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BW Businessworld

The Mini And More

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Cheers greeted a smiling and confident Tim Cook as he took to the stage for Apple’s “We have a little more to show you” event in San Jose on Tuesday the 23rd of October. It seems not so long ago that Apple’s fans, the media, and much of the company’s competition followed the word-by-word retelling of the launch of the iPhone 5. This time, Apple did the smart thing and actually broadcast the event live, probably taking all the tech media who were ready, all cylinders firing, to live blog the event.
 
Wasting no time at all, Tim Cook dove straight into the statistics that have become the typical hors d'oeuvres at the Apple launch fests. All of these are thoroughly publicised, but nevertheless, they give Apple execs the chance to remind us how popular their products are. But with the audience having made suitable noises of appreciation at how 300 billion messages were sent using iMessages and 35 billion apps have been downloaded, Cook moved on to the first item on the launch list: the iBook app and iBookstore. This is Apple’s reader and book store which the company believes will popularise the iPad family further with schools in the US because it offers many educational books.
 
Retina Comes To The 13-inch MacBook Pro – At A Stiff Price 
Handing over to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Tim Cook made way for the first of the hardware product announcements, starting with a 13-inch MacBook Pro with the Retina display. At 0.75 inches it is 20 per cent thinner than the older version and also lighter. Schiller touted the displays features, already known from the larger MacBook Pro: 227 pixels per inch, higher contrast, vivid colurs, 178 degree viewing angle, 75 per cent less reflection and glare and said to be twice the number of pixels in an HD TV. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is based on flash storage and features a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5 processor with the option to choose faster 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 processors, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 8GB of 1600 MHz memory, and up to 768GB of flash storage. Two Thunderbolt and two USB 3.0 ports allow users to connect to multiple displays and high-performance devices, and a new HDMI port offers quick connectivity to an HDTV, according to Apple India’s communication to the media. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display also features a FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones, improved speakers, three-stream 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a MagSafe 2 power port. It gives 7 hours of battery life. The prices for this laptop will range from Rs 114,900 to Rs 128,476.
 
The iMac Goes Impossibly Thin And Gets Re-engineered To Fit
The Mac Mini also received an update, but what was more unexpected was the unveiling of the 4 th generation iMac, a product Schiller referred to the iMac in general as a flagship product for product, epitomizing as it did, the company’s design and usability philosophy. The new iMac, revealed dramatically in an image that appeared slowly on screen before being shown for real, is now impossibly thin. It looks sleek and elegant. Phil Schiller described how the aluminum had been fused with the display and a previous air gap done away with to slim down the computer to just 5 mm. Yet, inside the thin body was housed all the parts of the machine.
 
A quad-core Intel Core i5 processors that can be upgraded to Core i7 and an NVIDIA GeForce processor for advanced gaming and graphics intensive apps. There’s GB of 1600 MHz memory and a 1TB hard drive, and customers can choose to configure their iMac with up to 32GB of memory and a new 3TB hard drive, or 768GB of flash storage for ultimate performance, according to Apple. There are two Thunderbolt and four USB 3.0 ports. Depending on the configuration, the iMac will probably retail for between Rs 85,900 and 134,990.
 
The Mini Is Basic While The Current iPad Gets A Bump
Going back to CEO Tim Cook for some more statistics, we learn that Apple recently sold its 100 millionth iPad. And with that, it was time to move on to the reason the event was referred to by those who were working hard at guessing as the iPad Mini launch. It had been rumored that the current generation iPad, (called the new iPad or iPad 3 by everyone else and just the iPad by Apple) would get a refresh. This turned out to be the case as we find that a 4th generation iPad will replace the iPad 3. It will sport am A6x chip, an improved front-facing camera and faster wireless.. It will stay at the same price and there are some reports that those who have recently bought the iPad 3 will get replacements from Apple. The iPad 3 will be discontinued. The iPad 2, it would seem, will still be available as an option for those who want to opt for a slightly less expensive tablet.
 
The 7.9 inch iPad Mini would, however, join the iPad family and be available at a price of $329 for the 16GB model. Indian prices are not given yet as no date for the arrival of the Mini in India has been mentioned. Some countries are to get the iPad Mini this month, but India is not among them. While Steve Jobs was not known to be bullish on the smaller tablet form factor of 7 inches, the Mini was presented as a device you could hold in one hand. The device is thin and light (Phil Schiller compared it to a pencil) but will work with all the 250,000 iPad optimized apps on the Apple store. Schiller compared it derisively with an Android tablet running Jelly Bean and said that the Mini in fact had designed the tablet to allow for the maximum possible screen real estate. It runs on a dual-core A5 chip , has a 5 megapixel primary camera and a 1.3 Face Time one. They include image stabilisation and backside illumination. There is some disappointment that the there is no Retina display on the Mini but that would have taken it to a higher price bracket.
 
Some confusion is expected between the Mini and the iPad 2 which while not a small form factor, is close in price. The competition will also heat up with tablets from Google being much cheaper.