Apple has concluded quite the busy keynote tonight, an event that included plenty of information about the latest Maverick OS update, new iLife and iWork apps, new Macbook Pros, and the impressive Mac Pro. But stealing the show was the new iPad Air (5th generation iPad), followed by the new Retina iPad Mini.
The new iPad Air
Apple kicked off tonights iPad segment of the keynote talking a lot about how big market share the iPad has in the tablet market (over 80%), and how the new iWork and iLife apps, that comes free with new purchases by the way, will make these new iPads even better tools for not only personal use, but for business use as well. They even showed a clever video made showcasing how iPad owners are using their iPads.
Instead of going with the classic numeral upgrade as was expected, Apple has renamed the latest standard size iPad as the iPad Air. The new name is likely to come from the fact that they have trimmed off quite a lot of ‘fat’ on this new one, making it a mere 7.5mm thick (reduced from 9.4mm) and weighing in at only 1 pound (down from 1.4 for the iPad 4). Bezel size has also reduced by 43%. All quite impressive.
Next up was tech specifications, that for the iPad Air includes the new A7 chip that brings both vastly improved CPU and GPU performance. WiFi data speeds are also improved thanks to MIMO integration with dual antennas. As expected the iPad Air also features 5mp iSight camera that supports 1080P video, improved backside illumination, Facetime HD camera, and dual microphones. Battery life is still maintained at about 10 hours of use.
The new iPad Air will replace the current iPad 4 model, whilst Apple will still sell the iPad 2 as a more affordable alternative for this screen size. Available from 1st November, the iPad Air will be priced from $499 / £399 for the 16GB WiFi only version. Color options are white/silver and black/space grey.
The new iPad Mini Retina
As expected, Apple revealed a new version of the iPad Mini as well, with Retina display this time as the major upgrade feature. In fact, they said that they delivered on what was the single biggest request from their customers when it came to the iPad Mini.
In addition to getting the Retina display, the new iPad Mini also received the upgraded A7 chip for improved GPU and CPU performance, the new faster wireless with dual antennas using MIMO technology, wider LTE support, and will still come with the 5MP iSight camera as well as Facetime HD front facing camera.
The new iPad Mini Retina will be available sometime in November and will retail from $399 / £319 for the 16GB WiFi only version. Apple also knocked down the price of the 16GB iPad Mini without Retina display to $299 / £249. Color options include white/silver and black/space grey.
What was missing
While there was plenty to get excited about, especially when it comes to the new iPad Air and the free suite of apps to go with it (some great demos during the keynote), there were also some missing ingredients compared to what was rumoured, and to some degree expected.
The biggest feature left out of the new iPad models was probably the iTouch fingerprint sensor that can be found on the new iPhone 5S. This was a big deal during the launch of the iPhone 5S, so I’m a bit surprised that Apple left it out of the new iPads.
Late rumours about a Surface style keyboard cover did not surface today. But both new iPad models are getting new Smartcoversin a variety of colors.
Also, there was no ‘Kardashian iPad’ aka the gold model announced. Not that I would describe that as a big miss.