Did you catch the recent Apple Event? I was driving home from El Paso and didn’t even have access to the news except for the excited pings I was getting via email and text. Dan was (and still is) in Cuba on a mission trip, so he missed everything! By the time we were where we could write about the event, it was over. And yet, there were so many things worth discussing! A new 13″ MacBook Pro Retina, a 4th generation (already?!) iPad, a new Mac mini, and a new iMac.
But the star of the show would turn out to be the iPad mini.
For years, we’ve been talking about how much we would like a smaller iPad around Gear Diary, and now that Apple is actually releasing one, decisions must be made. We’ll talk about who is or isn’t getting one, and why, but first — the other products discussed.
iPhone 5 sold out the opening weekend; over 5 million units were sold, making this the most iPhones sold in an opening weekend, as well as the most phones sold in an opening weekend. Whether you care about iOS devices or not, you have to admit that those numbers are pretty impressive.
We were also updated on how the iPod nano and iPod touch are doing: over three million iPod units sold and shipped in time for the holiday season.
• In just over one month, there are over 200 million devices running iOS6; “the fastest upgrade rate of any software in history” (that Apple is aware of)
• 300 billion messages were sent via iMessage sent in the last year, and they are being sent at a rate of 28,000 per second right now
• Game Center now has over 160 million game players competing against each other and comparing scores with other Mac and iOS users
• Over 70 million photos have been shared in the last month (since the iOS 6 launch) via Shared PhotoStreams
• There are over 700,000 iOS apps (a number that has continued to grow since it was released last month) and over 275,000 iPad specific apps available in the app store; customers have now downloaded 35 billion apps from the app store, with a payout of $6.5 billion to developers.
In other news …
There are now over 1.5 million books available in the iBookstore (covering all subjects), with over 400 million downloads since the iBookstore opened.
has been updated to 3.0 which now allows you to:
• See all your iBookstore purchases in iCloud—right on your bookshelf with iOS 6
• Scroll vertically through your books with the flick of a finger using the new Scroll theme
• Apple version of Whispersync, where you can open a book on any iOS device and update to your last reading position
• Receive free updates to purchased books—including new chapters, corrections, and other improvements
• Look up definitions for words in German, Spanish, French, Japanese and Simplified Chinese with iOS 6
• Share quotes or thoughts about your favorite book with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Messages, or Mail
• Over 40 languages now supported, and books open the correct way (left to right, for example for Japanese)
I had honestly expected much more from this – something that dealt with all of the changes, Agency and so on. This is NOT an X.X update, more like an x.01 update …
Moving right along … They are seeing incredible momentum with the Mac line; for the year ending with June, the Mac outgrew the PC market by about 7 times, which it has been doing (albeit not at those numbers) for the last 6 years straight; Apple now has the number one desktop and the number one laptop in the US, and it is listed as number one in customer satisfaction and reliability.
Which brings up the 15″ MacBook Pro Retina, which was introduced earlier this year. Described by Phil Schiller as “the best display housed in the best notebook design that we have ever made.”
But because their number one selling laptop (and number one selling Mac) is the 13″ MBP, “in typical Apple fashion”, they upgraded it to … the new 13″ MacBook Pro Retina. It is “incredibly thin” at .75″ (and light at 3.5 pounds), so it is much smaller and lighter than the last 13″ generation. Two models are available, both having
- 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
- Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
- 8GB 1600MHz memory
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- Built-in battery (7 hours)
The $1699 (base price) version has 128GB flash storage, while the $1999 (base price) version has 256GB flash storage. For an additional $200, each model could be upgraded to 2.9GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7, with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz. Either model could be upgraded to 768GB flash storage, but it would add a pricey $1300 to the 128GB model or $1000 to the 256GB model; in other words, the $300 saved by choosing the less expensive MBPr version was the savings from taking the least amount of memory … a bad move, in my opinion.
I’ve got the 15″ MacBook Pro Retina, and I constantly wish I’d waited to get the 768GB; I hover between 70 and 90GB free, and it’s nerve-wracking worrying about when (not if) I will start to really feel the squeeze. The 13″ MacBook Pro looks like an impressive desktop replacement that will travel even more easily than the 15″. The only feature that I wish they’d included was an option for 16GB RAM; it really makes the 15″ MBPr fly.
The MacBook Pro retina display is a solid update that enhances an already strong line-up. The price was higher than I expected (I figured it would be just under the psychological $1500 mark), but based on the quality, features and capabilities … it’s very nice. I know this size is very popular, but for me, I would either want the Air or the 15″ Pro.
