Apple Unveils Faster, Thinner iPad Air, iPad Mini With Retina Display

Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to introduce new iPads, including an update to its iPad mini tablet with a high-definition display, at a company event in San Francisco today.

Investors have been clamoring for Cook and Apple to speed up their new product rollout schedule in a bid to boost sales growth and fend off rivals from Amazon to Google to Samsung in the two markets where it gets 70 percent of its sales: smartphones and tablets. Amazon, with its Kindle, and Google, with its Nexus, already offer high-definition displays in their small screen tablets, and Samsung beat Apple to market with its release last month of a smartwatch called the Gear that works with its Galaxy phone. Analysts don’t expect Cook, who last month introduced the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c as well as a faster iMac desktop, to unveil a smartwatch until next year.

Apple’s invite for today’s event says “We still have a lot to cover.”
In addition to a second-generation iPad mini tablet with a high-definition Retina display, Cook may also announce as the fifth generation of its larger-format iPad with a better camera and Apple’s new A7 microprocessor. New covers for the iPads may also be on tap.

And Apple may also finally announce the ship date for OS X Mavericks, the operating system software for its Mac, as well as the long-awaited Mac Pro desktop, which was previewed during Apple’s developers conference in June and has been touted in ads playing online and in movie theaters. The Mac Pro will be manufactured in the U.S.

The company is live streaming the event, which starts at 10 a.m. California time, though you need Apple’s Safari browser running on its operating system software to watch it. Refresh this page to see live updates.

