Apple staged its third key event of the year this Thursday, following WWDC in June and new iPhones’ reveal in September, to introduce the new line-up of its iPad and Mac products. Most of the event details had leaked a day earlier and the event itself was lacking the vehemence we witnessed during the September event but there were a couple of surprises too, nonetheless. Here’s a round-up of all the major announcements made by Apple during the event for the readers who missed it or would like a refresher on all the updates.
1. OS X and iOS
The latest version of Apple’s operating system for desktops, laptops, and server systems, Yosemite (colloquially known as OS X 10.10) has finally been made available for all Mac and Macbook users as a free update.
First introduced in June this year at WWDC, Yosemite introduces a flat, clean and simpler look with major upgrades to previous features such as Spotlight alongside packing a number of new features as well like Continuity, and an aggregated Notification Center.
Apple’s mobile operating system—iOS—will receive an OTA update of its own, iOS 8.1, the coming Monday. The most important feature this update will bring for the US customers is Apple Pay, Apple’s NFC-based proprietary payment system first announced during the September event. Moreover, iOS’ Photo Stream is being replaced with iCloud Photo Library feature in the 8.1 update, and Camera Roll will be added one more time after being removed in the original iOS 8.
The iOS 8.1 update will also hopefully rectify the problems that the users have been facing since upgrading their devices to the minor 8.0.X updates pushed immediately following iOS 8 itself.
2. iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3
Apple announced the obligatory updates to its iPad tablet computers line-up using the signature percentage points-based statistics. Everything about the new iPad Air 2 complies with the second-degree-of-adjectives rule: it’s 6 percent lighter, 40 percent faster, and 18 percent thinner. The graphics performance is also 2.5 times better when compared to the original iPad Air, and the cameras have been improved to capture slow-motion videos from the primary and burst-selfies from the secondary one.
iPad Air 2 sports a brand-new A8X chip on the inside and much-anticipated TouchID fingerprint sensor on the front just like an iPhone. Unlike an iPhone 6/6+ however, the device still lacks an NFC chip.
For those waiting on a major iPad mini update will have to contend on the addition of TouchID sensor only. Besides that and the introduction of Gold color for the iPad mini line-up, There are no other major improvements/changes in the smaller sibling of the iPad family.
iPad Air 2 will start selling next week from $499 for 16GB and up. LTE versions of iPad Air 2 will be available for an additional $130 on top of the standard price. iPad mini 3 will be made available for $399 and upwards.
3. iMac and Mac Mini
The updated 27-inch iMac now boasts a Retina 5K display: a mind-boggling resolution of 5120 x 2880 pixels which amount to 14.7 million, all of them crammed into a 5mm-thin display. The price of the device will be premium as well: the 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina Display will come for a price of $2,499 and includes a 1TB Fusion drive and 8GB of memory.
Mac Mini, the void-of-display younger sibling of iMacs from Apple finally saw an update after a two-year abatement. Mac Mini now sports Intel 4th generation Haswell processors, two Thunderbolt 2 ports and the ability to ramp up the specs all the way to 1 TB Fusion drive, 8 gigs of RAM, and a 2.8 GHz processor with Iris graphics.
Mac Mini will start from $499 for the base model (1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor; Intel HD Graphics 5000; 500GB hard drive; 4GB of RAM) and is being made available immediately.
4. Some Letdowns
Apple users have been asking for a Retina display MacBook Air for a long time now, but it seems like they’ll have to wait a little more to see that dream come true. iPad mini 3 was also a slight disappointment given the addition of TouchID being passed off as an upgrade over last year’s iPad mini 2. Apple didn’t show any love for its Apple TV device throughout the event. No major announcements regarding Apple Watch’s availability were made either, contrary to the rumors circulating before the event.
That about sums up everything that you might possibly want to know about the big event. Stay tuned to our blog for the upcoming comparisons/reviews of the newly-announced devices as well!