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M3: My Morning Musings - Apple Fall 2013 Event Recap

iPad Air
Looking for a new iPad? Apple announced two updates to their line of tablets at their Tuesday Media Event. First up is the iPad Air. This is a 9.7” Tablet that replaces the fourth generation iPad. It weighs only a pound and is ultra thin. Apple even removed some of the bezel to slim it down further. This also ensures that none of the previous accessories will fit.

Also interesting about this announcement is the name iPad Air. This mirrors their notebook lineup name. Apple is rumored to be working on a 12” iPad and we could see this announced, in about a year, with the name iPad Pro.

Pricing for the iPad Air will remain starting at $499 for the 16 GB model with cellular options starting at $629 for the 16 GB model. Sizes are available in 32 GB, 64 GB, and for the first time 128 GB. Each size bump adds an additional $100. The iPad Air ships with the A7 and M7 64 bit chips that was just added to the iPhone 5S. This means a massive jump in performance from Generation 4 of the iPad.

iPad 2
Apple will curiously keep the iPad 2 around and keep its pricing at $399 for a 16 GB model. The iPad 2 is definitely showing its age now with a much slower processor, lacking a retina display, and using the older, 30 pin, connector. I would steer clear of this model.

iPad mini with Retina
Apple also announced an update to the iPad mini line. The new iPad mini gets a massive upgrade with all of the same insides of the new iPad Air—-including, for the first time, a retina display of 2048 x 1536. This will make the iPad mini the best looking, most crisp screen when compared to the iPad Air. Sadly, due to all of the technological advances inside the iPad mini with Retina, the price is increasing to a base of $399 for the 16 GB. iPad mini with cellular starts at $529 for a 16 GB and 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB are available for an additional $100 each.

iPad mini
Apple will keep the first generation iPad mini and lower the price to $299. This is essentially a smaller version of the iPad 2.

With the new lineup and pricing, Apple has a tablet starting at $299 and should fit just about every budget looking for an easy to use Tablet. As a Nexus 7 user, which starts at $229, I can say that it doesn’t offer anywhere near the same experience as the iPad.

Mac Pro
Besides the iPad announcements, the next biggest thing was the release of more information on the Mac Pro. The redesigned super computer, first revealed a the Worldwide Developer Conference back in June, is one eighth the volume of the previous Mac Pro and is packaged in a super sleek cylinder with 4 GB of dual video cards standard, up to a terabyte of flash storage, uses Intel Xeon E5 processor, and is being manufactured in the United States. The computer will become available in December of this year and starts at $2999. That may seem expensive but this is aimed for the very high-end professional user and not a consumer. That doesn’t stop me from wanting one though.

MacBook Pro
After seeing the MacBook Air lineup get refreshed in June, Apple waited until their Tuesday Event to bring updates to the MacBook Pro line of notebooks. Apple has updated the line of 13” and 15” Retina MacBook Pros with the latest Intel 4th generation dual core Haswell chip. This just means it is super fast and extremely power efficient. The units are thinner and lighter, come with faster flash storage, a new generation of wireless connectivity, 9 hours of battery life, and Thunderbolt 2. Also, Apple dropped the price of the 13” to $1299.

The update to the 15” offers the same features as above but with 8 hours of battery life. But the interesting thing is that they use the Intel Crystalwell integrated graphics. This provides the performance of separate GPU without the extra cost or hit on the battery. There will be separate video options available for those who need them. The new 15” MacBook Pro with Retina is now available for $1999. Both of these units are available today.

OS X Mavericks
The biggest surprise of the Tuesday Media event is the announcement that not only would OS X Mavericks be available today but Apple would no longer charge money for users to upgrade their Operating System. Thats right, from this point on, Apple is delivering OS X upgrades for free. In the Windows world, that would be like upgrading from Windows XP, Vista, or 7 to Windows 8 and not paying a cent. This is a significant move for Apple and is a shot directly at Microsoft and their expensive OS Upgrades.

iWork and iLife
In addition to the free upgrade to OS X Mavericks, Apple is providing users who purchase new iOS or Computers with free copies of its updated iLife and iWork suite of apps. These are built from the ground up to take advantage of the 64 bit processors found both on the desktop and iOS. Being free is a nice perk!

iWork now includes cloud support with collaboration features similar to what google has with its Google Docs. Users can quickly create a link that will let people work on a document online, in the cloud, without the iWork software installed and on any platform with access to a web browser. Yes, that means your friends stuck on a PC.

Overall this was a great event with lots of announcements. What product(s) do you plan on upgrading now that it is over?

By Kaleb Rutherford - 10/23/13

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