[Tech Talk] Apple Unveils new iPads + Free OS

It’s that time of year again! Autumn was ushered in by beautiful LA weather, Pumpkin Spice Lattes have more than taken over the coffee world and Halloween is just around the corner – but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s the time of year where our friends at Apple HQ loop in their loyal customer base about their latest and greatest products and projects.  I’ve touched on this a bit in the past, but I’m an Apple girl through and through – well, minus the fact I’ve refused to cave into the iPhone madness for the last few years and love my HTC Droid to pieces – but I digress.   The tech talk started at 11 EST/ 10am PST and is being hosted by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater up in San Francisco. For loyal customers running iOs4.2 you’ll be able to stream the event in multitudes of ways and if you have Safari 4 or later, the event is being live-streamed right here.  If you care less about talking heads and more about talking points, one of my favorite tech sites – Gizmodo – is live-blogging the event right here.

Now, without further ado – some of the highlights from today’s press event:

Map Updates on OS 10.9 Mavericks

Image thanks to NBC

The New OS 10.9 is called Mavericks. Unlike previous OS X’s – like Mountain Lion, Tiger, Panther, Snow Leopard – this marks the first OS X that isn’t named after a killer cat but instead after a killer wave.  To boot, Mavericks marks the first OS released by Apple that is free (Yes, FREE!) for everyone to update – and it’s available starting today.  This update contains about 200 changes, including but definitely not limited to these arenas – Web Browsing (Safari will show users what their social networks have been reading), Maps with a 3D Flyover view, Notifications, Power Efficiency (To quote the Senior VP Federighi:  “On a 13″ Macbook you’ll get an hour longer web browsing on a single charge.”) and more.

Image thanks to Gizmodo

They also introduced a few new sibling in the iPad family.  First – we have a new iPad Mini! The 16GB iPad Mini 2 finally has a retina display and hosts twice the resolution as the original with 324 pixels per inch and a resolution of 2048 x 1536 for you number ninjas out there.   This makes the iPad Mini 2 a definite contender against the Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX.  The iPad Mini 2 is a little on the expensive side – $530 with the works (LTE/WiFi) and $400 for WiFi Only.  The good news?  The old iPad Mini is now only $300; and with Apple – I’ve learned to take what I can get.  Next up,  the iPad air.  It clocks in at approximately 1lb and 9.7″, making it roughly half a pound lighter and much thinner than previous versions.  The CPU inside is two times as fast as the last iPad update – which was twice as fast as the first; the final result? An iPad that’s eight times faster than the original iPad.

Apple’s Mac Pro Core Processor

Last, but certainly not least – let’s take a look at the new Mac + MacBook Pros.  The Mac Pro contains that sexy beast of metal above – Intel’s Xeon E5 Processor with between four and twelve cores.  The Xeon Processor holds 12GB of high performance RAM (GDDR5 if you want to get specific).  As far as graphics are concerned, the Mac Pro runs with an AMD FirePro which means 4k video output. Other specs for the Mac Pro include: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, HDMI, 4 USB Ports, 6 Thunderbolt ports and 2  Ethernet Ports.  Per usual, the Mac Pro will cost a pretty penny – approximately $3000, and is available starting this December.  Then there’s the kid sister laptop version – the MacBook Pro. Much like the Mac Pro, the 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros boast the latest OS, Thunderbolt ports and the 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio.  The 15″ gets an Intel Pro GPU, a 256 GB Solid State Drive and a 2 Ghz Quad Core Processor with 8GB of Dynamic RAM and runs at $2000.  The kid brother, the new 13′, is less than3 pounds and 3/4 of an inch thick.  Inside, you’ll find a 2.4 Ghz Core i6, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and an enhanced retina display.  It runs at about $1300 and both models – the 13″ and 15″ Mac Book Pros – ship today!

What are your chances of splurging on any one of their new products?

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” 
― Apple Inc.

Tech Tuesday: Apple’s Big Unveiling

I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I’m a born and raised Apple junkie that only deviates into the world of the PC for work. I’m currently the owner of a gorgeous 27″ iMac, a first generation iPad and a lovely little iPod shuffle that I call ‘Shuffleufagus’; despite being hounded on by about 60% of my friend group, I’m proud to say that I have not (and will not) cave and purchase an iPhone because I’m head over heals for my Droid.  I have gaming systems, I have cable, I have internet – I basically have the entire e-gamut covered, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a genuine interest in what those Apple Guru’s will come up with next.

ImageIn attempts to remain competitive across the breadth of the mobile market, today Apple introduced it’s first tablet – set to hit stores on November 2nd.  The iPad Mini comes in around 8 inches and costs a pretty penny – a 16GB mini without a cellular plan comes out to $329 and with one comes out to $459.  It’s weighs roughly .7lbs and is crazily less than 8mm thin.  Conversely, the iPad 2 comes to $399 and the brand new iPad with Retina Display comes in at $499 – both devices are roughly 10 inches tall.  There’s a considerable amount of flack that Apple is receiving – and many are wondering how they can remain competitive in a market where there are euivalent products at a much lower price.  The Amazon Kindle Fire HD, for example, is a seven inch tablet that comes in either a16GB or 32GB version depending on your preference, and respectively costs $199 or $249 – significantly less than the retail of the new iPad Mini.

Fortunately for the Apple camp, there were a few other unveiling today that made the nerd inside me go SQUEE!  A 13 inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, a MacMini and a new generation of iMac. The new iMacs are being rolled out in two different sizes with 27 and 21.5 inch screens, respectively. I have to say – I’m head over heals for retina display anything; I was playing around on my dad’s new Macbook Pro over the weekend and I kind of fell in love with it.  The design is sleek, sexy and slim – it’s light weight and gorgeous, just the way a laptop should be!

The main selling point of their new laptop and desktop computers is the idea of a ‘Fusion Drive‘ – granted, I didn’t know what one was until the conference, but after doing some digging I think I figured it out. A fusion drive basically the marriage of a solid state drive (SSD) and a magnetic drive (HDD), eventually giving your computer the quickness of having a flash drive and the storage space of a magnetic drive. As I understand it, applications in high rotation will sit on your flash drive so they can be used with ease, but the rest of your files will sit on the magnetic drive to be accessed at your leisure.  The hybrid drive is in no way a new idea, but the Fusion Drive is an example of Apple branding at work. Now, I’m not about to run out and snag myself some new Apple swag – but if a Retina Display laptop happened to wind up under my Christmas tree this year I wouldn’t be at all upset about it…