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.

Apple Breaks out the new iPhone, Times Two

To the surprise of only those who have no access to the Internet Apple’s event at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters resulted in the first multiproduct offering in the popular iPhone family, with a lower cost model to tag along with the latest high end offering.

This was of course just part of the event as Apple never allows a major event to pass by without discussing the current state of the business and discussing a host of other products either here today or on the very close horizon.

One of the key areas is the next iteration of its operating system, iOS 7. It will have better search features, a more interactive calendar, more active reminders, iTunes Radio and approximately 200 new features in the OS that the company plans to launch September 18.

The first of the two new phones introduced is the iPhone 5C, which will be available in white, red, yellow, blue and green. The phone, Apple’s first low cost offering, is powered by an internally designed A6 processor and will start at $99 with 16GB of storage and a two year contract. It will jump to $199 with a 32GB. A case will be available for $29. It appears to be basically an iPhone 5 in a lower costing case.

iphone5s

The second offering is the iPhone 5S, available in gold, silver and space gray and it will be the first from the company with a 64-bit A7 processor. The new iOS 7 and all existing apps should be capable of running on the 64-bit processor. A key technology is the M7 processor (different from the A7) that is being called a motion coprocessor and uses the phones sensors such as its accelerometer and should enable a new generation of sports apps.

As expected it has a fingerprint sensor as an additional level of security, and can be used with either hand or which can unlock the phone and perform a few other functions. Other new features include an improved camera and new lens and a new home button.A 16GB version will be available, with a 2 year contract, for $199. Both phones will be available September 20th.

An interesting move by the company is that it will not be lowering the price of the existing offering, the iPhone 5, as it has always done in the past when it released a new model, but instead will simply replace it with the two new models. Apple said that next month it will ship its 700 millionth iOS device with over 380 million iPhones

What was not here
While Apple pleased some and undoubtedly disappointed others with its two new phones there was a phone that was not here that received a good deal of attention as well, and that is one with an even larger screen. Earlier in the year it had been rumored that the company would join the growing phablet space offering a device that is both a phone and a small form tablet, possibly with a 6-inch screen.

New iPad and iPad mini are expected later this year so that fans wanting new tablet updates to match their new phones will probably not have too long to wait.