Apple unveils new iPad Pro tablets, MacBook Air notebook


Apple is heavily reliant on its popular iPhone – but the tech giant hasn’t forgotten about its iPads and Mac computers. Now it’s looking to reinvigorate those product lines after sagging sales.

As widely expected, Apple took the wraps off new iPad Pros, MacBook Air notebook and Mac mini at an event Tuesday (Oct 30) at New York City’s Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The new iPad Pro models features Apple’s Face ID, which uses facial recognition to unlock the tablet, and eliminate the home button. That matches the design of the company’s latest iPhones. The iPad Pros’ LCD displays stretch from edge to edge and top to bottom, available with 11- and 12.9-inch displays, while they’re also slightly thinner.

In a shift, Apple is providing industry-standard USB-C connectors for the iPad Pros instead of the company’s Lightning connector; with USB-C, users will now be able to connect the tablets to a wide variety of accessories. The new iPad Pros also are faster, delivering graphics performance that’s 1,000 times faster than prior-gen iPad Pros, according to Apple.

The iPad Pros are scheduled to ship Nov. 7, priced from US$799 for the 11-inch unit and US$999 for the 12.9-inch version. (Previously, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro started at US$649; the 12.9-inch version started at US$799.) Apple said it will continue to sell the 10.5-inch model.

On stage, Greg Thomas of Take-Two Interactive’s 2K Games demo’d a version of “NBA 2K” for the new iPad Pro, which he said provides never-before-available capabilities to deliver unrivaled resolution and performance on a mobile device. “It rivals consoles for the very first time,” he said.

The new MacBook Air features the high-resolution Retina 13.3-inch display – the No. 1 feature customers have asked for, according to Apple – providing resolution for more than 4 million pixels. The 2.75-pound notebook also includes Touch ID and up to 1.5 terabyte SSD storage, and is 17 per cent less volume than the prior-generation model.

In addition, the new MacBook Air’s unibody enclosure is made from 100 per cent recycled aluminum, a detail that drew especially robust cheers from the crowd. The notebook starts at US$1,199, and will ship Nov 7.

Apple also announced a new Mac mini, with more powerful processing capacity that boost performance five-fold over the previous generation and up to 64 gigabytes of memory. It’s also made from 100% recycled aluminum. Priced starting at US$799, the Mac mini is scheduled to ship Nov 7.

On stage, Apple CEO Tim Cook evoked the 157-year legacy of BAM as a haven for culture and creative expression, by way of explaining why it picked the historic New York venue to announce its new products for creative pros.

“Apple’s focus has always been on providing people the tools to unleash their creativity,” Cook said. Apple has a current installed base of 100 million Macs and has sold more than 400 million iPads, according to Cook. The CEO also called out Tuesday’s release of iOS 12.1, which adds features including Group FaceTime.

Apple closed out the event with a musical performance by New York native Lana Del Ray.

The company is in need of refreshed iPad and Mac products. For the most recent quarter (ended Jun 30), Apple’s revenue from iPads and Macs declined 5 per cent year over year, to US$4.74 billion and US$5.33 billion, respectively. Apple is scheduled to report results for the September 2018 quarter on Thursday, Nov 1.

Last month, Apple rolled out its 2018 iPhone lineup at an event in its hometown of Cupertino, Calif. The new models are the iPhone XS and larger-screen XS Max (with a vertical screen size of 6.5 inches) and the more-affordably priced iPhone XR, which effectively replaces last year’s iPhone 8.





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