Apple delivers a range of new tablets, OS and computers

Photo via Gizmode

Photo via Gizmodo

As expected Apple delivered new iPad tablets, a new version of its personal computer operating system and updated its desktop and portable computer line while taking a new road on software updates for its PC lineup.

The latest generation iPad now has a new name, iPad Air, and it comes in thinner, by 20% over older versions, and lighter, at 1 lb vs. the 1.4 the old version tipped the scales at. It is powered by the recently introduced A7 chip, that also powers its latest iPhone 5S as well as featuring the M7 chip for motion sensing. Among its new features are dual microphones for better audio capture and MIMO for better wireless connectivity.

They will be available in either Silver/White or Space Gray/Black with the starting price for a Wi-Fi only 16GB model at $499 and with cellular at $629 and they will be available Nov. 1. The iPad 2 will continue being sold for $399.

The iPad mini also come in for a rebuild, and will also now be powered by the A7 processor and have MIMO antennas for better connectivity. The big new feature for the mini is an upgrade to the higher definition retina display, giving its 7.9-inch display 2048 x 1536 resolution. The price of the original iPad mini will drop $30 to $299 while the new models will start at $399 and will be available sometime next month.

It has been three and a half years since Apple delivered the iPad to very mixed reviews, where people made fun of the name and questioned if tablets would have staying power considering their poor performance in the past.

It has become cliché to say the tablet market is heating up. It is now hot when local grocery stores and book stores now offer some form of tablet. The market has grown rapidly from one where eReaders were considered pioneering to one where people ponder if they need a third tablet for home. Apple said that it has sold over 170 million and there are 470,000 apps for the platform.

The market research firm Pew Internet has recently reported that 34% of U.S. adults own a tablet, and that number grows to 43% when you count in the ones that own an eReader. This represents a 10% jump in ownership in 1 year.

On the operating system side Apple showed Mavericks, the latest updated desktop and portable computer OS, replacing OSX. It comes with 20 improved or new apps including iBooks and Maps. One interesting app is iCloud Keychain that saves and synchs passwords with credit cards.

The OS supports more memory for graphics means better game support and performance and extended support for integrated graphics. Computers sold from 2007 and forward can support the operating system.

There are plenty of enhancements in the new OS but the one that might grab the most notice is its price: it’s free. This will be an interesting move. Microsoft traditionally made a good deal of money selling upgrades. Then Google came along and subsidized its Android OS via ads.

It also updated its MacBook Pro with faster graphics, longer battery life and faster flash storage and retina displays. They start at $1,299 while the 12-core professional level Mac Pro was also updated and it starts at $2,999.

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