Gadgets

Apple debuts new MacBook, iMac, iPad 4 and iPad mini (live blog)

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Apple’s October Surprise

Apple event logo
We expected Apple to announce an iPad mini today, and we got it. What we didn’t expect was the sheer number of new products the company unveiled. Here’s a rundown of the news.

Apple announced a slew of new products at today’s iPad mini event and guess what — there was an iPad mini after all! Not to mention, a revamped iPad, a new iMac, Mac mini, and the release of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Yeah, that’s a lot for one announcement.

Tim Cook explained it as a “truly prolific” year for Apple, while Apple’s senior vice president of marketing Phil Schiller said he is amazed at the pace at while the team at Apple works.

Check out all of the announcements — and new metrics on existing products — in our live blog below.


[11:15am PT]Tim thanks the team at Apple, and the event is over.

tim cook ipad mini


[11:12am PT]Tim Cook is back on stage.

“We told you we’d deliver amazing innovation this year, and I hope you’ll agree,” he says.

This year Apple introduced iOS 6 with hundreds of new features, OS X Mountain Lion, new iPod Touch, new iPhone, refreshed the entire lineup of notebooks, and reinvented the 13-inch MacBook with Retina, thin and gorgeous iMac, earlier the iPad 3, and now replaced it with the 4th gen iPad, and added an iPad Mini.

“It’s been an incredible year … a truly prolific year of innovation for Apple,” says Cook. “We hope you love these products as much as we’ve loved creating them.”


[11:10am PT]iPad line-up

ipad lineup


[11:07am PT]5000 magazines and newspapers in Newstand

Ive: “We went back to the very beginning … to get a product that was a concentration of, not a reduction from, the iPad”

Mini is built with Apple’s unibody process — in two parts. Mini also has a diamond-cut chamfer, like iPhone 5.

New smart cover for iPad mini has no hinge this time.

Every part is custom-designed

Ive says it’s “incredibly thin and light … the result is an extraordinary iPad.”

Phil Schiller is back on stage after the video.

ipad mini covers

It starts at 16GB of memory, $329 for WIFI
$429 for 32GB
$529 for 64Gb

Pre-order starts on Friday this week for WiFi versions. In two weeks you’ll be able to pre-order your cellular versions.

It will be available in around 40-50 countries in the initial launch.

Now we’re seeing the TV commercial. The iPad and the iPad mini are dueling pianos. There’s only music, it’s pretty funny.


[11:04am PT]

ipad mini again

It has a 5MP iSight camera on the back, 1080P HD video. It also has LTE capabilities and faster WiFi.

The new lighting connector is built in, of course, and it also has 10 hours of battery life.

That seems to be apple standard … wish we’d get it in a phone.

Now we watch an iPad mini video:

Jony Ive: “Take all of the amazing things you can do with an iPad, and make it possible in a smaller size.”


[10:56am PT]The new iPad mini

ipad mini

Screen size? Apple wanted an iPad that developers would not have to change their apps for. It’s 7.9-inches on the diagonal versus 9.7-inches for a regular iPad.
Pixels are exactly the same, 1024 x 768 pixels.

“That means all the software created for iPad just works on iPad mini without change.”

Phil waxes on about how amazing it is for everything … work, camera, magazines, iLife apps: “It is so much fun to sit an play GarageBand on this iPad.”

There are 275,000 apps for it.

“Others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad, and they’ve failed,” said Schiller.

He goes on to diss Android mini tablets.

Schiller says Apple’s bezel is aluminum, “theirs” is plastic and thicker. And their products are thicker and heavier.

Their screen is 7-inches, ours is 7.9-inches — that’s eight fewer square inches.
The iPad mini is actually over a third larger display than a -inch Android tablet.

Phil shows surfing on the Android versus the iPad Mini. Schiller says when you remove the Chrome browwer and “controls” there’s 50% more surfing space, a two-thirds larger screen to surf the web.

“There is a gigantic difference between these products,” he says.

Phil is shilling Yelp, eBay, Vimeo, and Pandora, showing the experience versus the Android tablet.

Inside iPad mini:

It’s equal to or better than iPad 2, says Schiller. It has an A5 chip, a dual-core, and FaceTime HD camera on the front.


[10:51am PT]

Schiller says we have an iPad mini!

“What can you do with this that you can’t do with the previous? Hold it in your hand,” says Schiller.

It has chamfered edges like the iPhone 5, is very thin from every angle.

Schiller brings one out on stage.

“This iPad mini is just 7.2 millimeters thin … a quarter thinner than the previous iPad,” says Schiller.

It’s .69 pounds, and 60 percent lighter than previous iPad. Schiller: “Light as a pad of paper, as thick as a pencil.”

It comes in black and white.


[10:50am PT]Phil Schiller is back up on the stage.

ipad 4 gen

He’s announced the “fourth generation iPad.”

The pace the team is at is amazing, Phil says. “It is a powerhouse.”

a6x

It has an A6x chip gives it even faster performance, doubles the performance for CPU tasks, and double’s graphics performance.

