Apple debuts new iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina display
Lauren Crabbe | Published: Oct 22, 2013 at 19:28 UTC82
At its hotly anticipated press event today in San Francisco, Apple announced two new iPads. The iPad Air is Apple's thinnest yet while the iPad mini with Retina display offers faster computing and a better display in Apple's tiny tablet.
Aside from the iPads, today's announcement covered a lot of ground. Apple CEO Tim Cook started the event by revisiting the record breaking sales from the iPhone 5S and 5C last month, showing a video from the product's launch day. Cook noted that 64% of iPhone users have updated to the new iOS 7 operating system.
Cook took a shot at Microsoft's surface line by saying Apple's competition wants to turn PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs.
On the desktop side, Apple took the stage to release the details of Mac OSX Mavericks. Available for free today, the Mavericks update has software to improve the battery life and performance of Apple laptops and desktops made as early as 2007.
iPhoto, iMovie and Garage Band also saw updates for both iOS and OSX. All of the new iLife software is free with the purchase of new iOS or Mac devices.
Apple spoke directly to photographers and videographers when revealing the details of its new cylindrical Mac Pro. According to Apple, the improved processing power of the Mac Pro makes for fast 4K video editing and intensive photo editing of large images. Apple also announced a new MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini.
iPads for processing, not photography
The second generation iPad mini and iPad Air took center stage an hour and 15 minutes into the event. Announcing that it recently sold its 170 millionth iPad, Cook bragged that the iPad is used four times more than any other device, despite the doubts at its launch three and a half years ago.
The iPad Air is 7.5mm thick and weighs only one pound — making it the claim of lightest full-sized tablet. Inside, it has the same A7 chip as the iPhone 5S. With improved graphics and 10 hours of battery life, the new iPad Air promises better performance than its predecessor.
Today's Apple announcements also saw a new iPad mini. The iPad mini with Retina display offers faster performance and higher screen resolution on the 7.9-inch tablet. Though smaller than the iPad Air, the iPad mini offers many of the same specs, matching the iPad Air's A7 chip and 10 hours of battery.
Both the iPad Air and the new iPad mini missed a chance to upgrade the primary camera hardware. Both tablets only offer a 5MP camera, the same as the iPad 4 with Retina display and the original iPad mini. While iPad photography may not be the most attractive hobby, it would still be nice to see Apple improve its tablets' imaging capabilities.
Apple does promise better photos out of both devices' front-facing cameras, claiming a new next-generation backside illumination sensor with larger pixels will make for better selfies, even in low light.
While Apple seems committed to its tablets' creative capabilities, it seems to be leaving the photography to other devices. Instead, the new iPads are focusing on processing power, battery life and wifi connectivity — all of which are important for post-capture editing and sharing of photos and videos.
Starting at $499 for 16GB of storage with wifi and $629 for 16GB with cellular, the iPad Air will ship on November 1st. It comes in "space gray"/black or silver/white. (No gold for this one.) The iPad 2 is still going to be available now $399.
The new iPad mini with Retina display will set you back $399 for the 16GB wifi model. It is only available in "space gray"/black or silver/white. Meanwhile, you can still get the original, 16GB wifi iPad mini for $299.
iPad Air key specifications
iPad mini with Retina display key specifications