After months of rumors and speculation the new iPads have finally arrived! While there may not have been many mind-blowing surprises or startling revelations (other than the announcement that Mavericks will be available for FREE and compatible with computers going back as far as 2007 models), at least not for those of us who follow the ebb and flow of the Apple rumor mill. Nonetheless today’s event reminded us once again why Apple has the deserved reputation of creating the best tablets and computers on the market.
An Incremental Update, or Exactly What Steve Jobs Would Have Done?
While many may consider the latest crop of iPads an incremental update to the product line, I’d have to say that the new iPads are exactly what Apple needed to bring to the table to remain dominant in what has become an ever more competitive field. As I've pointed out before, not every Apple event can be as revolutionary as the one back in 2007 where we witnessedSteve Jobs introducingf one of the most game changing technological devices in history, the original iPhone. It is impossible to deny the impact he had on our world with first the iPhone, and not long after, the original iPad. With the latest iterations to the iPad product line Apple’s legacy continues to evolve in a pattern I think Jobs would not only would approve of, but one I suspect he also helped orchestrate prior to his death. With the latest batch of iPads we are seeing the evolution and refinement of an already stellar product from the leading manufacturer of tablets in the world.
The iPad Air is Here!
With a completely redesigned form factor, the new iPad Air is, on the outside, a doppelgänger of the original, hugely successful iPad mini. Internally however, the new iPad Air keeps pace with the latest iPhone 5S with its impressive specs. The iPad Air certainly is a beautifully elegant maturation of the previous iPad design.
5 Noteworthy Features of the iPad Air:
- An overall smaller iDevice. At 7.5mm the iPad Air is 20 percent thinner than its predecessor, with a 43 percent thinner bezel.
- Weighing in at 1lb, it is a half-pound lighter than the iPad 4! The iPad Air is the lightest full-size tablet in the world.
- Pricing starts at $499 and $629 respectively, for the 16GB Wi-Fi and Cellular models.
- Improved FaceTime camera.
- 64-bit chip, M7 motion coprocessor and advanced connectivity capabilities make this iPad at least twice as powerful as the iPad 4 in every respect except for battery life, which remains pretty much the same.
The iPad mini with Retina Display
Apple’s stunning Retina display has finally made its way to the new iPad mini. In a move that brings the iPad mini up to speed with the rest of the current iDevice line, the mini now shows off the same stunning graphics that all iPhones since the iPhone 4 and all iPads since the iPad 3. This not only makes the mini a tantalizing upgrade to the original, it also levels the playing field between the mini and its competition from the likes of Google, Windows, and Samsung tablets of a similar size, many of which already sport retina-caliber displays.
5 Noteworthy Features iPad mini with Retina Display:
- The iPad mini gets Retina Display! Woohoo!
- The new mini is four times faster at CPU tasks and a whopping eight times faster at graphics tasks.
- Now sports an A7 chip like the rest of Apple's top-of-the-line iDevices.
- Two times faster Wi-Fi.
- Retains the form factor of the previous generation iPad mini, meaning there are lots of great protective case options already available.
Three Things I Missed That I Hoped I'd See!
- Gold. The rumor was that there would be a Kardashian iPad too! That would have been exciting, as there would have been a wider variety of color choices as the invite to today's event hinted at.
- Someday Apple will get around to making the iPad equivalent of the iPhone 5c, with it's respectable plastic shell and colorful options. That day wasn't today.
- No improved rear cameras on new iPads! I was keeping my fingers crossed for a rear camera that was on par with the iPhone 5s. A flash would have been an awesome inclusion in the new models too.
An Apple October Tradition?
These October iPad events, following on the heels of Apple’s September iPhone events are becoming a pattern I am growing quite fond of. It's a classic one-two punch; after months of product leaks, conjecture, and media anticipation, Apple’s September and October events successfuly capture the public’s eye and secure a strong and dominant market position heading into the all-important holiday buying season. Whether or not this pattern will continue to be Apple’s strategy next year is anybody’s guess (I kinda hope not since I'm one of the folks eagerly awaiting Apple’s rumored, larger iPhone “phablet” and I would love to get my hands on one before next September!) it is nonetheless, a strategy that seems to work well for Apple and fits in with their less-is-more, take-your-time approach to all things. It also gives time for public anticipation and suspense to build for next year’s events; and likewise, the schedule seems to fit well with consumer spending and buying patterns.
Despite the naysayers in the media and the nervous shareholders and market analysts who wonder if Apple has lost some if its mojo, I feel that Apple has continued to demonstrate the meticulous attention to detail in the production of what are arguably the highest quality tech products on the market. Kudos to Apple on another successful October media event! I have a feeling, that just as the iPhone 5s has gone on to set new iPhone sales records for Apple, the new iPad mini and the iPad Air will also dominate holiday tablet sales and break Apple’s own, already remarkable, sales record. And I think it is fabulous that Apple is keeping both the original iPad mini (not such a surprise) as well as the much older iPad 2 (a bit of a surprise, considering its age) in its inventory and at wonderfully discounted prices. Both the original iPad mini and the iPad 2 will now only cost $299 (WOW!), which will only boost iPad sales even further this holiday season and help get an iPad into far more hands around the world.
Stay tuned to iPhone Life for continued coverage of Apple's new tablets and all the details on these sweet new iDevices...