New ISP chip (image processing), 10-hour battery life still, and a new Facetime HD camera with 720P
Now has LTE with greatly expanded coverage.

Lots of carriers, including Sprint.

Two times faster WiFi now, and updated to the new Lightning connector, compatible with other iDevices.

Apple added new cable connections — lightning to USB, HDMI, VGA, and it, of course, has a Retina display.


[10:46am PT]

iPad in business: iPad is taking the business world by storm, Cook says.

Ninety-four percent of the Fortune 500 is now testing or deploying iPads and Apple is seeing similar success in small business.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled,” says Cook.“But we know we’re just getting started.”


[10:44am PT]

Schools have found the iPad to be incredibly helpful for learning. An educator said: “No tech has impact the way teachers teach and students learn more profoundly.”

Earlier this year iBooks 3 was announced.

iBooks textbooks reinvented the textbook, and it’s now available for 80 percent of the US high school core curriculum. Math, Science, and more. 2,500 schools in the U.S. have classrooms with iBooks textbooks.

Today we’re announcing the latest version of iBook software. There are new templates, and publishers can now provide their own fonts. Publishers can also insert mathematical formulas into their books, which they couldn’t do before.

Books can be updated just like apps can be updated now, and it’s available today as a free download on the Mac app store.


[10:41am PT]

Tim Cook is back on stage. Looks like it’s iPad time.

“Today I’m thrilled to tell you that two weeks ago we sold our 100th million iPad,” said Cook.

That’s 100 million in just two and a half years — this is unprecedented for a new product in a new category.

Apple sold more iPads in the June quarter than any PC manufacture sold of their entire PC line, according to Cook.

Tablet traffic share – iPad accounts for over 90 percent of web traffic from tablets

“People love their iPads,” said Cook.


[10:40am PT]Phil Schiller wants to talk about storage … big hard drives for high capacity, or Flash for speed.

Now, a third option: Apple Fusion Drive.

It’s 128 GB of Flash storage, plus your choice of a 1 or 3TB HDD, fused into a single volume.

You can choose a Fusion drive when you order your iMac. When you use your computer, Mac OS X will automatically move ofte-used apps and data to Flash. Transparent to the user.

Allows you to import photos up to 3.5X faster than a standard drive — the speed of Flash, and the size of a hard drive.

Can get an optical drive too, which is a separate accessory, but Schiller provided no pricing there.

Small iMac will run you $1299. That comes with 1TB HDD, 8GB RAM, 2.7 GHZ.
These start shipping next month, in November.

The 27-inch is $1799, with a faster processor. It’s more energy-efficient with 50 percent less power.


[10:37am PT]Now we have a new iMac!

inside imac

One more Mac: The iMac. “The best all in one in the industry”
It’s the #1 desktop model in the US, Schiller says.
The line started in 1998 with Bondi blue iMac
“This really re-launched all of our products.”
“We’ve had 7 generations of iMac.”

The next-gen iMac, today, is coming up on screen: It has a super-thin display. Looks like one slab of aluminum. There’s applause, and I hear someone behind me in the crowd say “that’s awesome.”

It’s very, very, very thin.

imac 3

Now there’s sustained applause.

Its face has edge-to-edge glass.

Schiller is revealing one on-stage. He calls it “The most beautiful Mac we’ve ever made. There’s an entire computer in there!”

That edge is 5MM thick, which is 80% thinner than the previous iMac. Formerly, this edge was welded. Now it is “friction-stir-welding.”

Schiller says: “Molecules are merged together to make one single piece that is super-strong and nearly seamless.”

He shows the previous generation, it looks fat by comparison. (I bet there’s no optical drive in the new one –my guess.)
The previous gen had an air gap between display and glass – 2mm — now it’s gone

It’s 45% thinner. They removed the optical drive – confirmed. Re-engineered all components

Will come in 21.5 “ and 27” display models, with 1920 x1080 and 2569×1440 resolutions. Fully laminated. Text and graphics look like they’re right on the glass

The anti-reflective coating is put on through a “plasma deposition process” that produces 75 % less reflection than previous generation.

Includes a FaceTime HD camera with dual microphones, and is 8 pounds lighter.

Inside, there’s an Intel quad-core i5 or i7, and for storage, the option of a 3TB hard drive or 768 GB Flash drive.


[10:33am PT]

Mac Mini is now .. “You knew there would be something called Mini in this presentation!” laughed Schiller.

It has a new look, dual or quad core Intel i5 or i7, Intel graphics 4000, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, and is $599.

“A lot of our customers use it as a server,” said Schiller.

For the mini with two 1TB drives it will cost you $999.

“Still the worlds’ most energy-efficent desktop.” It sucks up only 11 watts when idle.


[10:27am PT]More on the 13-inch Mac Book Pro:

There are lots of Retina Mac Apps available in the App Store today.

It has rich color, deep blacks, 20 percent higher contract ratio, 75 percet reduced reflection, and is very bright.

