPad mini with Retina display packs the same 3.1 million pixels of the iPad Air in its 7.9-inch screen, offering a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. Both new iPads use the A7 64-bit chip, two times faster Wi-Fi with two Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) antennas, expanded LTE cellular connectivity and 10-hour battery life. Both new iPads come equipped with the next generation FaceTime HD camera with improved backside illumination sensors and other improvements for speed and low-light performance.
“iPad created an entirely new mobile computing experience, and the new iPad Air is another big leap ahead,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “It is so thin, light and powerful, once you hold one in your hand you will understand what a tremendous advancement this is.”
Additionally, Apple has made the iLife apps suite, including iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand, and iWork, which includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote, free to all iOS 7 users, which means all owners of the iPad Air and the new iPad mini will be able to take advantage of the creative and productivity capabilities of iLife and iWork.
The iPad Air will be available starting at $499 on November 1 in countries around the world, including China for the first time. The base model of the iPad mini with Retina display will retail for $399 starting later in November.
The New MacBook Pro
The new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display come equipped with fourth-generation Intel Core processors, longer battery life, faster graphics cards, PCIe-based flash storage with up to 60% faster read speeds than the previous generation, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and dual Thunderbolt 2 ports that deliver up to 20Gbps of bandwidth to each external device. iMove and iLife will ship for free with all new MacBook Pro’s.
The base model of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features the following specs:
- 0.71-inches thin
- Dual-core Intel Haswell chip
- 2.6 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz
- Intel Iris graphics card delivering up to 90% faster performance than the previous generation MacBook Pro with Retina display
- Up to nine hours of battery life
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display retails starting at $1,299 and is available from the Apple Store starting today.
The new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features the following specs:
- Fourth-generation, quad-core Intel Crystalwell chips
- 2.3 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz
- Intel Iris Pro graphics with the option to upgrade to the Iris Pro and GeForce GT 750M discrete graphics with 2GB of video memory
- Up to eight hours of battery life
The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina displays retails starting at $1,999 and is available from the Apple Store starting today.
The Mac Pro has been completely redesigned to pack the highest performance into a minimal design. It features the latest Intel Xeon processors with up to 12 cores, dual workstation-class GPUs, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, PCIe-based flash storage and ultra-fast ECC memory. The new Mac Pro will also consume up to 70% less energy than the previous generation. “The new Mac Pro is our vision for the future of the pro desktop, everything about it has been re-imagined and there has never been anything like it,” Schiller said. And, as a point of pride, all new Mac Pro’s are being assembled in the U.S.
At just 9.9-inches tall and one-eight the volume of its predecessor, the new Mac Pro is as quiet as a Mac mini. The processors of the new Mac Pro run at Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, delivering double the floating point performance of the previous Mac Pro. Two workstation-class AMD FirePro GPUs with up to 12GB of video memory provide up to seven teraflops of compute power and up to eight times the graphics performance of the previous-generation Mac Pro. The new Mac Pro also features PCIe-based flash storage, reaching read speeds up to 1.2GBps, speeds that are up to 10 times faster than conventional desktop hard drives. ECC DDR3 running at 1866 MHz, with a four-channel memory controller, gives the new Mac Pro up to 60GBps of memory bandwidth, twice that of the previous Mac Pro. Six Thunderbolt 2 ports, each offering up to 20Gps of bandwidth per device, allow users to connect up to 36 high-performance peripherals, including external storage devices and audio and video breakout boxes. In addition to supporting the latest 4K displays, the new Mac Pro is also backwards compatible with existing Thunderbolt peripherals and cables.
The new Mac Pro starts at $2,999 and will be available starting in December.
OS X Mavericks
In what I judge to be the most surprising announcement of today’s event, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the latest OS X software upgrade, Mavericks, is available to all Mac users as a free download starting today. By making its award-winning OS and productivity software free, Apple is “turning the industry on its ear,” Cook said.
Though only a software upgrade, Mavericks offers better battery life and faster performance among numerous productivity tools like in-notification responses and a more intelligent calendar. Mavericks also provides better performance for multi-displays, allowing users to access the dock from every display at once.
To download Mavericks (for free!) visit the Mac App Store.
What do you think of the new iPad and Mac lineups? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!