Live blog: Apple ‘iPad mini’ expected at event

October 23, 2012

Apple is set to pull back the curtain on new products Tuesday, including what many expect will be a smaller version of the iPad. The Washington Post’s Hayley Tsukayama and Caitlin Dewey will be on hand to provide commentary on the event as it happens.

Consumers skeptical of the iPad mini, irked about the iPad 4

The iPad Mini is new, light, thin — and, according to some disgruntled consumers, either poorly timed or way too expensive. The Mini starts at $329, higher than some consumers expected (and almost twice as expensive as some comparable tablets). Apple also unveiled a 4th-generation iPad today, only seven months after the company released the iPad 3, setting off an outcry from those who had purchased the earlier version.

Dennis Berman, the Wall Street Journal’s Marketplace editor, sums up the loudest complaints about the Mini:

 

Other consumers, like this self-professed “Apple fanboy,” echoed those gripes:

 

 

 

In Apple fan forums such as MacRumors, the debate got hotter.  A 10-year MacRumors veteran named Spock complained that his new iPad 3 is already outdated: “For shame, Apple, for shame.” Ibuyufo writes only: “Screwed by Apple … again.”

Over on Reddit, discussion revolved around iPad alternatives.

When users weren’t complaining about the timing of the iPad 4 or the price of the iPad Mini, they had plenty to say about whether Apple is innovating enough and if the company stands to lose its market share.

“That’s how technology works … things can get smaller, lighter, faster, etc.,” says MacRumor commenter Alfuh. “Anyone who knows Apple would have expected that … does that sound innovative to you?” 

But for every hater, there are plenty of Apple fans anxious to get the latest gadget in their hands. 

 

So what’s the general consensus on Apple’s latest device? Only time — and holiday sales numbers — will tell. 

Apple share price plummets during event

Apple’s share price fell dramatically during the launch event, plunging more when the company announced the price of the iPad mini.

As of 2:30 p.m., Eastern, the company’s stock is down nearly 2.5 percent — more than $15 –  and falling.

Consumers, meanwhile, may be reeling from the news that Apple is updating the iPad just six months after the company introduced the third-generation of its tablet. Apple has been releasing an updated iPad every year. This shortened product cycle already isn’t sitting well with people who just shelled out $499 or more for the old “new iPad.”

 

 

Apple event captures global audience

It may be too soon to tell how many people tuned into Apple’s live-stream today, but the hash tags #appleevent and #keynote trended worldwide on Twitter — meaning that, in the narrow world of Twitter, at least, a whole lot of people were listening.

According to the Twitter analytics site Trendsmap.com, most #apple tweeters were, unsurprisingly, in the United States, Europe, South Africa and Central America. Another analytics site, Hashtag.org, estimates that 40,000 tweets were sent about Apple in the hour before the press conference even began.

 

Tim Cook back on stage

Tim Cook is back on the stage, highlighting all of the company’s accomplishments for the year.

“We told you earlier this year that you’d see some incredible innovation from Apple across the year, innovation only Apple can deliver. We think we kept our promise and I hope you agree,” he said. Now he’s  taking the audience back through the company’s releases of the year: the iPhone 5, the new iPods, iOS 6, Mountain Lion, notebook refreshes, new iPads and a new iMac.

“It has been an incredible year, with all of these new products and all these applications and cloud services, this has been a truly prolific year for Apple,” Cook said, before extending a big shout-out to his team.

Annnnnd that’s a wrap! Thanks for reading!

Cue the adorable ad for the iPad mini

Apple’s showing a TV spot for the iPad, and it’s oh-too-sweet: a larger iPad is laying down the bass part for “Heart and Soul” while the iPad mini is sitting side-by-side and taking the treble line.

iPad mini is $329

The iPad mini will cost $329, which is far more than the competitors’ price point of $199. Pre-orders start on Friday, and the WiFI versions will ship Nov. 2.