If you don’t want to upgrade to retina display, the original display is still available in both 13″ (and 15″).
The updated Mac Mini was introduced with a sly “you knew there’d be something ‘mini’ in this presentation, didn’t you?” to much amusement from the audience.
The Mac mini starts at $599, for the configuration including
- 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
- 4GB memory
- 500GB hard drive
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- OS X Mountain Lion
$799 will upgrade the hard drive to 1TB, and there are various options which can be added including a faster quad-core Intel I7 processor for $100, upgrading to 8GB RAM (add $100), or upgrading to 16GB RAM (add $300). On the 1TB model you can also upgrade the hard drive to a same size Fusion Drive (add $250) or make it a 256GB SSD (add $300).
The Mac mini with OSX Server is where things really get interesting. The base model is $999, and it includes
- 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
- 4GB memory
- Two 1TB hard drives
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- OS X Mountain Lion
- OS X Server
You can upgrade to a 2.6GHz quad-core for $100, upgrade to 8GB RAM for an additional $100, or mak the mini scream with 16GB RAM for an additional $300. This mini has a 2TB hard drive, which can be upgraded to a 256GB SSD for $200 or two 256GB SSDs for $600 (which sounds odd to me). I think I would simply stick with the 2TB HD in this instance.
Of course you’ll need a monitor for either package, and the 27″ Apple Thunderbolt display can be had for an additional $999. Don’t forget the Magic Trackpad ($69) and a keyboard ($49 for the keyboard with numeric keypad or $69 for the Apple wireless keyboard).
Suddenly, this is one pricy computer, wouldn’t you say? Even so, the Mac mini is “still the world’s most energy-efficient desktop; at idle, it consumes just 11 watts.” The Mac mini is available for order and delivery now.
This adds another speed-bump update to the solid Mac Mini, with just enough stuff to lure those who were waiting but not really an upgrade-worthy change. Well, except possibly the server version. They kept the great pricing, making this a solid little computer for many who don’t need a laptop.
Those who prefer an all-in-one desktop solution weren’t left out; the iMac got a massive update. Phil pointed out that the iMac is the number one desktop in the US; mine is over two generations old and still going strong, so I can understand why.
The newest generation iMac is “absolutely beautiful … stunning from every side, edge to edge glass … that amazingly thin edge … the most beautiful Mac that we have ever made.” The edge is 5mm thin, which is 80% thinner than the previous generation. Holy cow! I thought my iMac was thin, this model makes it look obese!
As before, there are two size iMacs available, the 21.5″ and the 27″. Prices start at $1299 for the 21″ and $1799 for the 27″; I can’t tell you what the additional options will cost yet, because the 21.5″ won’t even be available until November, and the 27″ won’t be available until December.
I will not be upgrading my iMac, as my “older” model is doing just fine. But this is what Carly had to say about the new model:
The new iMac made my jaw drop. Once I get past moving and all the associated expenses, I’ve been considering buying an iMac to replace our aging computers, along with an iPad for Sarah. That way we would both have iPads for travel and couch surfing, and a real computer for those times we need more power. The iMac already fit the bill, and the new one looks absolutely perfect. Now I just need to convince Sarah of that!
This was the first real stunner! The iMac is ultra-thin and gorgeous and packs some real power; where others flail with AIO systems, Apple just keeps chugging ahead. My favorite moment was Phil showing the new one from the side and then overlaying the last gen.
Buying a new iMac does make sense if you haven’t already got one!
Now came the part of the event that everyone has been eager to learn more about; the new iPad. But of course we had to hear about how the iPad is doing, first …
Two weeks ago, the 100 millionth iPad was sold (in just 2.5 years); additionally, Apple “sold more iPads in the June quarter than any PC maker sold of their entire PC lineup.” iPad users account for over 90% of the tablet web traffic. According to Apple, there is a simple reason for the iPad’s success: “People love their iPads.”
iBooks textbooks are now available for 80% of the US High School core curriculum, and they are now being used in over 2500 US schools. People and businesses are using their iPads in places you would never see them use a PC. Apple says that they know they are just getting started, and they mentioned the “fastest selling iPad of all time”, their 3rd generation iPad with retina display which was announced and has been selling since March.
We were all expecting to hear about a new iPad mini, but then we were thrown a bit of a curveball; rather than waiting until March, which has been the traditional iPad intro time, the 4th Generation iPad Retina was introduced now. The main differences include the addition of the A6 processor, a better front-facing camera, better LTE performance and coverage, upgraded WiFi protocol, and the updated lightning connector. New camera and video cables were also introduced. The new iPad will come in black and white, and it will have better specifications and features for the same price as the last generation iPad.
