On Tuesday Apple took the stage for the second time in two months to announce a slew of new hardware. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has been gifted a Retina display to match its 15-inch brother, the Mac mini packs the latest specs, the iMac slimmed down in a major way, a fourth generation iPad with Retina display replaced its six month old predecessor, and the tablet now has a smaller companion in the iPad mini. Read on for the full rundown organized by product category.
13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
This summer Apple introduced the “next-generation” MacBook Pro with a 15-inch model featuring a Retina display with a resolution of 2880 x 1800. This week the 13-inch model received a similar upgrade. The new MBP sports a 13.3-inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 (that is 4x the number of pixels than the previous 13-incher). Apple is calling it “the world’s second highest resolution notebook display” behind the 15-inch MBP with Retina display, of course. The screen promises rich color, deep blacks, 29 percent higher contrast ratio, 75 percent reduced reflection, IPS for 178 degree viewing angle, and 300 nits brightness. The optical drive is gone, and this allows for a slimmer design; the new MBP is 0.75 inches thin (20 percent thinner than before) and weighs 3.57 pounds (almost a pound lighter), making it the lightest MBP ever. It features a FaceTime HD camera, backlit keyboard, left and right speakers, glass multi-touch trackpad, built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and 7 hours of battery life. Ports along the left side include MagSafe 2, two Thunderbolt ports, one USB 3 port, a headphone jack, and dual mics; on the other side there’s an SD card slot, one HDMI port, one USB 3 port. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display specs start at 2.5GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 128GB flash storage for $1699. Now shipping.
Apple’s MacBook lineup includes 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pros with and without Retina displays and 11 and 13-inch MacBook Airs.
Jump after the break to see the new Mac mini, iMac, iPad, and iPad mini.
The small, power efficient Mac mini received an upgrade, too. Ports along the back now include Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, HDMI, Thunderbolt, four USB 3 ports, an SD card slot, and audio in/out. WiFi and Bluetooth are built-in. Mac mini specs start at 2.5GHz dual-core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, and 500GB HDD for $599. A server edition is being sold starting with 2.3GHz quad-core i7, 4GB RAM, and two 1TB HDD for $999. Now shipping.
Like the “next-generation” MacBook Pros, the eighth iteration of the all-in-one iMac has ditched the optical drive to allow for an extremely thinner and more compact design. The new iMac has a 5mm edge and is 80 percent thinner than before and 8 pounds lighter. The display is made with a full lamination design, meaning it sits directly on top of the glass for an improved viewing experience. Two models are still being sold and they vary by screen size; the 27-incher has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and the 21.5-incher boasts a 1920 x 1080 rez. The displays feature IPS for 178 degree viewing angle, over 300 nits brightness, and promise 75 percent less reflection. A FaceTime HD camera, dual mics, improved left and right speakers, and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth add to the spec list. Ports around back include a headphone jack, an SD card slot, four USB 3 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, and Gigabit Ethernet. The 21.5-inch iMac specs start at 2.7GHz quad-core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, GeForce GT 640M graphics, and 1TB HDD for $1299; it ships in November. The 27-inch iMac specs start at 2.9GHz quad-core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 660M graphics, 1TB HDD for $1799; it ships in December.
For the new iMac and Mac mini, Apple is introducing a new storage option called Fusion Drive. It allows customers to customize their computer with 128GB of flash storage and either a 1TB or 3TB HDD. The two are fused into a single volume to provide faster read and write speeds. The preinstalled OS and Apple’s basic apps are located on the flash storage and your personal files are loaded onto the HDD. Over time, your computer will automatically and intuitively learn which apps and files you use most often and these will transfer over to the flash storage so they run faster and more efficiently. Lesser used items will live on the higher capacity HDD. Apple makes it a point that Fusion Drive works seamlessly with Mountain Lion and there’s nothing for the user to setup to make this work.
Fourth generation iPad with Retina display
The most surprising product announcement at the event was the introduction of a new iPad just six months after Apple released their last tablet. The design remains the same as before; the differences lie on the inside. The new fourth-gen iPad packs a faster A6X chip which doubles the performance and graphics, the front-side camera is now branded FaceTime HD (720p), expanded LTE coverage, 2x faster WiFi, the Lightning connector, and the same 10 hour battery life as before. Apple is offering new cables: Lightning to USB and Lightning to SD, and for video out there’s Lightning to HDMI and Lightning to VGA. The new iPad comes in black and white options and starts at the same price as the previous gen model: 16GB with WiFi for $499 and 16GB with WiFi + Cellular for $629. All configurations are up for preorder today and it delivers November 2.
The industry had been buzzing about an “iPad mini” for a long time, and this week Apple finally made it a reality. The iPad mini sports a 7.9-inch display (compared to the OG iPad’s 9.7-inch screen) and it has the same resolution as the iPad 2 that is 1024 x 760 (note this is not a Retina display). But since it does have the same resolution as a previous iPad, it will run all apps designed for iPad with no problem. Apple CEO Tim Cook spent time beating down the competition saying that the iPad mini’s display is superior to other 7-inch tablets in the market because it boasts a 35 percent larger display area. He also made it a point that developers are putting more effort into making iPad-specific apps that take advantage of the display size and resolution. Other tablets merely receive scaled up apps intended for phones in some cases. The iPad mini is 7.2mm thin (that’s 23 percent thinner than the new fourth-gen iPad) and it weighs 0.68 pounds (53 percent lighter). Apple says it is “thin as a pencil” and “light as a pad of paper” and that it fits comfortably in one hand. Specs include: dual-core A5 processor, FaceTime HD front-side camera, 5 megapixel iSight camera around back with 1080p video recording, ultrafast LTE wireless, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Lightning connector, 10 hour battery life. Apple is selling new Smart Covers to fit the miniaturized tablet. The iPad mini starts at 16GB with WiFi for $329 and the 16GB model with WiFi + Cellular prices at $629. Colors include black/slate and white/silver, borrowing the dual-shades originated in the iPhone 5. It’s available for preorder today, and it delivers November 2.
Apple’s tablet lineup includes the iPad mini, the iPad 2 (starting at $399), and the fourth generation iPad with Retina display.
Apple allotted time to talking about iBooks. There is a new version of iBooks available in the App Store today as a free download. It brings with it continuous scrolling, better integration with iCloud, the ability to share quotes over Facebook and Twitter, and support for over 40 languages. iBooks Author also received an update and it introduces new Apple templates, support for custom embedded fonts, embeddable mathematical expressions, multi-touch widgets, and book updates. It’s available in the Mac App Store today also as a free download.
Dig inside the galleries for a closer look at Apple’s new hardware. Below watch Jony Ive and company talk up the design of the iPad mini.
[Images via Apple]