The cellular versions will ship two weeks later, first to the United States, then to international markets.

The iPad 2 will remain part of the company’s line-up, and — as we mentioned before — the 4th-generation iPad is priced the same as the new iPad at $499 and up.

Thoughts on the iPad mini’s design

In a promotional video, Apple is showing off colored cases for the iPad mini, putting it in the hands of everyday people, such as doctors, construction workers, etc.

They’re making a lot of the fact that it’s easy to hold in one hand, and talking up the company’s book and magazine library — this product will be appealing to commuters.

“There is inherent loss in just reducing a product in size,” said Apple’s design guru Jony Ive in the promotional video. Apple purposely reduced the bezel around the display to make sure that users could use the device comfortably in one hand, Ive said.

The company has also designed new smart covers for the device that are made of one piece of material, not with an aluminum hinge.

 

 

More specs for the iPad mini

A quick rundown of specs:

  • dual-core A5 processor
  • FaceTime HD front-side camera
  • 5 MP iSight camera on the back
  • LTE (yes, LTE)
  • Lightning connector
  • 10-hour battery life

Taking a dig at Google

Others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad, Schiller said, “and they have failed miserably.”

Comparing the iPad mini directly to Google’s Nexus 7, Schiller said that Apple’s mini screen is more than one-third larger than the 7-inch diagonal screen of the Nexus 7, making for better Web browsing.

“You can see a huge difference. The iPad mini is about 50 percent larger for surfing the Web” in the portrait orientation. It’s “two-thirds” larger in landscape, he claims.

He also took a dig at the tablet apps on competitors’ devices, saying that they’ve been simply scaled and stretched to fit those screens rather than built specifically for them.

iPad mini specs


Phil Schiller talks about the iPad mini. Image courtesy of VentureBeat.

The iPad mini is as “thin as a pencil,” Schiller said, and is over 53 percent lighter than the full-size iPad. By comparison, he said, it’s as “light as a pad of paper.”

Same resolution as first- and second-generation iPad: 1,024 pixels by 768 pixels.

The screen is 7.9-inches, a size that Schiller said the company picked because it gives the smaller iPad the same dimensions as the iPad mini, which will be good for developers.

Schiller said that it works well in portrait and landscape orientations, and he plays up the ability to use Facetime, read magazines and use apps such as those in the iWork and iLife apps.

And here it is — the iPad mini

Apple just unveiled a smaller iPad, dubbed the iPad mini, which Schiller holds in one hand.

The iPad design is different from the current iPad, with rounded aluminum corners — very similar in form to the iPod Touch.

Photos of the iPad Mini

As expected, Apple just announced its much-anticipated fourth-generation iPad or iPad mini. Some photos:

New iPad will have Lightning connector

The New iPad will also have a Lightning connector. It comes in black and white and has the same configurations as the iPad released, oh, just six months ago.

The pricing remains the same, with the 16GB, WiFI version starting at $499.

Fourth-generation of the iPad

Phil Schiller back on stage to talk about the fourth-generation iPad.

It has a new processor, the A6X chip to bring faster performance, which Apple says will soundly whip the competition.

“I can’t even see them in the rear-view mirror,” Schiller quipped.

The new iPad will still have 10 hours of battery life, will update FaceTime to support HD video and global LTE, meaning that it will have LTE access in more countries around the world.

94 percent of Fortune 500 deploying iPad

Cook is also talking about the company’s move into the enterprise space, saying that 94 percent of Fortune 500 companies are using iPads in their businesses.

 

Cook talks up the iPad as a learning tool

Tim Cook is on stage again, talking about how great the iPad has been for students.

Cook is citing a quote from a Texas superintendent who has said that the device has revolutionized the way that students work with textbooks, calling back to the company’s January launch of the iBooks editor for textbooks.

Cook said there are currently 2500 U.S. classrooms with iBooks textbooks.


