iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and New iMacs Announced

Apple Apple showed off new iPads on Thursday morning, confirming the release of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 at an event on the company?s campus, while adding new iMacs and a Mac Mini.

?What do you do when you make the best tablet in the world? How do you make it better?? Apple CEO Tim Cook asked before airing a video showing off the new iPad Air 2, which emphasized the thinness of the tablet.

The iPad Air 2 will be 18 percent thinner than its predecessor, which marketing exec Phil Schiller said ?makes it the world?s thinnest tablet.? It will also include the fingerprint-scanning TouchID system and a new A8X chip made especially for the iPad Air, which will increase speed from last year?s version by 40 percent and make it 180 times faster than the original iPad, Schiller said after taking the stage from Cook. Battery life will also increase to 10 hours, and the tablet will be offered in gold, a color that has proven popular on iPhones.

Schiller also briefly mentioned the new iPad Mini 3, which will receive similar upgrades to the iPad Air 2, including TouchID.

The iPad Air 2 will start at $499, with the top-of-the line version with cellular connectivity going for $829. The iPad Mini 3 starts at $399, and last year?s models ? which had the same pricing scheme ? will have $100 chopped off their prices. The original iPad Mini will now sell with a starting price of $249. Pre-orders for the new tablets begin Friday, and they will begin to ship at the end of next week, Schiller said.

Schiller then moved on new developments in Apple?s Mac personal computers, starting with an iMac that includes the high-resolution Retina display that has already made it into Apple?s mobile devices.

?There has never been a desktop display like this,? Schiller said.

The new iMac?s screen will have seven times more pixels than a high-definition television and 67 percent more than the new 4K super-high-definition TVs, but still cut energy usage 30 percent from the previous version, Schiller said.

The new iMac will start at $2,499, with shipments beginning today.

Schiller also showed off a new Mac Mini, a popular beginner Mac that had not been updated in two years. The new Mac Mini will be upgraded and also receive a $100 price cut, with new ones starting at $499, though customers still must buy a monitor and other peripherals to connect to the small PC.

Cook kicked off the event with updates on products the tech giant showed off in September. After praising Apple?s iPhone launch, calling it the biggest initial sales for the smartphones ?by a lot,? Cook touted the tech giant?s new Apple Pay payments technology, announcing that the payments option will launch Monday.

?Just since last month, we have signed another 500 banks? to support the mobile payments technology, Cook announced.

Cook also said that WatchKit, software for developers hoping to create apps for the new Apple Watch, will be released in November; the smartwatches will go on sale in early 2015.

Software executive Craig Federighi then took the stage and touted Apple?s refreshed operating systems, iOS 8.1 and OS X Yosemite. Federighi said the popular ?Camera Roll? feature will be restored in iOS 8.1, and showed off redesigned software that will launch along with Yosemite, which launches Thursday for free in the App Store. iOS 8.1 will launch Monday, Federighi said.

Source: MCT Information Services