Apple Announces New iPad Air 2, Mini 3, Mac Mini And iMac With 5K Display
New products thinner and faster, all work together via iCloud.
The event began with a video recapping the recent iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launches around the world. It showed lots of excited people coming out of Apple stores in cities across the globe.
Tim Cook then took the stage. He says, “It’s been an incredible year . . . an amazing reception to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch.” These devices are the fastest selling iPhones in history. Most orders taken in first month “by a whole lot.”
By the end of this week the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be in 35 countries, including China. This is the first time that Apple has launched an iPhone on all three networks in China. The pre-orders in China have “set a new record.” (20 million was one report.)
Cook moves on to recap Apple Pay. He goes over the basics of Apple pay and how it works, says it’s secure, private, supported by all major banks and the three major credit card services. He announces 500 more banks and more large retailers rolling out early next year.
Cook announces that Apple Pay goes live on Monday in the US (via iOS 8.1).
He also recaps the Apple Watch. “It’s just as much about personal expression as it is about functionality.” He shows the cover of Chinese Vogue, where it was recently featured.
Apple has been working with selected developers and brands on early apps. Apple has developed WatchKit to enable app development for Apple Watch. It will be available in November. And Apple Watch is shipping “early next year.”
“This is our strongest product lineup ever.” Now Cook moves into the OS discussion. He turns over the presentation to Craig Federighi.
Federighi says nearly half of iOS customers are on iOS 8. (There have been some who’ve decided not to upgrade because of the memory demands.) He slams Android fragmentation and the fact that most users are on an older version of Android.
Federighi is doing a detailed recap of iOS 8 capabilities and what they enable in third party apps. He moves on to HealthKit. “Developers have really embraced HealthKit.” He reviews a number of third-party apps that have tied into HealthKit and what they enable.
TouchID has been extended to third party developers, Federighi says. He talks about Metal and the new programming language Swift. There are lots of testimonials and accolades for Swift.
Now we’re hearing about iOS 8.1. He jokes about some of the “feedback” (complaints). He’s listing the new features of 8.1, including iCloud Photo Library — photos and videos are automatically accessible from any Apple device.
Now he turns to Mac OS X Yosemite.
“The reception has been just awesome,” he says. Spotlight (search) has been supercharged: it taps into sources on the internet in addition to searching your local files. In the upgraded/updated Safari toolbar you “don’t just get Google search suggestions, you get Spotlight suggestions.”
Safari is 6X faster than other browsers, Federighi asserts. Safari outlasts other browsers in terms of battery life too. You get 2 – 3 more hours of laptop battery life by using Safari.
We’re hearing a rapid fire discussion of various Yosemite features and updates. It’s way too much, too fast to capture.
With iCloud drive you can store and access any file stored from any Mac/iOS device. This is intended to enable file sharing and access from all devices — “even a Windows PC.” You can also now use your Mac as a speaker phone for you iPhone, making and receiving calls.
Apple iCloud enables Yosemite and iOS 8 to sync and work together. Devices also communicate in proximity: you can AirDrop between devices and AirPlay without connecting to WiFi. He reminds the audience of “Continuity,” which enables users to move between Apple devices and pick up where they left off on the other device.
Now he’s doing a humorous bit with Stephen Colbert around Apple security. He calls Colbert on the Mac. They’re joking about Colbert being the “Supreme Commander of Secrecy” at Apple. Colbert says, “I’m ‘jonesing’ for some jewelry Craig,” in reference to the Apple Watch.
Federighi demos using the Apple Watch as a presentation clicker/remote.
Yosemite is available today. It’s free. Apple’s iOS 8.1 is available for download on Monday. Finally, a new version of iWork is available today and also free.
Tim Cook returns to the stage. “I’d like to now talk about iPad . . . it’s always been a unique blend of simplicity and capability.”
Cook announces 225 million iPads sold around the world with 675,000 specialized iPad apps. He says that iPad has outsold all traditional PC makers in the last 12 months. (This is perhaps designed to answer criticism that iPad sales are slowing from financial analysts.)
He talks about high levels of customer satisfaction with the iPad Air and iPad Mini Retina.
Now we’re seeing a video introducing the new iPad Air: the iPad Air 2. “Look how thin it is; can you even see it?”
Phil Schiller comes up to discuss the Air 2’s design and specs. “It’s 18 percent thinner than the iPad Air; the world’s thinnest tablet.” You can stack two iPad Air 2s and it’s still thinner than the original iPad.
Schiller says the new iPad has the best display with the lowest-glare surface. There’s a new A8X chip for the iPad Air 2. It offers a faster CPU and faster graphics performance: 180X faster than the original iPad.
There’s an improved camera on the new Air 2: 8MP camera and it takes 1080p video. Now Schiller is showing photos taken with the new iPad Air. “People are not going to believe that these are taken with the iPad.”
You can take panoramas and macros. You can also use burst mode (high speed shutter release). You can also take time lapse photos and slo-mo video. There’s an improved front-facing Face Time camera as well.
The Air 2 has faster LTE and faster WiFi capability. And now there’s also TouchID. Along with that you can use Apple Pay to make online/in-app purchases from the iPad; “It’ll be the best way to shop online,” says Schiller.
We’re getting an app demo from Pixelmator, an image editing app.
Now we’re seeing the demo of a video editing app called Replay, from France. Much of the editing is automated and based on algorithms. Its simplicity is impressive.
Pricing for the new iPad Air 2 starts at $499. It goes up to $699 for the WiFi only devices depending on the memory configuration. The higher memory iPad Air 2s are actually $100 cheaper than their predecessors. The “old” iPad Air price comes down to $399 and the original iPad Mini is now priced at $249. The company has really diversified pricing to compete with cheaper Android tablets.
Now iPad Mini 3 gets a very brief discussion (strangely). Pre-orders begin tomorrow for the new iPads, with shipping next week.
Schiller is talking about Macs now. As expected he announces the new iMac with Retina display: 27-inch display with 14.7 million pixels. He says it represents the world’s highest resolution display. They’re calling it: “Retina 5K display.” It has higher pixel density than 4K HD TVs.
Now we get to see another video to promote the new iMac display. “It goes way beyond HD.”
The internal specs have all be upgraded and are faster. The price is $2,499. It ships today. The full iMac desktop lineup price range is $1,099 to $2,499 depending on screen size and quality.
The iMac Mini is also being upgraded. It’s $100 cheaper than last year and starts at $499.
Tim Cook returns to the stage to reiterate that this is the strongest Apple product lineup in the company’s history. All the products address different situations and use cases. We see a video showing those different scenarios.
Cook: “These incredible products and the ecosystem that supports them is something only Apple can create.” He emphasizes that, because Apple does both hardware and software, it can create a better user experience than its competitors.