Apple has sold 100 million iPads

Yep. Tim Cook is back on stage, saying they sold more iPads in the June quarter than any PC manufacturer sold from their entire lineup.

In case you missed that, Apple’s sold 100 million iPads.

More on the iMac

Apple is also unveiling a new technology known as the Fusion Drive, which is a hybrid hard drive that has 128 GB of flash memory and will let you plug in either a 1 TB HD or 3TB HDD. The computer will read this as a single volume, and should give you the “performance of Flash” without having to fuss with anything else.

If you want an optical drive, you can buy one to plug into your USB posts.

The new iMac will start at $1299, while the 27-inch Mac will cost $1799.

Photos of the new iMac

The new iMac is thin — a mere five millimeters wide. Tweets TechCrunch columnist MG Siegler:

 

Here are some photos of the slimmed-down iMac:

New iMac

Schiller is just whipping through these product announcements.

Apple’s also unveiling a new iMac, which had needed an update for a while. And, boy, did Apple deliver. The new computer is unbelievably thin, something Apple achieved by laminating the display and making it 45 percent thinner. Overall, the computer itself is 80 percent thinner.

The company also eliminated thickness by getting rid of the optical drive — apologies to those who like discs.

The computer comes in 27-inch and 21.5-inch displays, which Schiller said are individually calibrated.

The computers aren’t just thin, they also have a FaceTime camera, dual microphones and have an Intel quad-core Ivy Bridge processor,and the option to have a 3 TB hard drive.

On the back, the computer sports a headphone jack, SD card, four USB 3.0 ports and a Thunderbolt port plus a spot for Gigabyte ethernet.

Microsoft, Verizon vie for Apple’s Twitter hype

Tim Cook isn’t the only one expecting a sales bump from today’s Apple mania. Several other technology firms have tried to get in on the action by sponsoring Twitter hashtags related to the event. Try searching #apple, and this tweet from Verizon shows up.

On Monday, Microsoft also sponsored Apple-related tweets to advertise its new tablet, Surface.

Mac mini is here!

“You knew there was something with ‘mini’ in this presentation, right?”

Schiller revealed the Mac Mini at top speed, saying that it has a 2.5 Ghz dual-core i5 processor with 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive for $599. It also has USB 3 ports and an Intel HD Graphics 400 card.

You can upgrade to a 1 TB hard drive or a 256 GB solid-state drive.

There’s also a server ediciton for $999 with two 1TB hard drives that ships today.

Prices for MacBooks

Just in case you were curious about how the MacBook 13-inch laptop measures up on price, here’s a quick overview of the prices of Mac laptops right now:

  • MacBook Air starts at $999, up to $1,499.
  • MacBook Pros start at $1,199 and to through $2,199.
  • The Pros with Retina display go from $1699 to $2,799.

More MacBook Pro

Schiller is showing off the inside of the MacBook Pro, as well. The computer packs an i5 or i7 Ivy Bridge processor and an Intel graphics card.

It also has the dictation features and iCloud features that came with the latest version of Mac OS X, as well as the Power Nap feature that will update your contacts, etc., through iCloud while the computer is asleep.

The computer starts at $1,699, for a 2.5Hz dual-core i5, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of flash memory. It ships today.

13-inch retina Macbook Pro


Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of marketing, talks about the new 13-inch MacBook pro. Image courtesy of VentureBeat.

Schiller introduced the 13-inch retina display MacBook Pro, which he called an update to the company’s most popular notebook.

At .75-inches thick, Schiller said that it’s 20 percent thinner than its predecessor. The notebooks comes with a Mag-Safe 2 port, two Thunderbolt ports, a USB 3 port, headphone port and dual-microphones. It also packs an HDMI port and an SD card reader. it also has a Facetime camera and, Schiller said, better speakers.

But the true selling point of this computer is, of course, the screen, with over 4 million pixels.

“It’s the *second* higest resolution notebook display,” Schiller said, noting — of course — that the 15-inch MacBook Pro comes in ahead of this one.