I’ve got the 3rd generation iPad, and while the upgraded features sounds great, they aren’t enough to get me to switch right now. I’m waiting to see if there will be another update in March (the traditional iPad update time), or if October will now be the new upgrade time; that’s when I may (or may not) make the jump.
Dan had this to say:
To everyone upset by apple rolling out a new iPad with updated specs — did you really think they would leave the iPad as the only iOS device with the old 30-pin connector? Seriously? As for me, I may upgrade since my iPad is my go-to productivity device. Time will tell.
I didn’t know what to expect, because as Dan predicted they wouldn’t be likely to leave the iPad without a lightning connector. So the update makes sense – it adds the connector and also brings commonality of components with the iPhone 5. Again, not worth upgrading unless you have a first or second generation iPad.
And now the moment so many of us were waiting for, the introduction of the iPad mini.
“What can you do with the iPad mini that you can’t already do with an iPad? This … hold it with one hand.”
The new iPad is 7.2mm thin, or about 1/4 thinner than the 4th generation iPad; it weighs just .68 pounds, or over 50% less than a 4th generation iPad. In order to run all current iPad apps without creating extra work for the developers, they used the same pixel count as the (non-retina display yet still current) iPad 2, which leads me to believe that the first update for the mini will likely be a retina display, sometime next year.
The display is 7.9″ diagonal, which when you remove the Android menu at the bottom of the screen, or the “noise” as Phil called it, is about 49% larger when held vertically or 67% larger when held horizontally than a 7″ Android tablet’s screen.
Much was made of the fact that iPad mini will run full-size iPad tablet applications, whereas 7″ Android tablets are generally only running phone apps which have been scaled up to fit the screen. Phil has a point.
The iPad mini will use the dual-core A5 chip, which is the same chip the iPad 2 had, and I suspect that the quad-core A6 will be the next logical upgrade.
The iPad mini will come in black or white, and it will have either a silver or slate back (depending upon whether you buy the white or black models, respectively). The big news for me was that both cameras on the iPad mini were exactly the same as those on the 4th generation iPad; I love the quality of the 3rd gen iPad’s camera, and even though I snicker when I see people holding one up to take photos, the camera is so good that I have been guilty of doing it myself.
I don’t think anyone will feel at all self-conscious when taking photos with the iPad mini.
The iPad mini The iPad mini will be available in WiFi only, with pricing at $329 (16GB), $429 ($32GB), and $529 (64GB). WiFi with Cellular will be available from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint; pricing will be $459 (16GB), $599 (32GB), and $659 (64GB). Orders will be taken starting at midnight (pacific time) on October 26th, with WiFi model delivery starting on November 2 and cellular models delivering about two weeks after that.
I’m planning on buying a 64GB WiFi + Cellular iPad mini; I suspect that it will be even more useful than my full-size iPad has been, but I regret that it doesn’t have the retina screen or the faster processor. We’ll see how big of a difference that makes.
I asked Carly what she thought about it, and she said:
I am underwhelmed by the iPad mini, but I can’t put my finger on why. Part of it is price, part of it is that the fourth gen iPad looks far more attractive, and part of it is that refurbished iPad 3s are down to $379. Plus for someone who just wants media, the Kindle Fire HD is more affordable. So when a coworker asked after the Apple event if she should buy a Mini, I gave her a long-winded answer that boiled down to “Only if you desperately want a 7.9in screen over a 10in one.”
I’m traveling and have crappy connectivity, so I can’t say as much as I would like to, but I am royally bummed that I was in town for Apple’s lame iPhone event, but not around for this week of big announcements. I am not surprised by the iPad mini but I am surprised that, once again, it is clear that Apple is too big to keep anything a secret any longer. Everything was as expected.
And Michael said:
This looks almost exactly like the leaks – 7.85″, iPod Touch-like thinness, iPod 2-like internals, and Lightning connector. What really struck me was looking at the iPad Mini next to the Nexus 7, and realizing how close they are in size, as well as the Kindle Fire HD. Of course, then there is price … I think being over $300 screws everything up – something that started by over-pricing the iPod Touch. The reality is that being so global means dealing with leaks like this.
If you aren’t interested in the iPad mini or the 4th generation iPad, there has never been a better time to pick up the excellent 3rd generation iPad at a great price; they have them now starting at $379 for the WiFi 16GB model and $509 for the 16GB WiFi + Cellular model.
So, out of everything that Apple introduced, was there anything that piqued your interest?