Apple CEO Tim Cook took to a California stage Tuesday to announce the company’s latest big projects: new versions of its MacBook computer line, a new version of its popular iPad tablet and a new version of its iBooks software.
“We have some very fond memories here,” Cook said, “and we’re going to create a few more today.”
Cook said as of two weeks ago Apple sold its 100 millionth iPad since the device was released 21/2 years ago. He said iPad accounts for 91 percent of web traffic on tablets.
Apple may want to get ready for some more sales.
Tuesday, Cook said “we’re not taking our foot of the gas,” and the company showed off a new 4th generation iPad, released about six months after the third gen.
It also introduced the much anticipated iPad Mini, beginning at $329.
First the fourth gen iPad.
The new iPad runs a new A6 chip that doubles performances over the chip in what is iPad 3. iPad 4 will have 10 hours of battery life and will have a front facing HD FaceTime camera and greatly expanded LTE support in the LTE versions.
The U.S. will get a Sprint version, for example.
Apple says WiFi is two-times faster and it uses the new Lightning connector that was debuted in iPhone 5.
It comes in black and white and comes in 16 gigs WiFi for $499 and $629 for 16 gigs with cellular. There are also 32 gig and 64 gig models, just as before.
The Mini is a new design. The iPad Mini is 7.9 inches on the screen. It run all software on iPad. Developers won’t need to change their designs. Apple said the display is a third larger than competing 7-inch tablets, like the Google Nexus. In portrait mode, Apple said its 49 percent larger is usable screen space on webpage. In landscape it’s 67 percent larger.
The Mini is 7.2 mm think or 23 percent thinner than the fourth gen iPad. Apple said it weights 0.68 pounds, 50 percent lighter than fourth gen iPad. It’s as thin as pencil and light as a pad of paper.
It comes in black and white.
The Mini is more powerful than the iPad 2. It runs an A5 chip, an HD facetime camera and a 5 MP iSight camera. It’s got same ultrafast wireless in the 4th gen full size iPad. It’s got a Lightning connector. And it’s got 10 hours of battery life.
Apple also has a new SmartCover for iPad Mini. The cases come in blue, green, pink, gray
So what’s it cost?
It’s $329 for 16 gigabytes Wi-Fi or $429 (32 gigs) or $529 (64) gigs. For cellular iPad Mini, pricing is $459, $559 and $659.
Pre-orders begin Oct. 26. WiFi versions ship Nov. 2. Two weeks later, the cellular versions will ship.
13-INCH MACBOOK PRO
The 13-inch MacBook Pro is the No. 1 selling Apple computer, the company said, and it’s adding a new MacBook Pro 13-inch model that is 0.75 inches thin. It’s 20 percent thinner than the previous model and the new model weights 3.75 pounds, about a full pound lighter than its older brother.
It doesn’t have a built-in DVD player, but does include the Retina Display that Apple has added to the 15-inch MacBook and similar to what is found on the latest iPhone and 10-inch iPad models.
Apple said the new 13-inch MacBook pro has almost twice as many pixels as an HDTV. It’s also built to reduce glare by 75 percent.
There is a FaceTime HD camera on the front, dual microphones and speakers on either side of the machine.
Customers can get Intel dual-core i5 or i7 Ivy Bridge processors and up to 7 hours of battery life. Storage is all flash based which will make the computer much faster. Customers can order to up 768 gigs of flash storage.
What’s it cost? It starts at $1,699, about $500 over the current minimum for the 13-inch model. Why the increase? Retina, baby. MacBook Air starts at $999 and older gen MacBrook Pros will remain starting at $1,199.
A new MacMini was also introduced. It’s Apple’s cheapest computer and doesn’t come with a display. New Ivy Bridge processors and up to 16 gigs of memory and up to 1TB hard drive. Customers can also order up to 256 gigs of Flash Drive.
It starts at $599. There is a server model for $999 and they start shipping today.
The new version of Apple’s one-piece computer is noticeably thinner. Apple said its 5 mm thin or 80 percent thinner than the previous model. Apple used a tech called “Friction Stir Welding” to make two pieces that make the iMac seem like a seamless one-piece construction.
It comes in 21.5 and 27-inch models but do not include Retina Displays. Apple said by making the screen fully laminated, the text sits much closer to the surface and makes text and other items clearer. Apple also said the new iMacs have 75 percent less reflection.
There’s a 720P HD FaceTime camera, dual mics and better stereo sound. It’s also eight pounds lighter than previous gen.
Customers can get up to 3 TB hard drive or 768 gigs of flash memory. You can also get up to 32 gigs of memory, twice as much as before.
The iMac and Mac Mini also offer a 128 gig flash storage fusion drive and you can a 1 TB or 3 TB hard drive. This drive offers faster read and write times. You can even choose which apps to store on the flash side when you want things to run faster.
Apple said the new drive offers very close to the performance of a standard flash drive but gives customers the extra storage they want.
There’s no built-in DVD burner, but an outboard one is offered.
Cost? Base price is $1,299 for 21.5 inch and the 27 inch version is $1,799.
iBooks, a free download in the App Store, now adds continuous scrolling and you can share quotes from books and share via Facebook or Twitter. Books are now available in Korean, Chinese, Japanese.
Cook said the Mac computer line continues to gain market share. Cook said the Mac has outgrown the PC market for six years, calling it the No. 1 desktop and the No. 1 notebook in the United States.
— Cook said iBooks textbooks are available for 80 percent of U.S. high school core curriculum, from math to science to history. They appear in more than 2,500 U.S. classrooms.
— A new free version iBooks Author was announced that allows users to render math expressions into bookss and multi-touch widgets.
— Cook began the presentation talking about the new iPhone 5.
“We sold out the first weekend, selling more than five million units,” Cook said. “This is the most iPhones ever sold in the opening weekend and the most phones ever sold in an opening weekend.”
— Cook said newly introduced iPods have also done well. Apple has sold more than three million new iPods and iPod Touches.
— In one month, 200 million Apple mobile devices are using its new iOS6 mobile operating system. Cook said it’s the fastest upgrade rate for any software in history that his company was aware of.
— Cook said Apple customers are sending 28,000 iMessages per second. iMessage is an Apple device to Apple device messaging system that works similarly to texting but also allows easy sharing of videos and photos and allows users to send and receive messages from any Apple device, including MacBooks and desktop Macs.
— Cook said there are more now more than 275,000 iPad apps and more than 700,000 apps in the App Store total. Customers, he said, have downloaded 35 billion apps. He added there are more than 1.5 million books in the iBooks store and customers have downloaded 400 million iBooks.