After weeks of rumors and speculation, Apple’s iPad event has finally come and gone. If you didn’t get to watch the event live, here’s everything you’re going to want to know about.
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OS X Mavericks
If you’ve been waiting for the release of OS X Mavericks, wait no longer. Apple announced at today’s event that the software will be available to download, and most importantly, it will be free for all users. As long as you’re Mac is running at least Snow Leopard, you’ll be able to upgrade to OS X Mavericks for free. Apple seems to have fully embraced this new free model for its OS X updates, so it’s likely to continue for future OS X updates. You can download it for free right here, right now.
MacBook Pro Retina
Apple has updated its Retina MacBook Pros to include Intel’s new Haswell chip, bringing big improvements to battery and integrated graphics performance. The 13-inch MacBook Pro can now run for 9 hours over its previous 7 hours, while the 15-inch MacBook Pro can run for 8. The 13-inch model has also seen a bit of a slim down, and all models now have faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi chips and new HD FaceTime cameras. While the integrated graphics in the Haswell chip will perform much better than the previous Macbook Pro with Retina models, if you’re looking for dedicated graphics you’ll be forced to buy the $2,599 15-inch model that comes with NVIDIA GT 750M packed in. Apple also knocked $200 off the price of the entry level MacBook Pros with Retina, bringing the 13-inch starting price to $1,299 and the 15-inch starting price to $1,999. Check out all the different models all ready to order on Apple’s site.
The non-Retina Macbook Pro models weren’t updated at all, which may be a sign of their approaching death.
While Apple showed off the new design of its American-made Mac Pro a while back, today the company went into more detail. The Pro will start at $2,999 and will packing a 3.7GHz quad-core processor, 12GB of RAM (upgradeable to 64GB), two AMD FirePro D300 GPUs, and a 256GB SSD (upgradeable to 1 TB). The desktop also features four USB 3.0 ports and six Thunderbolt 2 ports. It reportedly even runs as quietly as a Mac mini. If you want to do stuff like edit 4K video while multitasking, this is the system for you. The Mac Pro is on pace to launch sometime in December.
Seeing as this was unofficially being called Apple’s iPad event, it makes sense that we saw some iPads. First off, Apple introduced a new 9.7-inch tablet called the iPad Air. While the iPad Air has the same screen size as the iPad 2, it’s a lot smaller everywhere else. The Air has a 43% thinner bezel than the iPad 2, which makes for a noticeably better looking device and it shed almost 2mm in thickness, going from 9.4mm to a new 7.5mm. This has brought the device down from 1.4 pounds to just 1 pound, a record-setting weight for a tablet of this size, all while keeping the same 10 hour battery life. The iPad Air also includes the new 64-bit A7 chip as seen in the iPhone 5S, which should double the speed of CPU performance and give twice as fast graphics rendering. The iPad Air also has the new M7 motion processor, a dual microphone setup for better voice support, faster new “MIMO” Wi-Fi, and a new HD FaceTime camera. It comes in either Space Gray or Silver and will launch November 1st at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model. The 16GB iPad 2 will continue to be sold as a step down model for $399.
While the iPad Air got a nice makeover as well as some serious spec upgrades, the iPad mini has chosen to skip the makeover part. The 7.9-inch iPad mini now comes packing a Retina display with 2048×1536 pixels, the same number of pixels as seen in the iPad Air. It also gets the A7 chip, the M7 motion processor, dual microphones, MIMO Wi-Fi, and an HD FaceTime camera, so the specs and features are pretty identical to those found in the iPad Air. All this goodness comes at a small price, however, as the mini has seen itself get slightly thicker and heavier, but not at any real noticeable level. The iPad mini with Retina will launch at an unspecified time next month in Space Gray and Silver starting at $399. The existing 16GB iPad mini will continue to be sold as a step down model for $299, the cheapest priced iPad yet.
Besides these announcements, Apple spent some time showing off updated versions of iLife and iWork for iOS and Mac and it unveiled new iPad Air and iPad mini “Smart Cases,” which, unlike the “Smart Cover”, protect both sides of your iPad.
There was a noticeable lack of new features/surprises at this event, but it was arguably still pretty exciting for anyone that loves new hardware specs.