Schiller says it’s better for photographers. Because there are more pixels, you can see photos at near-native size.

It also has:

A Facetime HD camera
Dual mics for stereo
Black-lit keyboard
Seven-hour battery
Intel dual core i5 or i7
Intel HD Graphics 4000
All flash storage, with up to 768GB storage

Power Nap feature — the notebook will still update, back up, and syncing contacts even while it is asleep.

It is $1699 for 2.5 GHz and 8GB RAM, 128GB Flash memory.
It starts shipping today!

Schiller says it’s environmentally friendly, Energy Star 5.2
It’s PVC free, mercury free, EPEAT Gold

“[It] joins the 15-inch as the only two notebooks in the industry with retina display,” says Schiller. “Best line of portables we have ever offered.”


[10:22am PT]New 13-inch MacBook pro!

macbook pro side versus old macbook pro

It’s .75-inches thin, 3.57 pounds, and is 20 percent thinner than previous 13-inch Macbook Pros.

“[It’s the] lightest MacBook Pro ever,” says Schiller.

It has a MagSafe 2, and two thunderbolt ports with an HDMI port and SD card reader as well.

Obviously, it also comes complete with the Retina display.

It’s actually 13.3-inches and has a 2560 x 1600 pixels screen. That’s four times as many pixels as the previous generation — 4,096,000 million pixels in total.

“[It has the] second highest resolution of any notebook in the world,” says Schiller.


[10:18am PT]Now we’re talking about the Mac.

Mac grew 15 percent over the last year, PC only 2%, “this is absolutely incredible,” says Cook.

Phil Schiller coming up to say, “today is a very big day with the Mac.”

Schiller explains that, a few months ago, Apple announced MacBook Pro with Retina display.

“Our number one selling notebook is the 13” MacBook pro,” says Schiller. He says it’s small but powerful.


[10:14am PT]New iBooks!

ibooks

iBooks is “one of most popular apps in the store,” says Cook, while pacing the stage back and forth.

There are over 1.5 million books on the store now and “customers have now downloaded over 400 million of them since the inception of the store.”

“Today we’re announcing a new version of iBooks,” says Cook. It has new reading options, continuous scrolling, and is better integrated with iCloud. All books show on bookshelf and it syncs with all devices. You can share to Twitter, Facebook, email, and it supports over 40 languages. This includes Korean, Chinese, and Japanese.

“Pages turn right to the left, just as you would expect — if your Japanese,” jokes Cook.

The crowd laughs.


[10:10am PT]We’re just doing metrics now, it seems.

There are 160 million Game Center accounts.

Seventy million photos have ben shared with friends and family through photo streams.

Last month there were 700 million apps in the App Store. There are 275,000 available iPad apps. And those numbers are growing, says Cook.

NEW APP STORE MILESTONE: People have downloaded 35 billion apps from the App Store to date! Cook calls this “jaw-dropping.”

And Apple has “paid out 6.5 billion dollars to developers.”


[10:08am PT]There are 200 million devices running on iOS 6, which Cook says is the “fastest upgrade rate of any software device.”

Now let’s talk iCloud.

“Customers have placed 125 million documentss in the cloud in the last year,” says Cook. And in terms of iMessage, “Customers have sent 300 billion messages…sending at 28,000 per second.”


[10:07am PT]

Video shows happy customers connecting to iCloud and a bunch of hero shots of people with their iPhones.

The video is over.

“At the same time we announced iPhone 5 last month, we announced two amazing iPods,” says Tim Cook. “Sales are fantastic.”

So far Apple has sold three million iPod touches.


[10:04am PT] Tim Cook: “Thank you for joining us. We have some really exciting things to show you.”

First we’re talking about the iPhone5
“Customers love it,” says Cook. “We sold out the first weekend — more than five million units.”

That’s the most iPhones ever sold in an opening weekend.

Now we’re watching a video of the iPhone launch.


[10:01am PT]Tim Cook just walked on stage, there’s lots of applause.


[9:58am PT] We count about 25 different broadcast media — full-on TV camera and crew style — here. Apparently, this event is kind of a big deal.

Apple event


[9:54am PT] The place is still bedlam, but starting to settle down. Most press and special guests are now in their seats.

Five minutes to go!

apple event


[9:49am PT] We’re in! It’s a grand old theater, with beautiful detailing on the ceiling and walls. Smaller stage than your usual Apple event, and the auditorium has room for perhaps 500 people.

apple event


[9:36am PT] Okay, this is seriously human sandwich time. The press is all jammed up, more than most Apple events. Heaven help anyone who is claustrophobic.


[9:27am PT] Looks like we’ll be moving into the theater soon!

Apple crowd


[9:08am PT] We’re going through security now.

“Guests” in limos are pulling up and walking right in. The lowly plebeian media are obediently waiting in line.

Now they are feeding us. That makes the press more tame and happy, I guess. Still not in the actual event space.


[8:50am PT]

[Photo credit: Dean Takahashi]


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