Ahh an Apple event on a Tuesday morning, just how it’s supposed to be.
You would be forgiven for thinking that Apple had only recently had an event. They had one some six weeks ago where the new iPhone 5 was announced. A month after its release, Apple take the morning to announce some phenomenal new products.
It’s quite a long list so I will start with what will be the ones people will ask me about the most first.
The iPad Mini
This device is then a long time coming. Since Google’s entrance into the tablet market earlier this year with the nexus 7, the 7 inch market has been opening up. Amazon started the ball rolling last year with the first Kindle fire. Now Apple march onto the scene with the tablet that is about to dominate that market. This is quite odd considering that it isn’t a 7 inch tablet. It is in fact closer to being an 8 inch tablet. Measuring 7.9 inches diagonally means that the screen is more than 30% larger in area than that of an equivalent 7 inch tablet. But for once the competition isn’t all about size. Apple really have tried, and it looks succeeded, to avoid compromise when it comes to the iPad mini. Externally it looks more like an iPod touch that was recently launched. I have said for a long time that an iPad mini will be more like an iPod touch and it looks like I was right.
Not only does the iPad mini the front facing camera that is HD allowing for very high quality FaceTime calls, Apple have added the iSight camera to the back. The same 5 megapixel, 1080i, camera that could be found on the third generation iPad is present. It also comes packing Siri and the same screen resolution as the first two generations of iPad. This means that every single iPad app will work with the iPad mini. It’s also being offered in a cellular version with LTE. Great, considering that LTE rollouts in the UK are starting off in the next six months. What else is there to say about this device? Frankly it’s everything you have come to expect of an iPad from Apple. Its class leading, phenomenally designed, expertly constructed, priced strategically and has the right desirability factor. For instance I own a third generation iPad, yet for some reason I kind of feel that I want an iPad mini. It will be available in the UK on 2nd of November in Wi-Fi only version with prices starting from £269 for the 16 GB version in either White or Slate.
The New New iPad
Alright! I’ll say it. I am a bit annoyed. I got a third generation iPad at the beginning of this year. Not when it came out in the shops is a little while later. Today Apple have just released the fourth generation of the iPad. It has a faster processor, redesigned internals to get rid of the problem of over heating (presumably), it has an upgraded camera on the front, it appears to be somewhat slimmer and features the new lighting connector. The third generation iPad was by no means a slow device. In fact it was mind-boggling how quick it was in comparison to an iPhone 4S. So for Apple to say that the fourth-generation is twice as fast, is something that I will have to see for myself.
It looks like the third generation iPad will be sold rather rapidly now through supply chains to get ready for the fourth generation which will be shipping at the same time as the iPad mini with prices starting at £399 for a 16 GB Wi-Fi version.
Interestingly, Apple are still selling the iPad 2. I can see that these will be snapped up by companies and education facilities considering that they run iOS 6 and will presumably run iOS 7 and 8. At £329 though you can’t imagine who would buy that in place of an iPad mini. For instance the hardware difference on the iPad mini really does outshine the iPad 2.
The New iMac
To quote my sister, during the presentation, I received an email from her that said open “the new iMac just made me fall off my chair”.
That is a completely fair and measured response. This is, by the looks of the images available, not only from Apple’s website but from the hands-ons on numerous tech websites, the most beautiful computer ever sold. Apple really have outshone themselves this time. We knew that the iMac was due a significant refresh, but the extent of it seems to be quite revolutionary. On the same kind of level as the 2002 generation iMac with the pivoting screen. This really is mostly about locks. That will be the reason that many people buy a new iMac. That and they may be due and upgrade. Apple also bring a lot of hardware changes to the new iMac. The way that they make the screens for the new iMac is very similar to the same process that is used in the idevices. Apple are also bringing with them significant standard specification boosts, including a standard 8 GB of RAM that can be specified up to 32GB and a hybrid hard drive system called Fusion Drive. This is a similar system to one was introduced towards the end of last year of having a small amount of flash memory built into a hard drive. The differences with Apple solution there is a full 128GB worth of flash storage used for the operating system. As you use the computer the applications that are used the most are transferred to this flash memory. This means that you’re most used applications and functions of your Mac will get quicker the more you use it. This also means that the 3 TB worth of hard drive you can now specify won’t slow you down.
The new iMac will be shipping very soon with prices starting at £1099 for an entry-level 21 inch model and going to £1699 for a quad core 27 inch model.
The MacBook Pro Retina 13 inch
Well we saw this one coming from a mile away. Rumour was that this device was supposed to be launched with the iPhone 5 but, manufacturing issues got in the way of that plan. Regardless, here we are today and Apple’s MacBook line is now available with two pro models with the highest density displays available in any mobile computer. There isn’t really a huge amount of information to add here considering that this is simply a smaller version of the MacBook Pro that was announced just a few months ago. It’s ludicrously thin and has a phenomenal display. It’s also exceptionally powerful for such a small device.
Prices are starting from £1449 for the lower specification model and it is available today. As a note though, if you were considering going for the slightly more expensive version which comes with greater storage capacity, for £1699, I would advise you save up a little bit more and get another hundred pounds so you can buy the entry-level 15 inch version. It starts at £1799, for this you get a quad core processor and greater graphics capability from an additional graphics card.
The New Mac Mini
I’ve always found the Mac Mini to be an odd little computer. I found it hard to believe that there will be a market of the people wanting to buy what is effectively desktop computer that takes up no more space than a router. But the market has proven that the Mac Mini has been a very popular computer for Apple. Today it’s received a significant hardware bump, that may seem a very tempting option for anybody with pre-existing equipment (monitor, keyboard, mouse) who cannot afford to justify upgrading to a MacPro or splashing out on a brand-new iMac. The refreshed version is available today with prices starting from £499.
Come to think of it, as I mentioned Mac Pro above, it is the only computer not be refreshed today. Tim Cook did promise that he had a new version that would be coming out in 2013 and given that it’s the only computer that hasn’t been refreshed from Apple we can hold on to this that we will get a surprise in the beginning of 2013.
It is interesting that Apple have changed their launch cycle now for the iPad.
It would seem that the Autumn event is now going to belong to the iPad. This means any indication of what will be inside the hardware of the next generation iPhone will not be given away months in advance of is launch. It also makes sense considering that the iPad is to Apple what the iPod was to Apple.