Summing up yesterday's Apple announcements
Here's what we learned by the time Apple executives wrapped up their big announcements yesterday afternoon (summary courtesy of Macworld):
- There will be a thing called the iPad Air. The new full-size model is thinner and faster than the iPad 2, and ships Nov. 1. Other improvements include a better camera and wi-fi networking. They'll cost the same as the models they're replacing (starting at $500 for the 16GB wi-fi model, $630 for the 16GB cellular model). You can still buy a new iPad 2, however, at $400 for a 16GB wi-fi model.
- There's a new iPad mini. If you were among those outraged that you couldn't get an iPad mini with a Retina Display, you'll need to find a new target for your outrage. It gets the same camera and wi-fi bump the iPad Air received. Available "later in November," prices start at $400 and run up to $830. The original iPad mini will still be available at $300 (wi-fi) and $430 (cellular).
- That funky new cylindrical Mac Pro will ship in December. It's pretty nifty looking and it's blazing fast, but provisions for expansion are limited. Prices start at $3,000.
- There are updated versions of the Retina MacBook Pro. They'll be available Tuesday.
- You can upgrade to the new OS X Mavericks starting yesterday. And it's free, if you're upgrading from any version as old as Snow Leopard. (Wondering about that name? Mavericks is named after a beach in California, which is named after a dog. The bad punctuation is apparently a surfer thing, or something. Also, no more big cat names from Apple, apparently.) Look into iCloud Keychain, a new password keeper that promises to store your password and credit card information securely and in sync on each of your Apple devices.
- Tons of Apple apps are updated, or soon will be. The list includes Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iPhoto, iMovie and Garageband — both the iOS version, for iPhones, iPods and iPads, and the versions for desktop and laptop Macs.
The headline for me was how much of the software upgrades are available for free.
And apparently not announced during the session, but no less interesting, was a software upgrade for iPhones, iPods and iPads. iOS 7.0.3 includes iCloud Keychain and fixes problems with iMessage, iWork apps, accelerometers on some iPhone models and more.