Prior to Tuesday's press event, Apple promised that it had "a little more" to show us. That "little more" turned out to be quite a bit, as the company released a smaller version of its iPad tablet, introduced a new generation of regular-sized iPads, and rolled out new iMac, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini models.
The iPad mini was the last in the slew of product announcements Apple made on Tuesday, but it was clearly the most anticipated. The 7.2mm-thick tablet is 23 percent thinner than a full-sized iPad and weighs in at half the weight of its predecessor. The iPad mini sports the same 1024-by-768 resolution of the iPad 2, so that existing iPad-optimized apps will work on this new model.
The biggest question about the iPad mini was: “How much will it cost?” Apple has announced that the iPad mini will retail from £269 in the UK (for the 16GB WiFi iPad mini) and will be available for pre-order from 26 October, while 3G models will start at £369 and ship slightly later.
In addition to the iPad mini, Apple also introduced a fourth-generation of its full-sized iPad. The new tablets are powered by the A6X chip, which promises faster performance and better graphics. The front-facing camera has been upgraded to a FaceTime HD model, and a Lightning port replaces the 30-pin dock connector. Apple kept the prices on these iPads the same as the third-generation models it introduced just six months ago.
"We're not taking our foot off the gas," Apple CEO Tim Cook said.
Read more about Apple's new iPads.
Apple's tablets may have been the marquee attraction, but they weren't the only hardware unveiled Tuesday. Perhaps the most eye-catching update was the new iMac lineup, featuring dramatically thinner versions of Apple's all-in-one desktop.
The iMac still sports the aluminum design that's been in place for more than five years, but the insides have been re-engineered to make the machine lighter and thinner. The new systems are 45 percent skinnier than their predecessors, according to Apple; they're also about 8 pounds lighter.
The new iMac comes in 21.5in and 27in sizes, with prices starting at £1,099 for a 2.7GHz quad-core i5-powered version of the smaller one.
The 21.5in models will ship in November, while the 27in models won’t be arriving until December.
Among the build-to-order options for the new iMac is the newly announced Fusion Drive, a hybrid storage device combining flash storage with a regular hard drive. The Fusion Drive features 128GB of flash storage and 1TB or 3TB of hard-drive capacity. Apple hasn't announced pricing or availability for the iMac upgrade.
Get the details on Apple's Fusion Drive
In Apple's MacBook Pro lineup, the company is adding the Retina display feature - first introduced in a 15-inch laptop last summer - to a new 13-inch model.
It comes in two configurations: a £1,449 model with a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and 128GB of flash storage, and a £1,699 model with 256GB of flash storage. Apple will still offer two versions of its 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with standard LED-backlit displays.
Of the hardware changes unveiled Tuesday, the Mac mini's were probably the most modest--at least on the outside. Externally, the Mac mini is more or less unchanged from its last version, save for upgrades to USB 3.0 ports.
Inside, however, the mini has faster processors: a 2.5GHz dual-core i5 chip and 500GB hard drive in the £499 model, and a 2.3GHz quad-core i7 chip with a 1TB hard drive in the £679 model. Both Mac minis have improved graphics as well, and the new Fusion Drive is an optional configuration.
A £849 Mac mini server now features a 2.3GHz quad-core i7 processor, improved graphics, and larger hard drive.
Apple also offered a handful of software updates during Tuesday's event. Its iBooks ereader software for iOS devices is now at version 3.0. The iBooks update supports more than 40 languages and features a continuous scrolling alternative to turning pages. iBooks Author got an update as well, adding new templates and a portrait-only orientation feature for iPad ebooks.
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