Apple is polishing its products for the upcoming Christmas holidays, when the cacophony of cash registers’ high-frequency rings saturate the festive atmosphere. As we all know, Christmas is more about making a profit than about the birth of the Son of God. Black Friday is The Day to cough out our hard-earned dollars.
On Thursday, October 16, 2014, Tim Cook and his elves announced a new Air iPad 2, iPad Mini 3 and an iMac desktop computer. There were no revolutionary new products except the iWatch which will hit the shelves early next year. All were incremental changes to its existing stocks of Apple products.
Apple Inc introduced a faster, slimmer iPad Air 2 on Thursday, tacking on modest improvements such as a fingerprint sensor to its mainstay tablet in time for what is expected to be a hotly contested holiday season for mobile devices.
Pre-orders start Friday for the larger iPad Air 2, priced at $499 and up, with shipping beginning next week. The smaller iPad mini 3 will be about $100 cheaper. The Air iPad 2 is thinner than the previous Air Pad—18 percent thinner. It is only 6.1 mm deep and 56 percent less reflective. Even though its sales have slipped, it’s still a solid cash cow for Apple. Tim Cook announced Apple had sold 225 millon iPads and enjoyed the staggering number of 675,000 apps. The new iPad will have the new A84 processor which has a 40 percent faster CPU, an enhanced camera with 8MP and a lens with an aperture of f/2.4. Battery life will continue to be 10 hours which is quite decent, considering the power of the CPU.
Marketing chief Phil Schiller, calling the larger tablet the world’s slimmest, described several new features such as an anti-reflective screen and confirmed the inclusion of the “Touch ID” sensor, already available on the latest iPhones.
Apple may struggle, however, to arouse the same passion for tablets as in past years, among consumers faced with an abundance of hand-held, touch-screen devices. Tablet sales are set to rise only 11 percent this year, according to tech research firm Gartner, compared to 55 percent last year, even as smartphone sales continue to soar and personal computer sales are waning.
Tablet sales for Apple, which defined the category with the iPad just four years ago, have fallen for two straight quarters. Investors remain focused on the iPhone, Apple’s main revenue generator, but a prolonged downturn in iPad sales would threaten about 15 percent of the company’s revenue. The new iPads will go up against recently introduced tablets from Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc in coming months.
The new prices for the slimmer Air iPad 2 are as follows:
- 16GB – $499.00
- 64GB – $599.00
- 128GB – $699.00
The new prices for the faster iPad Mini 3 are as follows:
- 16GB – $399.00
- 64GB – $499.00
- 128GB – $599.00
Pre-orders started on October 17th and shipments will begin at the end of next week. The desktop category wasn’t forgotten. If you are into photography, the iMac is for you. The new Retina 5K Display is nothing less than spectacular. Inside you will find a screen made by LG Display, and a setup similar to previous iMacs, including easily-accessed RAM slots for memory upgrades. Overall, the layout is almost exactly like last year’s 27″ iMac, plus that new display controller Apple bragged about and a slightly wider display data cable, enhanced to feed all those pixels.
The entry-level iMac with top-of-the-line 5K display sets any buyer back by $2,499. That price includes the entire computer, which comes with a 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and AMD’s Radeon R9 M290x graphics processing unit. This is the same graphics card used in gaming-focused computers such as the Alienware I7 and, as Apple says, is 45 percent faster than the Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics cards that powered its older iMacs. The low-end iMac will also get 8GB of RAM and 1TB of Apple’s Fusion drive, or a hybrid flash storage and hard-disk drive.
Everybody might have waited for new iPads at Apple’s media event on Thursday; however, while Apple unveiled the new iPad Air 2, it was kind of a disappointment to anyone who was expecting a blockbuster announcement. I have a nice Retina Display iPad which I use sparsely. Don’t plan to buy a new one anytime soon, so Apple’s announcement meant nothing to me. But I’ll bet people will line up to get their paws on the latest tablets next week. That’s the way things are in a consumers’ capitalist free market. Good Day.