Apple unveils new iPad Air, Retina iPad mini, MacBook Pros and more

Credit: Apple

The invite said, "We still have a lot to cover." Apple wasn't joking about the "a lot" part. The company announced a pair of new iPads, updated MacBook Pros and new info on the cylindrical Mac Pro, and OS X Mavericks.

We understand the week's still young and not everyone has time to read the torrent of 150-word blog posts other technology blogs are pumping out. In the spirit of efficiency, we've compiled a guide to all of the new products Apple announced today. Which one is going to earn your hard-earned dollar this holiday season?

iPad Air (fifth-generation)

It's funny to think that just three years ago the iPad was laughed at by many as just a really big iPhone. The iPad isn't just a hit, it's a juggernaut. Many companies have flooded the market with "cheap" iPads that skimp on hardware and don't even get us started on how most Android apps still aren't optimized for tablets. The iPad is the undisputed king of all tablets.

Within the last few years we've seen the original iPad lose its convex rear and slim down to a mere 8.8mm thickness in the iPad 2. The iPad 3 brought a Retina display and the iPad 4 dumped the aging 30-pin connector for the sleeker and smaller Lightning port.

For the fifth-gen iPad, Apple's adopted the iPad mini's design with 43 percent thinner bezels, 7.5mm thickness (20 percent thinner) and weight of just one pound. The iPad Air also screams — it has the iPhone 5s' A7 processor (8x faster), the M7 co-processor, and 2x faster GPU performance (75x faster than original iPad). Wi-Fi performance is now faster, but not because of 802.11 ac; it's still 802.11 n. A 5-megapixel iSight camera, 720p HD FaceTime camera and dual microphones round out the new iPad Air. Battery life is still 10 hours.

The 9.7-inch iPad Air replaces the fourht-gen iPad and will come in Space Grey/Black and Silver/White and start at $499 for a 16GB model. A 4G LTE model will start at $629. It'll be available November 1. Interestingly enough, Apple's still keeping the iPad 2 around — non-Retina display and all for $399.

(Image credit: Apple)


iPad mini

The iPad mini has been a runaway success for the simple fact that it's smaller, lighter and cheaper than the larger iPad. Despite its old as molasses iPad 2 internals and pixelated non-Retina display, crowds of Apple fans lined up to buy the tinier iPad mini last year.

As expected, the iPad mini has been revamped with a Retina display — 2048 x 1536 resolution, the A7 processor, 5-megapixel iSight/720p HD FaceTime camera an faster Wi-Fi antenna. Battery life remains the same at 10 hours. New Smart Covers come in five colors for $39 and new leather Smart Cases come in six colors for $79.

The iPad mini with Retina display comes starts at $399 for a 16GB model and $529 for a 16GB+4G LTE for $529. The iPad mini with Retina display goes on sale in November in white/silver and Space Grey/black. The non-Retina iPad mini remains but is now $30 cheaper starting at $299.

(Image credit: Apple)


MacBook Pro with Retina display

Last updated in February, Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display notebook now boast fourth-gen Intel Haswell chips starting with a 2.4GHz i5 processor, Intel Iris chips that are 90% faster, 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD and 9 hours of battery life. PCIe flash storage, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac and Thunderbolt 2 round out the 13-incher. It's also lighter at 3.46 pounds and slimmer at 0.71-inches thick. The 13-inch MBP with Retina display starts at $1,299, $200 cheaper than the previous model.

The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display starts at $1,999 and comes with 2.0GHz quad-core i7 processor, 8GB of DRAM, 256GB SSD, an NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M (twice the graphics power of the previous model), Intel Iris Pro Graphics, Thunderbolt 2, and Wi-Fi 802.11 ac. Battery life is 8 hours on a single charge.

Both updated MacBook Pros are available starting today.

(Image credit: Apple)


Mac Pro

Apple's top of the line Mac is almost here. Revealed in June at WWDC and hyped until now, the new redesigned Mac Pro finally has a proper availability and pricing: $2,999 in December. Like the short-lived G4 Cube, the Mac Pro ditches traditional desktop convention design for a cylindrical chassis that takes up one-eighth of the volume of previous Mac Pro towers. There's not much in the way internal customization, but the 3.7GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5 processor, two workstation-class AMD FirePro D300 GPUs with 2GB of VRAM each, 12GB of DRAM, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, four USB 3.0 ports and 256GB of ultra fast PCIe-based flash storage and ECC RAM should provide creative professionals with a serious machine for all their design work.

Additionally, the Mac Pro is also super quite and super energy efficient. And as CEO Tim Cook alluded to earlier this year, the Mac Pro will be built in the U.S.

(Image credit: Apple)


OS X Mavericks

As promised Apple's delivering OS X Mavericks on time. The latest Mac operating system brings some slick features from iOS such as iBooks, Maps and smarter notifications. Finder now has tabs and using multiple displays actually makes sense with each screen getting its own menu bar. Other nifty features include App Nap, a power saving feature, and Compressed Memory, an intelligent way to free up RAM.

So, when can you download Mavericks? Today. It'll cost only $0. Yep, it's F-R-E-E. That's free for everyone with an iMac and MacBook Pro from as far back as 2007, provided you have Snow Leopard, Lion or Mountain Lion installed.

(Image credit: Apple)

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