"How do you make it better?" asked Tim Cook about the iPad air roughly 40 minutes into today's keynote. My imagination ran wild with visions of a radically new form factor, a new iPad Pro perhaps, or better yet, something else so entirely new that it was previously impossible to even think of. Queue the video of a pencil being shaved by a laser that still is somehow hiding a...thinner iPad Air 2. Sigh.
You guessed it: thinner, faster
Oh well. So yes we got a thinner, and yes faster, iPad Air 2. On thinness, the iPad 2 Air isn't just thin, it's impossibly thin, the thinnest tablet available anywhere, at a scant 6.1 mm, which is somehow thinner than your brand new iPhone 6. And it's fast. Tucked inside the svelte new exterior is an A8x processor that appeared to move in a vertical line (40% faster CPU, 2.5x faster GPU) away from its A7 predecessor in the benchmark chart Apple flashed on screen, with onstage app demos emphasizing the iPad Air 2's CPU and GPU prowess for good measure. Also improved on the spec sheet: a new air-gap-free laminated 9.4" display with anti-reflective coating and faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
Did you say "tablet photography?"
Yep, tablet photography. That officially became an Apple approved thing today, as the iPad Air 2 now sports an 8MP iSight Camera with Burst, Time-Lapse, and Slo-Mo options borrowed straight from the iPhone. Driving the point home, Phil Shiller spent precious keynote time highlighting the iPad Air 2's photographic abilities with a handful of nearly too good to be true photos. I've always felt a reflexive need to vomit every time I see a tourist taking pictures with their iPad. Now, it's officially sanctioned by Apple. Wonderful.
Yes you get Touch ID with the iPad Air 2, but no NFC. Translation: You can do Apple Pay with your new iPad Air 2 (and mini), but only inside of apps, not physical stores. Still, Touch ID means no more awkward passcode entry, faster app purchases, and the ability to use Touch ID instead of passwords to get into apps like 1Password. Sweet.
And the iPad mini?
That was the iPad Air 2, what about the iPad mini? Blink and you'd have missed it. Literally 30 seconds were spent on the iPad mini, err..we mean the iPad mini 3. That's right, you now own an iPad mini 2 even though it was called the iPad mini Retina when you bought it. Same exterior, same interior, but...wait for it...Touch ID.
So "how do you make it better?" Thinner, faster, sharper, golder (did we mention the Air 2 and mini 3 now come in gold?), and tablet photography, OK, got it. However, if the question is "how do you make it sell better?" I don't know, I'm not sure we got the answer to that today.
27" iMac with Retina 5K Display
You can't even watch anything in 4K right now, but that didn't stop Apple from introducing a 27" iMac with a 5K Retina display. 5K, that's 5120 x 2880, meaning go ahead and enjoy (if you can find it) 4K video on your new iMac with room for margins. Powering the 5K were some crazy specs: 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB Fusion Drive, and AMD Radeon R9 M290X with 2GB of video memory, and that's just the baseline, because it can be configured with a 4.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 and 32GB of RAM, no doubt causing more than a few Mac Pro owners to furl their eyebrows.
Damage to wallet
The Wi-Fi iPad Air 2 will start at $499 for the 16GB, $599 for 64GB, and $699 for 128GB. The Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air 2 starts at $629 for $16GB, $729 for 64GB, and $829 for 128GB. The Wi-Fi only iPad mini 3 starts at $399 for 16GB, $499 for 64GB, and $599 for 128GB. For the Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad mini 3 pricing begins at $529 for 16GB, $629 for 64GB, and $729 for 128GB. Both iPads can be ordered from the Apple Store beginning today.
The 27" iMac with Retina 5K Display starts at $2499. It's available for ordering beginning today.