•10 a.m. Tim Cook goes on stage, and starts talking about the new iPhone, repeating that they sold 9 million iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c units in the first weekend. Says iOS 7 released last month has now been downloaded by than 200 million users
•iTunes Radio. “Justin Timberlake called it an amazing way to discover new music.” Says more than 20 million users have listened to iTunes Radio — with over 1 billion songs heard in the U.S. alone.
•App store. Developers have earned over $13 billion selling apps. More than 1 billion apps downloaded.
•10:11: Now talking about the Mac.
•‘Our competition is different. They’re confused. They’re trying to turn tablets into PCs.” He says Apple is still focused on its Macs. “What I can tell you is that we still believe deeply in this category. We’ve been really hard at work on the Mac and we’ve got some exciting new products to show you this morning.”
•Craig Federighi, Apple’s software chief, now on stage talking about the new version of OS X Mavericks, the latest version of the Mac operating system software. Mavericks helps extend battery life on Macs, he says. Apple has also made big improvements in memory. “A new Mavericks feature called compressed memory” helps make space for new allocations. allowing the company to fit 6 gigs of data in 4 gigs of RAM.
•10:15: Federighi goes into the graphics support now in Mavericks. Other new features like enhanced links, tags in the Finder, and “we made big improvements to our handling of multiple displays.”
•New apps for the Mac include the Maps app, which is native, high-performance, multi-touch. iBooks now on Mac too.
•He’s now giving a demo of how the Mac works running Mavericks. Still waiting to hear when the new OS will be available.
•Federighi, who’s called Hair Force One, because of his impressive silver hear, brings up a notification from his wife — earning much laughter because it identifies her as Hair Force Two. He’s winning over the audience with a few jokes, and his sense of humor.
•The new OS X is still available as an app that can be downloaded.
•Federighi says Apple decided that it wants to make sure users are using the latest version of OS X, so Apple is revolutionizing pricing. Mavericks is free. ”Free is good. we’re doing free and not in a small way.” Says users who have even older Mac operating systems can get Mavericks (in the past, you had to update step by step.)
•Mavericks is available today.
•10:26: Phil Schiller, head of global marketing, comes out on stage to talk about MacBook notebooks.
•Says MacBook Pro has been first PC notebook with a Retina display. Apple today is updating both 13-inch and 15-inch models.
•13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina is faster thinner: 3.46 pounds. 0.71 inch thin. Has faster Intel Haswell chip. Extended battery life — 9 hours of battery life. “If you’re a Dark Knight fan, you can watch the entire trilogy on one battery charge.” Faster Wifi. Has new Thunderbolt 2 connector. Runs Mavericks.
•Previous generation of 13-inch started at $1,499. Today it starts at $1,299. 128-gigs of storage. Starts shipping today.
•Now on to the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Powered by Intel Crystalwell chip, which makes it faster. Up to 8 hours of battery life.
•Previous generation of 15-inch started at $2,199. Now it starts at $1,999, with Retina display. It’s also shipping today.
•Schiller says both are environmentally friendly, arsenic free, recyclable.
•MacBook Air continues to start at $999.
•10:32: Schiller now talks about Mac Pro, its high-performance desktop. They gave a sneak peak at the WWDC conference in June. Previous generation had eight fans. The update has a single fan. It’s one-eighth the volume of the previous generation. “It is our vision of the future of the Pro desktop.”
•Inside, it has the “fastest processor we’ve ever put inside a Mac.” Intel Xeon 5 processor. It also has fastest ECC memory.
•First Mac to come standard with dual workstation graphics (GPUs). Up to 7 teraflops of compute power.
•Storage inside is all Flash-based. PCI is 10 times faster than a hard drive.
•Can be expanded through Thunderbolt 2. Up to six devices per port.
•Mac Pro supports up to three 4K displays.
•10:35: Schiller continues with speeds, feeds discussion of Mac Pro. Talks about how it’s being used for video, music production. More energy efficient — consumes 70 percent less energy. Also much quieter — 12 decibels at idle.
•Mac Pro is priced starting at $2,999. To be available before the end of the year.
•Mac Pro will be assembled in the U.S. Schiller says 2,000 people are helping to prepare to build the new machine. Now showing a Mac Pro video about how it’s being manufactured.
•10:40: Apple investors so far unimpressed. Shares are down $2.86, or less than 1 percent, and trading at $518.50.
•Now Eddy Cue, iTunes chief. Starts with discussion of Apple’s iLife suite of software. Says he wants to highlight a few new features. iPhoto, updated to support Mac and iOS, supports faster browsing, searching. Says Photobooks, available on the Mac, are now supported on iPad.
•Also a new version of iMovie to work with iOS 7 (the OS that runs on the iPad and iPhone, fyi). There’s a new design for iMovie on the Mac. New featured called iMovie Theater, takes movies, shared clips, trailers in a single place to see. If you create video on iPhone and upload to Apple’s iCloud service, it’s instantly accessible from all your devices.
•GarageBand music software updated to support 32 tracks. New look, new design and new sound library.
•10:46: Demo of GarageBand.
•Cue says Apple iLife software is free with purchase of any new Mac or iOS device. Available today.
