Apple made a big splash last month with their September event (which I covered both before and after), and now they’re hoping to do the same with their second major event of the fall. Last Thursday, Apple had their October event, during which we saw updates to their iPad and Mac lines. There weren’t many big surprises at this event; most of the new advances were pretty much expected. Still, Apple has released some cool new hardware and software that I’m excited about.
Apple unveiled the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 on Thursday. The iPad Air 2 is slightly lighter and thinner than the iPad Air, but the iPad Mini 3 has the same dimensions as the Mini 2. The iPad Air 2 also has a new processor chip and several camera improvements, but the iPad Mini 3 remains the same as the 2nd generation in both those respects. This seems odd to me, but I guess the full-size iPad has higher sales, so Apple pays more attention to it. Both new iPads do, however, include Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint reader. They also both come in the new color gold (similar to the iPhone), in addition to the silver and Space Gray models. One other interesting note: Apple will continue to sell the original iPad Mini for $249. When this model first launched two years ago, it started at $329. Apple was widely criticized for not offering a $200 or $250 model, but they stuck to their guns. Last Black Friday, we saw original iPad Minis going for around $200, but now there’s finally a $250 iPad that doesn’t require braving Black Friday.
Apple unveiled several new Mac models on Thursday, including an iMac with a Retina 5K display, which has a 5120 x 2880 resolution (to put it into perspective, 1080p HD is 1920 x 1080, and 4K is 3840 x 2160). There was also a new Mac Mini, with a reduced (but still high) starting price of $499. The new version of the Mac’s operating system, OS X Yosemite, was available to download the same day as the event. This surprised me; I didn’t think Yosemite would be available for another 7-10 days. You can be sure that next week I will have a review of this new operating system.
Apple also announced iOS 8.1 on Thursday. This is the next update to Apple’s mobile operating system, and it will be available Monday. The update will include some new photo features, in addition to one old one: the “Camera Roll” photo album is back (it was replaced with “Recently Added” in iOS 8.0). Apple says that it has listened to user feedback from iOS 8 and used it to help create iOS 8.1.
Apple Pay was announced last month, but we weren’t told exactly when it would be released. Now we finally have an official date: Apple Pay will launch alongside iOS 8.1 this Monday, October 20.
That’s about it. The October event is never quite as big for Apple as the September event is, since the iPhone is a much more pervasive product than the iPad or Mac. Still, I’m excited about what I saw at this event. I’m most excited about OS X Yosemite, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. As a general rule, I usually get more excited about software updates from Apple, as opposed to hardware updates. The new iPads are cool and everything, but updating my OS is free; updating my iPad would cost me $500. ••