Its been a busy day for Apple and after taking care of the Mac and iWork Apple gave some love to the iPad announcing the latest updates to the iPad line with iPad AIr and iPad Mini with Retina Display. While the updates Apple did give these two iPads weren’t revolutionary and didn’t include cool features like Touch ID or come in gold, they do help make two of the best tablets out there today even better.
Let’s start with the new full size iPad, the iPad Air. As the Air part of the name would suggest, the latest iPad is much thinner and lighter than older iPads, while still being everything you’d expect of an iPad. It’s got a much faster A7 processor (as seen in the iPhone 5S), faster WiFi chips, a better FaceTime HD camera with dual mics for better audio capture while of course still keeping the same great 9.7 inch Retina Display, 10 hour battery life, and 5 megapixel camera found on the iPad 4. But again, the big thing with the iPad AIr is how much thinner and lighter it is. It’s 20% thinner and at just 1 pound 28% lighter than the iPad 3/4.
Considering how much is in here and how the iPad 2/3/4 weren’t too large already, getting even smaller and lighter without sacrificing anything is pretty incredible. Combine the thinner and lighter design with iOS 7 and free iWork and you’ve got a pretty solid laptop replacement for school.
The iPad Mini also got a pretty nice update today that was needed and expected. In particular it got a bump to a faster processor and Retina Display. The new iPad Mini with Retina Display keeps the same design as the old iPad Mini but adds all the same features the iPad Air has including the Retina Display, A7 processor and better FaceTime HD camera. Adding the new Retina Display and faster processor did cause the price on the Mini to go up a little though, as it now starts at $399 for the 16 GB WiFi version up from the $329 it cost for the 16 GB non-Retina Mini. Though while the Mini with Retina got a price increase, Apple will continue to sell the older iPad Mini for only $299 for the 16 GB WiFi version (down $30).
Both new iPads will come in WiFi or WiFi+4G LTE versions (all carriers will offer the new iPads, including Sprint and T-Mobile) in either white or “space grey.” Pricing and storage for the iPad Air is the same as it was for the iPad 4, so it starts at $499 for the 16 GB WiFi-only version and goes up from there (up to 128 GB WiFi+4G LTE Air for $929). The iPad Mini with Retina Display will start at $399 as we said above for the 16 GB and go up from there (up to $829 for the 128 GB WiFi+4G LTE Mini with Retina).
The iPad Air will be available on November 1st while the Mini with Retina Display will be available “later in November.” For more info check out Apple’s site for the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display.
While Apple released updates to the iPhone last month in the iPhone 5S and 5C they’ve been pretty quiet this year when it came to updating their other products like the iPad and the MacBook Pro. Well, just like it has been over the past few years Apple has scheduled one more big media event for next week, sending out invites this week saying that they have “a lot more to cover.”
So what can we expect? From the iPad side of things rumors are that Apple will introduce the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 with both coming in either space grey or white (like the iPhone 5S). Specs wise both are expected to get faster processors (A7 in the iPad 5, A6X in the Mini 2), better front and back cameras, and the iPad Mini is rumored to finally be getting a Retina Display to help it better keep up with the latest 7-8 inch Android tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, Google Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0. There are also rumors that Apple will bring the iPhone 5S’ new Touch ID fingerprint scanner over to the new iPads.
Are these the cases for the iPad 5?
The new iPads are expected to have slightly updated designs with iPad 5 getting a bit thinner along the sides of the screen as seen above in the leaked pictures from Sonny Dickson. Pricing and storage options for the new iPads are expected to be the same as they are today, with a release rumored to be in early November, just like last year.
On the Mac side things are equally interesting. Apple announced their big software update for OS X back in June called Mavericks and its expected to be released before the end of the month. While Mavericks has some of nice new features the biggest is that its much more efficient with your computer, so things will run faster and better. It is so much more efficient that it may even give your current MacBook a boost in battery life.
And while Mavericks is expected to work on most recent Macs running Mountain Lion (10.8), Apple is also expected to finally update the MacBook Pro with Retina Display to Intel’s new Haswell processors and introduce a MacBook Air with a Retina Display. Both would be very welcome updates giving the Air a much better screen and the Pro much longer battery life. We also wouldn’t be surprised if Apple used this event to kill off the old MacBook Pro with a DVD drive (it’s the last Mac that’s sold with a DVD drive and the Pro with Retina is clearly the future). Basically, if you’re looking for new MacBook or a new iPad you should wait a little bit longer.
Of course since we’re talking about Apple it is possible they will have some surprises (an “iWatch” or Apple’s competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Gear is a big rumor floating around). The event is next Tuesday and we’ll of course cover everything you’re gonna need to know back here.