Apple Reveals iPad Mini, Much More
Despite nearly universal criticism of Apple Maps in iOS6, Apple has already sold 3 million units of its iPhone 5. Several experts predict that 1 billion iOS devices will be in people's hands by 2015, and Apple took a major step toward fulfilling that prophecy yesterday with the unveiling of two new iPads.
The iPad with Retina Display (4th gen) is indistinguishable from its predecessor in name/function, but benefits from an A6X processor for faster graphics performance, a lighting connector, and improved Wi-Fi, same as what's found on the iPhone 5.
The real story, however, is the Apple iPad Mini - not to mention the other three Apple product lines that received significant technology updates yesterday as well.
iPad Mini - Competitive at $329?
The biggest announcement of the day was undoubtedly the iPad Mini, even though it was the only announcement that was expected for certain well before the press event. The specs are certainly compelling, with a 7.9-inch screen that offers about 35% more viewable area than a standard 7-inch tablet like the Google Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire, an A5 chip just like in the iPhone4S and iPad 2, front and back-facing cameras, LTE wireless and 10 hours of juice in the battery. Unlike the full-sized iPad, however, iPad Mini lacks a Retina Display and instead settles for 1024 x 768, giving it a lower pixel density than what's found on Amazon's Kindle Fire HD.
This brings up an important comparison, one that countless shoppers will be making as we enter the holiday buying season: Kindle Fire HD, iPad Mini, or something else? Before yesterday, experts were suggesting that Apple would need to price the Mini between $249 and $299 if it wanted to seriously compete with Amazon, Google, Barnes & Noble and the countless other companies offering 7-inch tablets.
With the Fire HD priced a full $130 less than the iPad Mini, will Apple move units the way they are already with the iPhone 5? Although investors obviously have questions - the company's stock price has fallen about $20 since Tuesday morning to $615 -- Apple is obviously banking on strong holiday sales.
New iMac, 13" Retina MBP, Mac Mini
Even if the Mini's sales fail to live up to Apple's expectations (unlikely, since this is still an iPad we're talking about, and Apple fans are accustomed to premium pricing), the company has insurance in the form of three new products announced yesterday as well. The 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display is a scaled-down version of its 15" older brother, both in terms of size and power, while the new Mac Mini offers a 2.5GHz dual-core i5 processor and retains its $599 price tag, making it the most affordable way to gain entry to OS X.
The most revolutionary changes of the day, however, belong to the iMac. Anyone who still uses a desktop -- and we know you're out there -- should be thrilled with the 8th generation of Apple's all-in-one, which is a whopping 8 pounds lighter and 80% thinner than its predecessor.
Up to 3TB of storage are contained on a hybrid drive that combines SSD flash technology with a traditional hard drive. The optical drive is gone (there's just no room for it), but four USB 3.0 ports allow you to hook up an external one.
Most new products are shipping now or in the immediate future, and you can learn more at Apple's website.