Apple keynote announces iPad Air, free apps

iPad-Air.jpg

Image Credit: Apple

Break out your holiday wish list: A new iPad, the iPad Air, is here.

That was the biggest revelation during today’s 90-minute Apple presentation by CEO Tim Cook and other associates. Since Apple launched the iPad three and a half years ago, 170 million iPads have been sold. “iPad is used over four times more than all those other tablets put together,” Apple claimed today. The new iPad Air will have a 9.7-inch retina display, 43 percent thinner bezel than the previous version, and weigh just 1 pound. It also contains the A7 chip, which just launched with the iPhone 5S. Retailing for $499, it’ll join others in the iPad family, including an updated iPad Mini (now with retina display!) and the original iPad Mini, which will stay on the market for just $299, helping Apple compete with lower-priced tablets from other makers.

The other big news coming out of California is more information about OS X Mavericks, which is not a callback to the 2008 election, but is the newest software upgrade for Macs, available today. Excitingly, the Apple team spoke about how they wanted to get rid of the mind-set that software upgrades should cost money — meaning that Mavericks is free, available today, and supported on devices as old as the 2007 iMac/MacBook Pro. Speaking of MacBook Pros, both the 13-inch and 15-inch are seeing a $200 price drop.

Customers may have initially taken to social media to complain, but Cook touted rave reviews for iOS 7, the operating system that features some of the biggest advances since the original OS. In the presentation, the team noted that already 64 percent of compatible devices are running iOS 7. The company also talked up the advantages of the always-improving iCloud.

“It’s the biggest day ever for apps,” Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue declared as he announced more upgrades, including that iWork for iCloud now features Collaboration. Click the Share button, and you can edit the same document at the same time.

While the heavily watched presentation/live-action commercial was well-planned, there were a few mishaps that quickly made tech headlines — and became popular trending topics on Twitter. When Phil Schiller discussed how he loved watching The Black Knight trilogy on his Mac, he clearly meant the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight films, not the Martin Lawrence comedy. Naturally, fanboys — with lots of overlap in the tech community — were not impressed.

Speaking of pop culture, perhaps most excitingly for some musically inclined tech fans, Glee star Darren Criss was tweeting right alongside other tech junkies throughout the event — and, like many reporters, seemed happy that the big takeaway was Apple’s emphasis on free software and upgrades, including updates to all apps associated with iLife and iWork that are now free with the purchase of any new Mac or iOS device.

We couldn’t agree more.


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