Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Apple Event (22/10)

So here it is, yet another Apple event. What a wonderful way to spend my evening; watching corporate types trying to convince me to buy their stuff by appearing trendy and hip – a technique that appears to work all too well as I have in my possession an iPad, iPhone and MacBook (strictly for work, I swear!). Every time I watch one of these I get all nostalgic and think back to a time when Apple was not only confined to the PC market but were losing ground to Windows PCs year after year. Of course back then no one had heard of Miley Cyrus nor twerking and having olive skin didn't send people running for the hills in fits of paranoia.

Sometimes I miss that world. I miss tech products being about functionality and what value they could offer a user, instead of the mind-numbing barrage of targeted marketing that tells us that somehow, the brand of your Phone determines which social group you belong to. Ahhh to live in a world where having thick-rimmed glasses meant nothing more than you liked thick-rimmed glasses. But I digress; you probably don’t care about my nostalgic ramblings and want this old man to shut up. So instead here is the break down of the announcements Apple made today – sure to get your Pavlovian responses going with buzzwords like “thinner” and “lighter”.

OS X Mavericks
Apple’s new operating system for Laptops and Desktops. It boasts a host of new features including longer battery life, better performance with integrated graphics and enhanced versions of software such as iBooks and Safari. Most importantly OSX Mavericks is FREE and you can update whether you are currently using Mountain Lion, Lion or Snow Leopard.

*Some info we already knew about OS X Mavericks*

MacBook Pro
Touting major updates to the MacBook Pro line, Apple will be releasing new versions of their MBP laptops. The new 13-inch MBP will come with a Haswell Chip and Intel Iris Graphics, an estimated 9-hour battery life, improved Flash and Wi-Fi speeds and Thunderbolt 2 connectivity. The 15-inch MBP will ship with the same but with the option for dedicated graphics cards up to GeForce GT 750M and supporting an estimated 8-hour battery life. Both models are available as of right now.

Mac Pro
Shedding more light on the new Mac Pro briefly covered at WWDC. It has a drastic physical redesign, sporting a cylindrical chassis that is apparently 1/8th the size of a typical last gen Mac Pro but approximately 2.5 times more powerful. As standard it’ll come equipped with a Xeon E5 12-core processor, dual AMD FirePro graphics cards, Thunderbolt 2 and top of the range Solid State Hard Drives. Apple boasts that this kind of setup can support multiple 4K displays (4K being twice the size of 1080p with 4 times the pixels). It will be available as of December.

A bevvy of updates are heading to Apple’s selection of proprietary apps. Photobooks will be coming to iPhoto on the iPad (you can also order your images printed to your address), new tools for iMovie on iOS 7, a new look and features for Garage Band (i.e. 8 tracks upped to 16/32) and updates to iWorks to make it easier to use across platform with multiple collaborators, and surprisingly FREE.

Two new iPad models were announced!

Firstly the “iPad Air” will be the updated version of the typical iPad model (full sized) but with quite a few differences.  It’s 9.7-inches with a thinner bezel (43% thinner) similar to that of an iPad mini, 7.5mm thick and weights 1 lb.  It sports the new 64bit A7 chip, an M7 Motion coprocessor, both of which can also be found in the iPhone 5s, 5MP iSight camera, HD FaceTime camera, and dual microphones. It will apparently have a 10-hour battery life and comes in two colour combinations; Silver and White or Space Grey and Black. It will be available as of the 1st of November.

Secondly a new iPad Mini model is coming out (no name change though). It will sport a retina display (2048x1536, the same resolution as the iPad Air), an A7 chip, and a 10-hour battery life. It will also be available in Silver and White or Space Grey and Black, sometime later in November.

With these two new additions Apple state that their online store will now only stock the iPad 2, iPad Air, original iPad Mini and new iPad mini.

No changes. They did just release the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

So there we have it, this year’s new offerings from Apple. The updates to laptops are quite standard fare and other manufacturers often do the same without such a big song and dance. The Mac Pro certainly is interesting though, if only for the cylindrical design. Admittedly providing OSX Mavericks and software like iWorks for free is extremely cool of them… but that’s how they get you. Is your iPad really too heavy and too thick? Does it warrant an update? If so you must have really small hands… or just really like the way it’ll look with your thick-rimmed glasses, summer dresses and colourful cardigans worn with no hint of irony…

Isaac Sung

Apple Products at CeX

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