Back to Mac?

Apple unveiled a bevy of new products this week, including updated iPads and a much needed update to its high-end Mac Pro desktop computer.

At an event in San Francisco, CEO Tim Cook began with Mac OS X Mavericks, the new version of the operating system that runs on its Macintosh computers. Mavericks features mild improvements over the previous OS, Mountain Lion, such as interactive notifications and Apple Maps and iBooks on the desktop. Mavericks is now an available free upgrade from the Mac App Store for anyone with a Mac running OS X Snow Leopard or better.

Next on the agenda were the new Mac hardware, beginning with new MacBook Pros. They feature new Intel Haswell chips which have much better power consumption leading to longer battery life. The 13-inch model starts at €1,349 and the 15-inch starts at €1,549.

The new Mac Pro was unveiled earlier this year, showing off its radical redesign; now a slick, refined black anodised aluminium cylinder. This is a truly powerful computer, with the base model featuring a Quad-Core processor and 12GB of RAM. The price matches the performance; the base model is €3,099. We might not be seeing too many of these on campus.

Finally we saw what we wanted, a new version of Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad, first introduced in 2010. It is now called the iPad Air, weighing just one pound and is 20 per cent thinner than the last generation. It also now has a thinner bezel on the left and right sides, meaning it’s thinner to hold in its portrait orientation. Its price stays the same, €499 for the 16GB model.

The star of the event was kept for last; the new iPad mini with a Retina Display. That’s 3.1 million pixels, one million more than a HD TV, on a 7.9-inch display. It also features the new A7 chip that is also in the new iPad Air. The price has gone up however, it’s now €399 for the 16GB model. Apple will have to try to keep up demand for the iPad mini this holiday season. In the first quarter of this year, the iPad mini made up 60 per cent of sales of all iOS devices, including iPhones.

This was a big announcement for Apple; the event was jam packed with new products that analysts and customers both wanted and expected. Apple’s been suffering some stiff competition lately from Google, Samsung and Nokia, but I think it’s done just enough to keep itself on top.

Kevin Kelly

Image credit: ncrocco via flickr

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