Today’s media event from Apple in San Jose has, by all accounts, gone pretty well. We anticipated an iPad mini, tweaked Mac mini, iMac, 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, along with alterations to the third-gen iPad and some sort of update to iBooks, and that’s pretty much what we got.
What we weren’t so sure of, however, was just how significant some of the changes would be, and in the first broadcast keynote from the Cupertino since 2010, we got quite a bit more than we bargained for.
Things started off rather quietly, with Apple CEO Tim Cook giving shareholders a little update on just how much his company has achieved since, well, last month. After the usual flurry and superlatives and self-gratification, the products began to emerge as both Cook and Phil Schiller took it in turns to officially reveal the fruits of the fruit company’s labor.
The first announcement was a new version of iBooks. No significant changes, but now it features continuous scrolling in between pages for easier reading, better iCloud support and social sharing features. Not exactly the kind of update we hoped for, but still, we got one.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display stuck to the script written for it by the blogosphere, and offers those looking for a thinner, lighter (yet still high-end) notebook the chance to purchase one at a smaller size. The screen may be a bit smaller, but it’s no less impressive, and with a $1699 price tag, it’s a cool $500 cheaper than the entry-level 15-inch edition.
The Mac mini presented us with a refresh in line with what had been rumored for the weeks prior to this morning – featuring Intel’s newest Ivy Bridge processor along with four USB 3.0 ports, and with a server edition offering up to 2TB of HDD space, it does now look to be the real deal.
The Mac mini didn’t, however, outshine the beautifully-redesigned iMac, which is now just 5mm thick at its thinnest points around the edges. The optical drive is gone, but taking into consideration the beauty of Apple’s favorite desktop computer, I’m sure few people will be sorry to have seen it depart.
The rumor mill threw up quite a few suppositions with regards to the iMac, and although the possibility of a thinner form factor was toyed with, Apple delivered a very aesthetically-pleasing iMac which is now considerably faster than its predecessor.
The Mac alterations were pleasing, but that wasn’t exactly why everybody tuned in. This was the iPad mini event, and when Schiller finally unveiled it to the world, all doubts about the device were put to rest.
It packs in the A5 processor, 720p 7.9-inch display, and with a bezel reflecting that of the iPod touch, it fits nicely into the hand. Although the idea of 12 different models turned out to be a little off, there’s still plenty of variety for everybody, and since $329 buys you 16GB of iPad mini, I’d rate Apple’s chances of dealing with the imminent demand as fairly low.
Last but by no means least, Apple took the controversial decision to give the 3rd-gen iPad quite a few more changes than we’d bargained for. In fact, the new, "twice as fast" Apple A6X processor is quite a bump, and with better Wi-Fi support, improved 4G LTE in European / Asian nations, and the new Lightning connector, the major talking point seems to be how Apple has ripped off its customers.
You can check out today’s entire keynote video by heading over to this link. We’re certain that the event will be available to watch via YouTube as well soon, and when that happens; we’ll update this post and embed the video below this paragraph for your viewing pleasure.
What do you make of the new, fourth-gen iPad? Was Apple wrong to release what is a fairly significant upgrade just eight months after the third-gen?
Please feel free to leave your opinions on all of today’s announcements, by dropping us a comment via the usual channels below!