Apple deserves some credit; the bulk of their presentation today was for power users. People who buy MacBook Pros or desperately want a Mac Pro got the most love. The majority of their customers, though, got Apple’s bottomless contempt and disgust with a set of iPads that show the company knows it doesn’t have to try anymore.
The iPads OR The Stuff You Actually Care About
Apple spent a very long hour detailing stuff most people aren’t interested in before getting to the iPads. Apple opened the presentation essentially by gloating about their competitors not doing as well, that iPads have lots of apps for them, and hooray iPad! If you get the distinct sense that Apple didn’t really have anything substantial to say about iPads, why, correct you are! In fact, if you happen to own an iPhone, let me save you a few hundred dollars; it’s just the iPhone 5S with a bigger screen.
First of all, the ten-inch iPad is now called the iPad Air, because it’s 20% thinner than the last one, and that’s also good branding. Oh, and it also weighs a pound. Which is, undeniably, impressive. But that’s about it. It’s essentially an iPhone 5S writ large; it even has the same processor. Undeniably that’s a bump up from the A6X, but there is no reason, whatsoever, to buy this if you already have an iPhone 5S. In fact, there’s not really a good reason to buy this, period.
Oh, and there’s no price-drop, either. It starts at $500, and if you want LTE service, you will essentially be paying iPhone 5S money for an iPhone 5S that can’t make calls. Oh, and the iPad 2 is still $400, because Apple thinks you’re a chump. The iPad Air ships November 1st.
The iPad Mini, meanwhile, has also been completely redesigned…to rip you off. The first one was always a stopgap; hence the lack of a Retina screen, which has now been dealt with. It too gets an A7 chip, and starts at $400 for a 16GB version. But you can get the old one, for “just” $300 now! Want an LTE version? That’ll be $530. Or, again, you could just buy an iPhone 5S unlocked for $650.
It’s jaw-dropping just how contemptuous this is. It’s impossible to emphasize how useless this round of iPads are. Apple’s resting hard on their laurels, here, and that’s a bad thing to see.
Need a tablet? Buy a Nexus 7. Need a cutting edge smartphone? Buy an iPhone 5S. The one thing you do not need, and will never need, are these iPads.
Essentially, Apple’s flagship laptop got a nice refresh. The thirteen-incher you see in so many college dorms gets a 2.4 GHz Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD, and it’s shipping today, for cheap: Just $1300, putting it more in line with high-end laptops at that screen size. The fifteen-incher, meanwhile, gets a quad-core i7, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, and it loses $200 off its price as well. In short, if you want a laptop that runs OSX, you can now get a really, really nice one with a Thunderbolt port.
Apple’s workhorse currently starts at $3000 and you undeniably get a lot for your money: Basically higher-end versions of this can support three 4K displays. I’d get into the specs, but really, there’s just one you need to know: This ships with dual GPU workstations standard, and you can get it with up to twelve cores. This is a deeply specialized machine designed for hardcore professional video editors, computer graphics work, and other industrial applications. Also, it still looks like a trash can.
OSX Mavericks is free, and basically helps your computer operate more efficiently; for example, it compresses data in the RAM to get more performance out of it. iMovie, iPhoto and GarageBand have all gotten user-friendly makeovers: GarageBand, for example, can now have twelve tracks and uses the cloud to let you work on songs between your Mac devices. And a lot of this stuff is now free, or so cheap that it might as well be free.
Apple spent a lot of time on this. To give you an idea of how much, they spent some time creating an “album cover” for one of their executives. Seriously. Yes, it was cringe-inducing.
Apple’s actual computers are cheaper and cooler, and the Mac Pro looks amazing under the hood if goofy on the outside. And this is because Apple thinks it can sucker its customers. But, hey, shiny new Mac Pro!
(Image courtesy of 3dom on Flickr)