It’s October, and Apple has released a bevy of updated hardware into the world. New laptops and Pro desktops are available at reduced prices. Most devices dropped anywhere from $100 to $200 though people are still paying a premium for Apple’s latest iterations of these computers. Most of us are not interested in pulling these devices from Apple’s hardware barrel. Our winning Apple is the iPad.
While the latest iPad is an impressive device, there was nothing really earthshattering about the incremental upgrade of the iPad. Let’s go over the high points of the announcement. The new iPad is thinner by almost half, which also makes it lighter. It is now so light that Apple has decided to give the new iPad a new name: iPad Air, because it only weighs 1lb. The iPad Air gets the new A7 64bit processor like the new iPhone, making it quite the speedy little device. Apple has also improved WiFi speed by adding additional antennas to the device and enabling a technology called MIMO that allows the use of multiple antennas to increase speed or bandwidth. Dual microphones have been added to improve the performance of apps that use the microphone like Siri or Facetime calls. The last change is to the available colors. The 2 new color schemes to choose from are silver and white or space grey and black, like the iPhone. Amazingly though, with all its improvements, the iPad retains its 10 hour battery life.
The iPad Mini also got a boost to its hardware, including a retina display. The Mini got the same upgrade to its processor as the iPad Air as well as the WiFi antenna upgrade. The Mini now also mirrors the full-sized iPad’s camera hardware both with the 5mp iSight camera on the back and the Facetime HD camera on the front. Now the iPad Mini packs the same punch as its bigger brother, but at a starting price that is $100 less. That is pretty much it for the updates to the iPad Air and iPad Mini, both of which will be available November 1st.
Now while this update to the iPad might seem a bit lackluster, there were a few surprises in Apple’s announcement. First is the new OSX Mavericks for the Macs. Apple has given updates to their desktop operating system to its customers at an extremely low price for a while, but surprisingly they are now giving it away for free and taking a chance to shoot a jab at Microsoft for charging hundreds of dollars to upgrade to its latest operating system. Some other favorite Apple software also had their prices bumped down to $0 yesterday. The popular iLife suite which includes apps like Garage Band is now free not only on the Mac but also on iPhone and iPad. In addition, iWork also dropped its price to goose eggs on all Apple devices, making Apple’s productivity suite which competes with Microsoft office more than affordable — it makes it a no brainer. Along with iWork and iLife are a suite of complimentary web services intended to compete with Office365 Cloud services that if my ears did not deceive me is also free. Now there is one caveat to getting your slice of all this free goodness — you only get them with the purchase of a new Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Still, this bold move looks to me like a shot across the bow of one of Microsoft’s flagship products that if we are lucky might just start a war. To check out all the latest on what’s floating around in Apple’s barrel, take a look at their website at apple.com.