Tuesday, in its third major media event of 2013, Apple took the lid off several new hardware and software products. The star of the show was the iPad, which received a major overhauls, but many other products were announced and released as well including new Mac computers, Mac OS X Mavericks, and more. This post is a summary of Apple’s Oct 22nd iPad event. Let’s take a quick look at everything Apple announced Tuesday!
OSX Mavericks – Apple gave an extensive preview of version 10.9 of Mac OS X earlier this year, but Tuesday it released the latest version of the Mac operating system into the wild. This iteration of Mac OS X, though it didn’t receive as extensive of a design overhaul as iOS did with iOS 7, introduces many performance improvements and new features that will really make it feel like a new experience.
First, Mavericks includes two new apps right out of the box: iBooks and Maps. These apps have existed in iOS for a while now, but this is their debut on OS X. iBooks is integrated with iCloud so that your digital book library automatically syncs to your Mac. iBooks also brings textbooks to the OS X so that students can study on their Macs as well. Maps brings Apple’s mapping solution, previously only available on iOS, to OSX and includes features like real-time traffic, bookmarks, local search, and flyover. You can even look a map up on your Mac and then easily send it to your iOS device so that you can receive turn by turn directions on the go.
Next, some familiar apps have received major improvements. Calendar has been updated with a look that more closely matches the flatter design of iOS 7 and has maps integration and new easier ways of navigating your calendar. Safari has received a new Shared Links view where you can quickly find links that people from Twitter and LinkedIn have sent you, a new sidebar, and massive efficiency and performance improvements.
In addition to new apps and improvements to familiar apps, Mavericks also introduces a number of new features. iCloud Keychain allows you to back you passwords up to iCloud and, with an update to iOS 7 (7.0.3), to sync them between your Mac and iOS devices. Mavericks also dramatically improves the way the OS handles multiple displays. Your dock and menu bar now appear on all displays, apps can be run in full screen mode on multiple displays, Mission Control has received improvements, and Airplay Display allows you to use your Apple TV connected HDTV as a fully functional external display. Notifications on Mavericks are now interactive. For example, you can reply to an iMessage directly in the notification window. You’ll also receive a list of notifications you missed while you were away on your Lock Screen. Finder has received colored customizable tags and you can now use tabs to navigate between different locations, much like in Safari.
Finally, Mac OS X Mavericks includes a number of under-the-hood improvements that improve overall system performance and dramatically boost the battery life of your computer.
But the biggest “killer feature” of Mac OS X Mavericks is its price. Apple has released this update to Mac OS for free, something it has never done before and will likely be a game changer in the computer world. If you have a Mac running any version of OS X from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion, you can update to Mavericks for free in the Mac App Store.
MacBook Pro – Tuesday, Apple released two new models of MacBook Pro, both with Retina Displays: a 13-inch model and a 15-inch model. The 13-inch Macbook Pro is powered by Intel’s new Haswell processor chip, which Apple debuted in its update to the Macbook Air earlier this year. Haswell processors increase performance while dramatically improving battery life, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro now boasts up to 9 hours of battery life. It includes a Thunderbolt 2 port, uses Intel’s integrated Iris Graphics, and starts at just $1299, which is actually $100 off from last year’s model. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is powered by an even newer Intel Crystalwell chip, boasts up to 8 hours of battery life, has Intel’s Iris Pro graphics, and is available starting at $1999. Apple is shipping both new models of the MacBook Pro now.
Mac Pro – A few months back, Apple announced that it was completely overhauling its professional desktop computer, the Mac Pro. It showed off its new cylindrical black design, a major departure from the aluminum box of old, and boasted about its power. Tuesday, Apple filled in more details about its new computer geared toward professionals. First, the new Mac Pro will be powered by an Intel Xeon E5 which can be configured with up to a ridiculous 12 cores. The Mac Pro will contain incredibly fast 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory. It will come with dual AMD Firepro GPUs. While Apple has all but removed the ability to get inside the Mac Pro and add internal expansion, its Thunderbolt 2 ports allow the user to tether any number of external drives and arrays to the computer. The Mac Pro can support up to three external 4K video displays. This monster of a Mac will start at $2999 and ship in December of this year.
iLife – Apple also revealed and released major updates to its iLife suite of applications. iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand were all overhauled with new features and 64-bit architecture. Apple has also made all of these applications free with the purchase of a new Mac or iOS device.
iWork – Pages, Numbers, and Keynote also received redesigns and were released for free with the purchase of any new Mac or iOS device.
iPad Air – Nearly everyone expected Apple to release an update to its full-sized iPad. Probably no one expected exactly what we got: the iPad Air. The iPad Air is so named because of its incredibly thin and light form factor. Much of its design is borrowed from the smaller iPad Mini, but while the iPad Air maintains the full-sized iPad’s 9.7 inch Retina Display, it weighs in at a diminutive 1 pound. It sports thinner bezels, Apple’s new A7 processor, 10 hour battery life, and comes in Silver & White and Space Gray & Black versions. The iPad Air starts at $499 and ships on November 1st. Apple also introduced updated Smart Covers and Smart Cases for its iPad models.
iPad Mini with Retina Display – Many people doubted that Apple would update the iPad Mini with a Retina Display this quickly because of supply chain issues with its high resolution screen. It did. The new iPad Mini has a 2048×1536 resolution which really packs the pixels in to its 7.9 inch screen. The iPad Mini matches the iPad Air in performance by including the new A7 chip and 64-bit architecture and in battery life at 10 hours. It will also ship in Silver & White and Space Gray & Black. The iPad Mini with Retina Display will start at $399 and will ship “later in November.”
Things we expected to see, but didn’t – Apple revealed many new products Tuesday but there were a few surprise omissions that many people were expecting. It was widely expected that Apple would release new Apple TV hardware, but it was nowhere to be seen. Also, Apple didn’t refresh its Mac Mini hardware. The Mac Mini is now the only Mac computer not powered by Intel’s Haswell chip (or newer) and it was also expected that Apple would update the Mac Mini with Intel’s Iris graphics. We’ll have to see if the Mac Mini sees a refresh this year or not. There were also rumors of a possible Apple smart watch, and though this rumor was a bit of a long shot it didn’t materialize.
Things we saw that we didn’t expect – Perhaps one of the most unexpected moves by Apple was that it is still selling the iPad 2 at the same price as the new iPad Mini with Retina Display ($399). Apple must be banking that the iPad 2’s larger screen size will be enough to tempt customers. The performance difference between these two models of iPad, though, is massive. The iPad 2, now nearly 3 years old, runs the same A5 chip that it’s always had, whereas the Retina iPad Mini contains the brand new A7 chip that powers the iPhone 5s. The A5 is a bit sluggish running iOS 7. That’s a high price to pay for extra screen space. Other unexpected moves by Apple were the introduction of an entirely new iPad product, the iPad Air, and the move toward making Mac OS X updates free of charge.
Overall, Tuesday’s event saw a lot of exciting product releases. Apple originally advertised the event by saying they had “a lot more to cover,” and they delivered on that promise. From new Haswell powered Retina MacBook Pros to the Mac Pro, from OS X Mavericks to the new iPad Mini and new iPad Air, Apple continues to lead the way with the innovation of great products.
For more information on all the products and releases mentioned here, check out Apple’s website. If you’d like to see the keynote check out the full stream from Apple’s website or, if you’d like a condensed version, The Verge has assembled a great 5 minute overview video here.