On its event invitation, Apple teased it had plenty more to cover before the year ended, and the company certainly announced quite a bit in San Francisco on Tuesday. In addition to new iLife and iWork updates, MacBook Pros with Haswell, and some release information on the company’s Mac Pro, Apple finally detailed its iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display. Both come with A7 chips, as expected; the iPad mini with Retina got a pretty substantial jump in price, which was not expected. At least last year’s model received a slight price drop.
The iPad Air will likely grab the biggest headlines; it’s thinner, lighter and narrower, just as the case leaks foretold. More importantly, it looks completely different from existing models, almost like a new product—the company referred to it as the “biggest step yet,” and it’s easy to see why. The device measures in at 7.5mm (20 percent thinner) and weighs in at just 1 pound. Along with the 64-bit A7 processor, the Air also sports Apple’s new M7 co-processor.
Apple’s new iPad mini also received Retina treatment, along with some spec bumps that brings parity between the company’s three flagship mobile products. The device sports an A7 chip, same screen resolution as the big iPad, 5-megapixel iSight camera and a starting price point of $399—not exactly in impulse buy territory, though Apple products typically aren’t.
Apple’s festivities today were hit and miss. The company is really attacking competing companies with a free software strategy—Mavericks is hitting today for free—though its hardware is still on the expensive side. That’s never held Apple back before, and there’s certainly value when considering you get free software with each new purchase. For a full rundown on today’s Apple event, check out Jon’s recap, and stay tuned for more coverage throughout the day.