•Apple’s iWork productivity apps – Pages, Numbers and Keynotes – updated for the Mac and iOS. Software has a brand new user interface. Shows new formatting possibilities in Pages (word processing app.) “We’re not cluttering the screens with a lot of controls like other apps,” Cue says.
•Numbers spreadsheet now supports interactive charts, so, for instance,you can see how your expenses are changing quarter to quarter. Keynote presentation software, which is being used to give today’s Apple demo, adds new transitions.
•10:52: iWork demo. Editing a poster of Cue hosting a concert at Caffé Macs, the cafe at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. Adds support for collaboration, sharing docs with Windows users – “for a friend who’s stuck on a PC.”
•Apple shares check: $519.39 1.97(0.38%) at 10:53 a.m.
•iWork all available for free with purchase of a Mac or iOS device. Available for download today. “Today is the biggest day ever for apps,” Cue says.
•10:57: Cook back on stage. “These are incredibly rich apps and we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do with them…and now they’re all free with Mac, iPad and iPhone.”
•When you combine this announcement with the news that Mavericks is free, “we’re turning the industry on its ear…We’re doing it to give all our customers access to our” latest software.
•Now on to iPad. Launched 3.5 years ago with a clear goal and ambitious objective. We called iPad our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device. But not everyone saw it this way. Some didn’t see the need for it. Some didn’t think it could compete with the netbook. Who remembers netbooks? But we really believed in our vision.”
•iPad now one of Apple’s most successful products. Earlier this month, we sold our 170 millionth iPad, Cook says. “this is an incredible number and I can’t think of another product that’s come so far, so fast. Now everyone seems to be making a tablet, even some of the doubters.”
•Shows tablet usage share. Says iPad is 81 percent, compared to 19 percent for other tablets. Cook says iPad is rated No. 1 in customer satisfaction. “iPad combines into an incredible experience hardware and amazing software and intuitive services into an experience no one else can match.”
•475,000 custom-designed iPad apps on the app store.
•“When you think about the combination of hardware, software, services and this incredible collection of apps,it’s no wonder that iPad” has had such a profound effect in such a short period of time.
•11:03: Showing a video of iPad users.
•Schiller comes back to stage to unveil new iPads. “iPad is delivering a new vision for mobile computing.” It all began with 9.7-inch multi-touch display.” Goes into a video of new iPad — ultrathin, lighter, more powerful. “It deserves a new name – iPad Air.”
•It has 9.7-inch Retina display. Bezel is 43 percent thinner, “making it more comfortable to hold in your hand.” 7.5 mm thin — 20 percent thinner. Previous iPad was 1.4 pounds. New iPad Air weighs 1 pound.
•“That makes it the lightest full-size tablet in the world.”
•Schiller says it has an A7 chip, which was introduced in the new iPhone 5s last month. It also has an M7 motion processor. Graphics performance has doubled, Schiller says. Has Dual microphones and supports Siri. 10-hour battery life.
•“This is a screaming fast iPad.” Has multiple atennas and supports more LTE coverage through carriers.
•It comes in silver/white and space gray/black.
•iPad Air replaces top line iPad. Starts at $499. Going to keep selling the iPad 2 for $399.
•iPad Air will start shipping Nov. 1 in a long list of countries, including China for the first time right at the start. “This is probably our biggest leap forward in our full-size iPad.”
•Now a video, with Jony Ive, design chief, talking about how Apple tackles the problems of “reducing the physical size of the product” without compromising performance.
•Apple shares check at 11:15 a.m.: They’re finally inching up: $521.69 33 cents (0.06%)
•Schiller now talks about iPad mini, which has had a 7.9-inch design. “Customers love the complete iPad experience the mini delivers.”
•As predicted, the new iPad mini adds a 7.9-inch Retina display. It also has the new A7 chip. 10 hour battery life. Has 5-megapixel iSight camera. It comes in silver/white and space gray/black.
•iPad mini priced starting at $399 for 16-gigs with Wifi. Will keep the original iPad mini in the line — dropping price from $329 to $299.
•Schiller now unveils new colorful covers for iPad — $39. There’s also a leather case for $79 on iPad Air, and $69 for iPad mini. Come in multiple colors.
•Tim Cook back on stage. “It’s been an incredible period for innovation and new products.” Recaps the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c launch, iOS 7 release. Points to today’s MacBook updates and Mac Pro, with OS X Mavericks. Also new versions of iWorks, iLife.
•“And we couldn’t be prouder of both new iPads.”
•He shows a “cool new ad for iPad Air,” which will no doubt be posted on Apple’s site and YouTube channel shortly.
•“These amazing products are the types of prodcuts that can only be designed by Apple…Anyother company would be incredibly proud to have just one of these new products.” Says he’s pleased to offer them in time for the holidays.
•Thanks Apple’s employees.
•$515.25 6.11(1.17%) 2:23PM EDT – Nasdaq Real Time Price
•“I encourage you to get your hands on these products,”Cook says. “They’re fabulous.”
•And that’s it. Cook exits stage.
•Final stock check: $514.00 $7.36(1.41%) 2:24PM EDT – Nasdaq Real Time Price

 

Source: Forbes

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