Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tech Time ::: Apple Keynote, October 22

My my my, did Apple unveil quite a lot on October 22! I am quite a bit behind on my reporting!

I was tuning in mostly to learn about the Mac Pro and Macbook Pro as I will soon be looking for a newer model, preferably laptop this time, though, I will admit, the looks-kinda-like-an-ashtray Mac Pro is awfully compelling in terms of power.  But Apple certainly opened the floodgates on product announcements.

This event brought us the Mac Pro, the Macbook Pro, OSX Mavericks--for FREE, iWork and iLife--again FREE (with purchase of new device) and new iPads, which frankly was the worst kept secret since the iPhone keynote.

The Mac Pro, with the ability to run multiple 4K monitors, will be available in December, for a painful starting price of $2,999, base model.  This $2,999 base model Mac Pro will come starting with a 3.7HGz quad-core Xeon processor, (you can get a 3.5GHz 6-Core for $3,999), 12GB DRAM (configurable up to 64GB!!!) 2GB VRAM each, and a 256GB SSD (configurable up to 1TB). Apple.com has all the specs. All of these while still being EnergyStar-rated, even! I dare even configure one of my own when that's available to do, because I'll probably keel over.
Photo: Apple

The Macbook Pro features the Haswell chip that was released with the MacBook Air this past summer, as well as a better battery life. Also included is a retina screen, Thunderbolt 2, and 802.11ac WIFI. A full list of specs can be found on Apple's product page, where a 13" and 15" model are also available for sale. The 13" model starts at $1,299 (base model) and the 15" model starts at $1,999 (base model). Get specs and configure your own, here.

OSX.9 Mavericks was released, for free, as well. Featuring iCloud Keychain, an iCloud based "1Password-like" feature that backs up your logins and sensitive information to your iCloud account, and is supposedly information not made available to Apple, is one of the features. I have yet to start messing with that as I am quite pleased with 1Password.  

Other features include Finder Tabs (sweet!), an improved Calendar app, updated Safari app, app and web notifications (meh) and significant energy saving improvements.  Along with all this freeness, all new Macs and iOS devices get the new iLife and iWork for FREE! While I have found that iWork doesn't entirely replace MSOffice in some instances, it's a worthwhile replacement for those who don't always use Word or Excel or Powerpoint.

A twist on the naming conventions they've adopted, instead of calling the iPad 5 the iPad5, Apple released it as the iPad Air, which is designed 20% thinner than the iPad 4 at a mere 7.5mm thick! It's also only 1lb. The bezel is thinner as well.  The iPad air comes equipped with the great Retina display we expect, as well as the A7 and M7 chips, like the iPhone 5S included, as well as 5MP camera capable of 1080p HD video and a better FaceTime camera. It, however, does NOT have the TouchID feature, which I think surprised many people, myself included. I don't know how well that will go over in the free market...but since there were lineups already for this thing before it launched Friday...I'd say that most people are going to be happy just the same!

The iPad Air will be available in "Silver" and "Space Gray", taking color naming from the iPhone5S as well, with pricing starting at $499 for the WIFI only versions, and $629 for the LTE+WIFI versions (meaning, they use cellular signal and need to be on your cell plan but will work anywhere you can get a signal, vs just on wifi.)

Photo: BGR

Also announced was the iPad Mini 2 with Retina, a refreshed iPad Mini with a Retina display, with the same features as the iPad air, just in a smaller size. Greater selection so you can choose "great display" or "better price" in either size offering. Pricing for the new iPad Mini with Retina will start at $399 for the WIFI option, and the iPad Mini with "regular display" will start at $299, again WIFI only option. Both do come with LTE+WIFI, $429 for the iPad Mini original, $529 for the iPad Mini Retina.

Anything catching your eye? Those MacBook Pros and Mac Pros have my full attention!  For those that missed it, you can watch the entire event here

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