Apple unveils new Macs, iPad ahead of holidays - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Apple unveils new Macs, iPad ahead of holidays

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SAN FRANCISCO -

Apple Inc. is refreshing its iPad lineup and slashing the price of its Mac computers ahead of the holiday shopping season, as it faces an eroding tablet market share and growing competition from rival gadget makers.

Apple unveiled a new, thinner, lighter tablet called the "iPad Air" along with a slew of new Macs Tuesday at an event in San Francisco. The iPad Air weighs just 1 pound, compared with 1.4 pounds for the previous version. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller called the tablet a "screaming fast iPad." He said it is eight times faster than the original iPad that came out in 2010.

The iPad Air will go on sale Nov. 1 and start at $499 for a model with 16 gigabytes of memory. Apple plans to phase out its third and fourth generation iPads while the iPad 2, which launched in 2011, continues selling at $399. A new iPad Mini, meanwhile, will be available later in November starting at $399 for a 16-gigabyte model. It has a retina display designed to give it a clearer, sharper picture and the same 64-bit chip that powers the iPad Air.

"I think today was about re-establishing that the iPad is the benchmark for what a good tablet experience should be," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. "Too many times when we look at these devices we focus on hardware, not the whole experience."

The iPad's market share has been eroding compared with cheaper rivals running Google Inc.'s Android operating system. Research firm Gartner Inc. estimates that Android tablets will end 2013 with a 50 percent share of the worldwide market versus 49 percent for the iPad. Just two years ago, the iPad commanded a 65 percent market share compared to 30 percent for Android tablets.

Apple sold 14.6 million iPads in the June quarter, down 14 percent from the same time last year. It was the first year-over-year decline in iPad sales. Nonetheless, Apple CEO Tim Cook touted that Apple has sold 170 million iPads since the tablets launched three years ago.

Tim Bajarin, a Creative Strategies analyst who's followed Apple for more than three decades, said the 64-bit chip in the new iPads makes them the most powerful tablets on the market. Keeping the iPad 2 on store shelves also makes sense, according to the analyst.

"That's the one that's a big hit in Asia and emerging markets," Bajarin said. "It's still got a lot of traction."

Apple also refreshed its computer lineup. A new, 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is thinner and lighter, Schiller said, adding that the laptop has up to 9 hours of battery life, enough to watch the entire trilogy of 'The Dark Knight' on one charge. The notebook's new price is lower: $1,299, compared with $1,499 for the previous version.

A larger MacBook Pro, with a 15-inch monitor and 256 gigabytes of storage starts at $1,999, compared with $2,199 for the previous version.

The Mac Pro, a high-end desktop computer aimed at what Apple calls "power users," will be available in December for $2,999.

The company also said that its latest computer operating system, Mavericks, is available free of charge.

Apple's new gadgets come not only at a time of toughening competition. They arrive as retailers face an uncertain holiday season following a 16-day partial government shutdown. Retailers say Washington's gridlock has caused people to hold off on shopping, though they hope that this won't last throughout the holiday season.

Evens so, some analysts are optimistic about Apple's prospects.

"Between the iPad and iPhones, I think they'll have a monster holiday season," Bajarin said.

Shares of Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple climbed 83 cents to $520.70 in after-hours trading. The stock had closed down $1.49 at $519.87.

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By BARBARA ORTUTAY and MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Technology Writers

Ortutay reported from New York.


Apple Inc. unveiled a pair of new iPads and new MacBook Pro computers, among other products, at an event in San Francisco on Tuesday. Here are some product specifications:

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IPAD AIR

SIZE: 9.4 inches tall, 6.6 inches wide and 0.29 inch thick

WEIGHT: 1 pound

DISPLAY: 9.7 inches diagonally

RESOLUTION: 2,048 pixels by 1,536 pixels, at 264 pixels per inch

CHIP: A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor

COLORS: Black with space gray, white with silver

PRICE: $499 for a Wi-Fi-only 16 gigabyte model, $599 for 32 GB, $699 for 64 GB and $799 for 128 GB. Add $130 for models with 4G LTE cellular access. Apple will still sell the 2011 model, iPad 2, for $399.

AVAILIBILITY: Nov. 1

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IPAD MINI

SIZE: 7.87 inches tall, 5.3 inches wide, 0.29 inch thick

WEIGHT: 0.73 pound

DISPLAY: 7.9 inches diagonally

RESOLUTION: 2,048 pixels by 1,536 pixels, at 326 pixels per inch

CHIP: A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor

COLORS: Black with space gray, white with silver

PRICE: $399 for a Wi-Fi-only 16 gigabyte model, $499 for 32 GB, $599 for 64 GB and $699 for 128 GB. Add $130 for models with 4G LTE cellular access. Apple will sell last year's model, without the sharper display, for $299, down from $329.

AVAILABILITY: November

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MACBOOK PRO - 13 INCH

SIZE: 0.71 inch thick, (when closed), 12.35 inches wide and 8.62 inches deep

WEIGHT: 3.46 pounds

DISPLAY: 13.3-inches diagonally

RESOLUTION: 2,560 pixels by 1,600 pixels, at 227 pixels per inch

CAMERA: 720p FaceTime HD Camera

BATTERY: Up to 9 hours wireless web, or 30 days standby

PRICE: Starts at $1,299 for model with 128 gigabytes of solid-state memory, 2.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

AVAILIBILITY: Tuesday

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MACBOOK PRO - 15 INCH

SIZE: 0.71 inch thick, (when closed), 14.13 inches wide and 9.73 inches deep

WEIGHT: 4.46 pounds

DISPLAY: 15.4 inches diagonally

RESOLUTION: 2,880 pixels by 1,800 pixels, at 220 pixels per inch

CAMERA: 720p FaceTime HD Camera

BATTERY: Up to 8 hours wireless web, or 30 days standby

PRICE: Starts at $1,999 for model with 256 gigabytes of solid-state memory, 2.0 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7

AVAILIBILITY: Tuesday

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OTHER PRODUCTS:

— MAC PRO: A high-end desktop computer in a cylinder casing and assembled in Austin, Texas. Available in December for a starting price of $2,999.

— MAVERICKS. The latest version of the Mac operating system. Unlike previous updates, Apple is releasing it for free. It promises better battery life, improved file management and new apps such as a Mac version of Maps.

— IWORK. Apple is refreshing its suite of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. Apple is offering it for free with new Mac and iOS devices. Once you buy the new device, you can install the app in older devices you own. Each of the three apps normally costs $20 for the Mac and $10 for iPhones and iPads.

— ILIFE. Apple also is refreshing its iPhoto and iMovie editing software and the GarageBand app for creating music. New features are available for both Mac and iOS devices. It's also free with new Mac and iOS devices.

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