by Mark Ollig
Apple has the knack for presenting new computing gadgets just in time for the holiday shopping season.
In advance of their presentation last Tuesday before a live audience, the online Apple Store posted a “We’ll Be Back” teaser message. This meant new products and prices would become accessible after Apple’s official announcement.
Inside the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., took the stage, as those in attendance and watching live online (including yours truly) waited to see what goodies he would be offering.
Cook began by telling us last month’s introduction of the iPhone 5c and 5s resulted in 9 million iPhones being sold during its initial launch weekend.
He stated there are 1 million software applications (apps) for Apple’s user devices available in the Apple Store catalog, and that approximately 60 billion apps have been downloaded.
Cook also pointed out app developers have now earned $13 billion in payouts for their software creations.
So, yes, young people, it does pay to learn how to code.
Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple Inc., gave a demonstration of the newest version (10.9) of Apple’s OS X desktop operating system, called Mavericks.
More than 200 new features are included with Mavericks.
He first worked in Pages, which is an Apple word processing application where users can create documents, letters, flyers, and invitations.
Federighi also showed the new version of Maps, which Apple designed to provide users intuitive, verbal destination directions, along with interactive 3D views.
Mavericks is being released as a free download from the Mac App Store.
Maps and iBooks will also be included in this version, as well.
The Mac App Store can be found at http://tinyurl.com/bytes-macapps.
Phil Schiller, senior vice-president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., spoke about the new MacBook Pro laptop computer.
The popular Retina display will be included on both the 13 and 15-inch models.
The MacBook Pro comes configured with a fourth-generation Intel quad-core i3, i5, or i7 processor.
These processors are said to provide much faster application performance and improved battery life; this new MacBook Pro claims to have nine hours worth of battery time.
There are five new MacBook Pro model configurations to choose from.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch display, 2.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor starts at $1,299, while the better-equipped, 15-inch display, 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor model lists at $2,599.
The next new computer to be shown by Schiller was Apple’s new desktop model the Mac Pro.
We usually think of desktop or tower computers as being rectangular, tall, or box-shaped.
Not the Mac Pro.
The Mac Pro computer housing is cylindrical, less than 10 inches high, and is painted a glossy black; however, don’t be fooled by its small size there’s plenty of processing power built into it.
Its physical chassis is fashioned from extruded aluminum and is finely polished.
“Assembled in the USA” is laser-etched on the bottom of its chassis.
The new Mac Pro’s next-generation Intel Xeon E5 Quad processor comes configured with six, eight, or 12 cores, and a 30MB L3 (level 3) memory cache to improve computing performance.
I was surprised to learn there was only one cooling fan inside the new Mac Pro, as previous models came with eight.
Significantly improved energy efficiency is one reason for a single cooling fan, as this new model uses a remarkable 70 percent less energy than the earlier Mac Pros.
This computer includes display support for up to three, 4K display screens (digital screens supporting 4,000 pixels).
The Mac Pro is 9.9 inches high, and has a width of 6.6 inches. It weighs 11 pounds.
At the minimum $2,999 price, it comes equipped with a 3.7GHz quad-core Xeon E5 processor, 12GB of DDR3/ECC (double-data rate type 3/error code correcting) memory, Dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics processors, 2GB GDDR5/VRAM (graphics double-data rate 5/video random-access memory), and a 256GB PCIe/SSD (peripheral component interconnect express/solid-state drive).
Complete technical specifications can be found at http://www.apple.com/mac-pro/specs.
Schiller said the new Mac Pro will be available in December.
He then talked about Apple’s iPad Air.
This new iPad is 9.4 inches tall, has a width of 6.6 inches, a depth of .29-inches, and weighs 1 pound.
The iPad Air uses the iPhone 5s A7 processor chip, along with the motion (M7) co-processor.
It includes a 9.7-inch (diagonal) Retina display, and is available in two colors, space gray and silver.
The Wi-Fi models come in 16, 32, 64, or 128GB configurations priced at $499, $599, $699, and $799, respectively.
The Wi-Fi and cellular models come in the same GB configurations, and are priced at $629, $729, $829, and $929.
These new iPad Air computing tablets will be available in November.
Cook remarked how it has been three and one-half years since the iPad was first introduced, and how others doubted it would make much of an impact in the computing industry.
He then revealed (with a smile) that Apple sold its 170 millionth iPad earlier this month.
“Now everybody seems to be making a tablet, even some of the doubters,” Cook said.
You can watch Apple’s presentation at http://www.apple.com/apple-events/october-2013.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., speaking at the start of the October 22, 2013 Apple Event inside the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.