Apple unveils iPad Air, Mini, updated line of computers, free Mac OS X Mavericks


On Oct. 22, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Inc., took the stage at San Fracisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater to put on another timeless Apple keynote presentation. This time, Cook opened the blinds on the fifth generation iPad, the iPad Air — a new iPad Mini with retina display, an updated Macbook line, the new Mac Pro and the first free iteration of the commercial Mac OS X operating system.

The new iPad Air is the epitome of the way Apple does product releases these days — slimmer and lighter. As the name implies, the next generation iPad places emphasis on its diet this time around. At one pound, the Air is just over two-thirds the weight of last year’s model and 20 percent thinner.

The device will be sporting the new 64-bit A7 processor and will retail in Apple’s newest flagship colors, space gray and silver. There was no word on a champagne or gold version of the iPad Air as there was for the iPhone 5S. The Touch ID fingerprint scanner is not included. The new iPad went on sale Friday morning starting at $499 for the 16GB, Wi-Fi only model.

Next up was the iPad Mini. This event marked the first refresh for the device. The next generation of the iPad’s 7.9-inch little brother will sport a retina display, 2048 x 1536 resolution, 10 hours of battery life and this year’s A7 chip. The new Mini will become available for $399 later in November. The first generation iPad Mini will remain on shelves but will sell for $299.

The second part of the event focused more on the Mac division of Apple. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for worldwide marketing, took the stage to discuss the improvements made to the Macbook Pro line.

“We’ve made the world’s best pro notebook even better, by adding more performance and even longer battery life,” Schiller said. “MacBook Pro with Retina display continues to redefine the pro notebook.”

The feature set for this round of Macbook Pro notebooks includes fourth generation Intel Core processors, the latest graphics, longer battery life, faster flash storage, next generation Wi-Fi and a reduced price point. The 13-inch model will be available for $1,299 and the 15-inch variant will set you back $1,999.

Potentially most importantly, the newest version of Mac OS X, Mavericks, was made available for free. This marks the first time that a commercial version of Apple’s desktop OS has been given for free to Apple users. The apparent trend in declining price led some to speculate as much, with last generation’s Snow Leopard costing a mere $19.99. The new operating system boasts remodeled Maps, iBooks and Calendar apps, as well as innovative new Notifications, enhanced multi-display support and an improved Finder.

The last bit of news to come out of San Francisco is tailored towards those who want an extremely radical Mac machine. The all-new Mac Pro looks something like a small black thermos and packs a punch, along with a $2,999 price tag.

“The new Mac Pro is our vision for the future of the pro desktop — everything about it has been re-imagined, and there has never been anything like it,” Schiller said. “The new Mac Pro packs up to 12-core Xeon CPUs, dual FirePro GPUs, ultra-fast ECC memory, new PCIe flash storage, Thunderbolt 2 expandability and more into a radical new design that is one-eighth the size of the previous generation Mac Pro.”