The Apple Special Event for the iPad Mini and other stuff

Not long before the event was due to start, it came over the Twittersphere that Apple would be broadcasting the event through the Apple TV. There must have been a lot of Apple live bloggers that groaned and got all upset, but for many of us, being able to see the events live was just spot-on.

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The big problem of course was that the event started at 7pm my time, which is when the wife likes to watch the Australian soaps. I duly requested television time, there was much wailing and screaming, rolling on the floor, beating of fists and feet on the floor and crying, but eventually she said yes I could watch the television. Thank goodness there are always repeats of the “Home and Away” Australian docu-dramas (Soaps).

Numbers, lots of big numbers

In the buildup to the announcements of the actual devices, Apple like to do a bit of trumpet blowing as per usual. Lots of big numbers with billions of iOS applications having been sold, but I think that the amazing number was that Apple boasted of having sold over 100 million iPads. Here in Spain, I only see the iPad out in the wild once in a blue moon. Unfortunately I didn’t see any in the school that I was working in, during April and May. It must be something to do with the crisis (financial) and I don’t suppose you will see too many in Greece either.

Upgrades to the Apple desktops and laptops

A MacBook Pro with Retina

The MacBook Pro got an update and was given usual treatment of being lighter, smaller, thinner and the retina display that was previously only available on the 15 inch model. It also got USB 3 ports and I noticed it also got a HDMI port. Of course, the MacBook Pro also has the Thunderbolt ports. It looks a very nice laptop computer and I expect it will be very popular.

The skinny iMac, the anorexic supermodel of computers

There is now a new iMac and the edge of it is extremely thin. To a certain extent it must be a little bit of an optical illusion, because the centre part of the computer must still have a bit more thickness than that. It did look rather nice though and very impressive indeed. One of the reasons that they were able to make it so much thinner at the edges, was that they dumped the optical drive. This makes sense, as who uses an optical drive these days.

The Mac Mini

Apple  Mac miniThere were upgrades to the Mac Mini and it was nice to see that this excellent little computer got some of the upgrade love. More memory as standard and options of SSD drives as well as larger standard hard drives. The server version of the Mac Mini is also still available. The Mac Mini is still a very good computer to use for video work as well as being a good first Mac for switchers. Both the standard version and also the server version often finds itself thrown into a rack along with hundreds of others for collocation work.

The Star Trek Fusion Drive

Fusion drive logoThis is a new drive that has been invented by Apple which has 128 GB of flash storage along with either a 1 TB or 3 TB spinning drive. It looks like it is available as an extra and gives a huge performance hike to any computers that it is used in. The system software goes to the solid-state part of the drive, as well as the pre-installed Apple software. Over time as the system gets to see which applications are used the most, there seems to be some sort of automatic migration of these Mac applications to the much faster SSD. For those of us that have fairly new Macs on our desks already but would like to be able to have faster performance, a Fusion Drive could be just the thing to get.

The iPad generation 4 – What a Surprise!

The room went quiet and all of the rumour mongers and Apple pundits were taken by surprise by the announcement of the iPad generation 4. It was not a huge change to the specifications of the iPad, only a new processor that is faster than the previous version and the addition of the lightning connector. This upgrade to the iPad came in underneath the radar of the Apple bloggers and podcasters, because all of them were so fixated on the highly leaked information of the iPad Mini. I hope you enjoyed by joke post from yesterday in which I claimed that the new smaller iPad would be called the Little iPad.

The announcement everyone was waiting for – The iPad Mini

The iPad mini seems to have all of the attributes and functionality of the previous iPad, although Phil Schiller spent a lot of time comparing it to the iPad 2. The comparison with the iPad 2 was because of the screen resolution of 1024 by 768, which was chosen so that all of the applications that are available at present will still be available for the new iPad Mini. That decision makes a lot of sense and could even be a stroke of genius. I still have to look at the details for the technical specifications of the iPad Mini, but it does look very nice and very usable. Smaller, thinner, lighter, sexier and you’re able to hold it with just one hand. Unless you have very small hands of course.

Comparisons with an Android device

There was also quite a lot of time spent with Phil Schiller comparing the new iPad Mini with an Android device. That device was probably the Nexus 7 and of course the iPad was better in just about every way. In terms of screen space the iPad had more because of being the same format as the iPad but not 16 x 9. So this gives more space to be used when doing things like checking email and viewing webpages. Watching a movie will be the same size as on a Nexus 7, but there will be a little bit of letterboxing. It looks like the the iPad Mini gives you the best of all worlds. The iPad mini will be more expensive, but for most people it will be worth spending a little bit more to have the Apple device rather than the inferior Android tablet.

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Something for everyone at the iPad Mini Apple event

IBooks AuthorWell almost everybody, the new iTunes 11 was not announced as many expected. It still could turn up in software update over the next couple of days. However, there was the announced update to iBooks and iBooks Author. I will be downloading these two bits of software soon as I am able to. I can’t wait to see what new things are available in the iBooks Author application. There didn’t seem to be too big a change with the iBooks application for iOS, in the main it seemed to be the single page scrolling text being the single update. I think I like the page turning thing that is like a dead tree book.

Cannibalisation of iPad sales

When people go into the Apple Store to buy themselves a new iOS device it is going to be a difficult choice as to which one to get. The new iPad Mini is not much more expensive than the latest generation iPod Touch. Between those two devices, I would most likely get the iPad Mini although am I still likely have to wear spectacles to get the best use out of the iPad Mini. The next decision that people will be making is whether to go for the iPad Mini or the iPad 2. To a large extent, as you might expect, there is a ladder of prices to try and suit as many pockets as possible. Just the same as there is stepping stones in terms of the specifications and functions available within the product range. Whatever decisions are made by the customers in the Apple stores and on the Apple Store online, we can be sure that Apple will be selling boatloads of all of these devices, especially with the holiday season coming up. Expect to see some queues lining up around the shopping centres containing the Apple stores on November 2nd.