Apple Introduces iPad Air, Retina Mini iPad, New Desktop Hardware

 Apple

Apple introduced updated versions of its full-sized and mini iPads today.

The iPad Air is the company's new flagship full-sized tablet. Apple billed it as the thinnest, lightest and most powerful iPad yet. The new model packs the same 9.7-inch retina screen into an enclosure that is 20 percent thinner on the sides and the bezel and whose weight has dropped to 1 pound from 1.4 pounds. It sports a top-of-the-line A7 processor.

Pricing remains the same at $499 and up, depending on configuration.

The iPad 2 remains in the lineup, starting at $399.

Its pint-sized cousin got a screen upgrade as well. The iPad Mini now sports a retina display and the powerful A7 chip. Pricing for the retina version starts at $399. Apple is keeping the original Mini in the lineup but dropped the price $30 to $299.

Both sizes of the iPad come in either silver or space gray.

The company also introduced the new version of its desktop operating system, nicknamed "Mavericks." It offers a host of incremental upgrades that make it look and feel a bit more like the iOS software found on iPads and iPhones.

The most notable innovation is its price: free. Apple has decided to stop charging for its operating system and is offering the upgrade to all users regardless of current OS. The decision is sure to put more pressure on Microsoft, which continues to charge for its Windows desktop operating system.

Apple introduced new PC hardware as well. Most important for Hollywood professionals is the new Mac Pro, its high-end workstation. Apple had previously announced the new Mac Pro, which comes in a black cylindrical case.

The base model comes with a 3.7 GHz quad-core Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of DRAM, Dual FirePro D300 graphics, 2GB VRAM each, and a 256GB PCie-based flash hard drive.

It retails for $2,999.

Apple also introduced new versions of Final Cut Pro and Aperture with 4K video support and other improvements that take advantage of the power of the new desktop machine.

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