At the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, Apple made several product announcements, including additions to its Macbook range, an upgrade to its PC operating system called Mavericks, advances in its software applications and of course two new iPads.
As has become customary for Apple product launches, most of the details and indeed images of the new devices had been leaked prior to the event. However, there were two big surprises – the pricing structure of the new iPad Mini and the decision by Apple to continue selling the iPad 2 while eliminating the iPad 4 from its product line-up.
The iPad has been a wildly popular device since its launch in 2010 with sales of over 170 million units. During the Keynote, the Apple CEO rightly highlighted quotes from skeptics around the time of the first iPad, who were doubtful that there was demand for such a device. Over the last three and a half years, Apple has launched five generations of its 9.7-inch model and two versions of its 7.9-inch model.
Apple initially shunned a smaller version of the iPad but launched the iPad Mini in 2012 – but it appears that the company is still underestimating the popularity of the iPad Mini, with strong indications that it is outselling the larger iPad model.
The new model, the iPad Mini with Retina, will come with a number of upgrades, including the Retina display with a pixel count of 2048×1536 and the new A7 64-bit chipset, and a 128GB version is now available. But it is slightly heavier and thicker than previous iPad Mini, presumably due to the retina display.
The iPad Mini with Retina will retail in the US at $399, which is an increase of $70 on the Wi-Fi-only, 16GB model of the iPad Mini, which launched at the retail price of $329. It is true that the overall better spec of the iPad Mini with Retina is an improvement on the previous model, but the new 9.7-inch model, called the iPad Air, also features a number of improvements on the previous model. Remarkably, Apple has slimmed the iPad Air by 20%, so it is just 7.5mm thick, and has reduced its weight by almost 30% to 469g and included the A7 chipset – and yet Apple has not changed its traditional 9.7-inch iPad launch price of $499 for the 16GB, Wi-Fi-only model.