Apple Unveils iPads And Free OSX Upgrade, But Partners Want More


Branded the iPad Air, Apple's fifth-generation tablet was unveiled Tuesday at an Apple event in San Francisco. Though the tablet leader had more than just a new iPad up its sleeve, some partner and customer expectations were still not fulfilled.

The iPad Air weighs in at only 1 pound, an achievement Apple said makes it the thinnest, lightest full-sized tablet on the market.

Sharing many characteristics with the newly released iPhone 5S, the iPad Air comes equipped with a 64-bit A7 processor and has the M7 motion coprocessor. For the first time, an iPad will come with two built-in microphones.

 

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From the introduction of the original iPad to the debut of the iPad Air, Apple has improved performance eight-fold, though the graphics performance has improved 72-fold.

A second iPad mini also made an appearance on the San Francisco stage, this time sporting a retina display, something the first iPad mini lacked. Not to be outdone on speed, the new mini also comes loaded with the 64-bit A7 processor.

Historically, upgrading to the next operating system on a Mac or MacBook required a $199 purchase from an Apple online or retail store. Beginning on Tuesday, the update is offered free of charge through the app store, an improvement some analysts say Microsoft should be concerned about.

"Microsoft generates 96 percent of its operating margins from operating system and productivity software licensing, and Apple is now teaching people to expect both of those things to be free," wrote Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at London, U.K.-based business and technology research firm Ovum.

As a bonus, users running on versions of the Mac operating system as old as Snow Leopard will be able to update directly to Mavericks, skipping the in-between operating systems.

With the operating system upgrade also comes plenty of new features and capabilities for both the iWork and iLife packages. Arguably the most notable change is instant collaboration between all Apple devices via the iCloud.

Apple also unveiled its new MacBook Pro, available in 13-inch or 15-inch models, both of which come loaded with a full retina display and a fourth-generation dual-core and quad-core Intel processor. Though the power and resolution were amped up, the device's body was slimmed down. The new 13-inch laptop weighs less than 3.5 pounds and starts at $1,299, while the 15-inch starts at $1,999.

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