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Today's event showcasing two new iPads (alongside an iMac and Mac Mini) came and went without many unexpected revelations. This was in part due to the constant leaks and incessant rumors that seem to be everywhere prior to Apple's press events.
Nothing Apple introduced today was truly unexpected, yet it still managed to impress in a big way. Here's a rundown of what excited us most at today's keynote.
When speculating about the iPhone 6, I postulated that Apple could do something revolutionary and make a single LTE model that worked with multiple carriers. It didn't happen, but when I purchased my (second) iPhone 6 from Radio Shack, the clerk and I discussed how the technology is already there with LTE and SIM cards, and it would make inventory so much easier. Instead of stocking AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint models, stores could just stock the single SKU. It didn't happen with the iPhone 6, but today Apple did it with the iPad Air 2!
I greatly enjoyed today's Apple event introducing the new iPads and iOS 8.1. But I didn't get what I was hoping for: a new iPad mini with all the features of the new iPad Air 2. Yes, we got a new iPad mini 3, but apparently it's the same as the previous version with the addition of Touch ID. As you can see in this comparison chart, we now have five iPad models to choose from: iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3. As is typical, the new iPads with more features have been introduced at the same price as the older models, and the price of the older models has dropped. Perhaps the biggest news is that the memory configurations of the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 now match those of the new iPhones: 16, 64, and 128 GB. That means for the 64 and 128 GB models you're paying $100 less than for a similar amount of memory in the earlier iPads. And both the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 come with a gold-colored option.
Earlier this year, when Apple's Eddy Cue said that "we've got the best product pipeline that I've seen in my 25 years at Apple," he apparently wasn't exaggerating. This year has been nothing short of spectacular for Apple, with the release of one innovative and impressive product after another. It would seem the creative spirit of Steve Jobs is alive and well in Cupertino California. As Tim Cook reiterated today, this is the "strongest lineup of products that Apple has ever had." Congratulations Mr. Cook, job well done. Now as Apple wraps up itsr last major product announcement of 2014, let's take a quick look back at what a year it's been for this powerhouse company as it proves itself to be more cutting edge and more relevant than ever.
As a former weather guy, one part of the Apple announcement today really sparked my interest. The new iPad Air 2 will include a barometer. This both excites and makes me wonder just how well this feature will be harnessed. It is likely this is the same sensor introduced in the iPhone 6, though I admit that I haven't been able to test apps leveraging the feature yet.
Once again I'm really looking forward to an announcement from Apple. Thursday's event will be live streamed and will likely introduce the next iPad Air and a new retina iMac. Beyond that, not much is known. The iPad Air 2 is expected to have Touch ID and an 8-megapixel camera. In addition, it's expected to come with the new A8 processor, which is remarkably more efficient than the previous A7, meaning the battery can be smaller while offering greater performance. The iPad Air 2 is also rumored to include an anti-reflective screen coating, which would be a nice feature. However, rumors say that the Apple is having problems producing this new type of display, which may constrain supplies of the new iPad for a while.
File this under "obvious" but it's inevitable that the next iPad will have Touch ID. After all, Apple's announcement invitation simply said "it's been way too long" and it's been too long without Apple adding that capability to the iPad, since the iPhone 5s and now iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have it. So the latest rumors out of China are not surprising, but it's nice to see a photo to make it more believable.
Apple had a lot to announce on September 9, even bringing Steve Jobs's "One More Thing" phrase out to introduce the Apple Watch. So it's understandable that updated iPads or Macs weren't discussed. However, another announcement is less than a week away on October 16.
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What's bigger than an iPhone, smaller than a MacBook, and the most anticipated Apple product since the original iPhone? On January 27, at a special invitation only event at the San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Steve Jobs announced Apple's new "magical, revolutionary product" -- the iPad. Meant to fill the gap between the laptop and phone, Jobs said it was "way better" than either. Let's take a look at it.
Thin, lightweight, and powerful
The iPad shares many hardware features with the iPhone, including an accelerometer, an orientation sensor to switch from portrait to landscape mode, solid-state memory, and the same 30-pin doc connector. Connectivity is also virtually the same, with wireless 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 EDR included on all models.
iPad runs iPhone apps!
The iPad will run a version of iPhone OS, and the new device can run virtually any app developed for the iPhone or iPod touch. Aps developed for the iPhone can run on the iPad in native resolution but is large enough to touch type on.
The larger screen not only makes familiar iPhone apps like Calendar, Mail, and Safari look stunning, it also provides screen real estate for more complex elements in the UI. For example, Calendar display a split-sreen view that describes the day's appointments on the left and shows you a color map of used time slots on the right. The split-screen view in Contacts displays you contacts list on the left and the full information for the contact you've selected on the right.
An ebook reader and more
Although not build into the iPad, Apple will offer a free app called iBooks, which will allow you to download and read books from it's new virtual bookstore. The new iBooks store will be accessed from and as easy to use as iTunes.
The ultimate media device?
The iPad is not the world's first tablet PC or the first eBook reader. Toshiba, Lenovo, Acer, and others sell Windows-based tablets, and Amazon has had considerable success with it's Kindle. But Apple thinks the iPad will reinvent the category by offering a vastly superior multi-touch interface an easy access to a wide-variety of apps and media via iTunes. Aple hopes to make the iPad the ultimate media device by leveraging it's existing assets which include over 100 million paying iTunes customers, established relationships with music and video content providers, and over 100,000 iPhone OS app developers.