Yesterday brought us yet more hardware upgrades from Apple with a new generation of the iPad, Mac Mini, Macbook Pro, and iMac. Apple also introduced the new Fusion Drive, and the much-anticipated iPad Mini.
For almost all the upgrades, the words of the day were “thinner and lighter.” The new iMac is 80% thinner and 8 pounds lighter, which doesn’t leave much room for substantial hard drives. To deal with this, Apple has introduced the new Fusion drive that is intended to combine the best features of hard disk drives and solid state drives. The operating system and your most-used apps will be on the quick-access solid state drive, while your data will reside on the high capacity hard disk. Most importantly, the new drive has the smarts to know how to maximize switching for the best possible performance. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how this stacks up against other hybrid drives currently on the market.
The new Mac Mini also gets the new Fusion drive, and where it’s getting lighter is in its load on the environment – while its new guts make it twice as fast, the new generation of Mac Mini uses up to 50 percent less energy while it’s idle. It’s a handy machine that packs a lot more punch in the same amount of space.
Speaking of Mini things, the most talked-about development before today’s event was the iPad Mini. This new addition to the iDevice lineup turns out to be something in between the iPad 3G and the iPad 2 in terms of hardware and features, but it’s half the size of the iPad and starts at $70 less than the iPad 2 ($329 USD). Apple’s pitch for this device was a bit different from the usual tactic, as they directly compared its specs to those of existing tablets. While it too is thinner and lighter, the iPad Mini also boasts more screen real estate than similarly sized tablets. The viewable screen goes right to the edge, which could really be problematic for something that is meant to be held in one hand. To deal with this, iOS 6 was equipped with “thumb rejection,” so you can safely put your thumb on the edge of the screen and gesture with your other hand.
Macbook Pro is thinner and lighter as well. Its latest iteration has a Retina display like the larger Macbook Pros announced last month. But it shaves almost a pound and 0.2 inches off its already lithe frame. At this point, the 13-inch Macbook Pro is only half a pound heavier than the 13-inch Macbook Air. Again, with this thinness comes a compromise – the new 13-inch Macbook Pro loses its SuperDrive, as did the 15-inch Macbook Pro last month.
The most perplexing announcement of the day was the iPad 4G. The previous generation was released just seven months ago, which seems awfully recent for yet another upgrade. Nevertheless, the iPad 4G definitely has upgraded specs over the previous generation of iPad from earlier this year. It will be interesting to see how this very short release schedule affects sales.
For more information on specs and release dates for the new devices, check Apple’s website.
Which of these new devices appeal to you? Which do you think you’ll take a pass on?