 

“Surfing the Web can be like a fine-print magazine,” he said.

Onto the Mac!

Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of marketing, is on the stage, saying it’s a very “big day for the Mac.”

Before he left the stage, Cook was quick to point out that the Mac is outstripping the growth in the PC Market — up 15 percent from the previous year as compared to 2 percent for the general market.

A new version of iBooks


Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about iBooks. Image courtesy of VentureBeat.

Cook is also taking this opportunity to give us a walkthrough of iBooks, essentially Apple’s answer to the Kindle store.

Starting today, Apple is going to release an update to the iBooks app that will include fonts for Korean and Japanese, and has continuous scrolling. It’s also integrated with iCloud, so you can mark your progress consistently between devices.

Moving on to the iTunes store

Apple has 275,000 iPad apps right now.

“There apps are not stretched-out smartphone apps,” Cook said, but rather apps that have been built specifically for the tablet itself.

Consumers have now downloaded 35 billion apps to users, and the company has paid out $6.5 billion to its developers.

Apple’s native tablet apps have been a major selling point for the iPad, as many of the apps on Google’s Play store are converted smartphone apps that don’t look as good on larger tablet screens.

125 million documents in iCloud, Cook says

Cook said that iCloud has been a big success for the company since its launch last year.

Not only have consumers stored 125 million documents in iCloud, they’ve also sent more than 300 billion iMessages. Cook said that works out to 28,000 messages per second — “maybe more right now,” he quipped, prompting laughs from the audience.

Users have also shared 70 million photos through iOS 6 photo streams, he said.

CEO Tim Cook takes the stage

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has the stage and is talking up the company’s last releases — the updated iPod Touch and the iPhone 5.

The company has already sold over 3 million iPod Touch units, Cook said. “We think they’ll make incredible holiday gifts.”

The company also already has 200 million devices running iOS 6, Apple’s latest mobile operating system.

“This is the fastest upgrade rate” of any software upgrade in history, he said.

Large crowd outside the California Theatre

The crowd is thick outside San Jose’s California Theatre, where reporters, bloggers and more than a few curious passerby have gathered for today’s big Apple announcement. Thanks to Apple’s live-stream, you can peak inside the theater yourself. But here are a few photos from outside the venue:


Apple is live-streaming, but…

Apple is live-streaming today’s event on its own site — but only to people using Apple devices. You can head to Apple.com for the video as it happens, but stick around with Caitlin Dewey and me for context and analysis of what’s happening on stage.

To view Apple’s stream, you’ll need to watch over Safari on a Mac running Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) or later version You can also tune in through an iOS device, if you’re running iOS 4.2 or later. Apple TV users with software of 5.0.2 or later can tune in through a special Apple events channel.

This is the first time Apple’s live-streamed a product event in two years — the last time was the Back to the Mac event in October 2010.

How Apple’s iPad mini may stack up against the competition

Everything about Apple’s expected iPad mini — from its price to whether it actually exists —  is still mostly an unknown, but that hasn’t stopped speculation for a minute. 

What we think we know about the rumored smaller iPad is that it will have a 7.85-inch screen, will run on Apple’s A5 chip and likely won’t have a retina display. Fuzzier details have emerged on a price — somewhere between $250 and $329 — and whether the tablet will have the capability to connect to cellular networks.

So how does that mashup of rumors compare to the competition?

First, let’s take a look at the field. There are plenty of 7-inch tablets out there, but Apple has a handful of rivals. There’s the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s heavyweight in this space that tore out of the gate last year and got a fresh update just a few weeks ago. There’s also the Google  Nexus 7, a smaller tablet that plugs straight into Google’s ecosystem that the company released in June.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet, which has hooked readers and Samsung’s two main tablets, the 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and Galaxy 7.7, are also in the mix  for top iPad competitors.

On price, the rumors flying about the mini iPad don’t come anywhere near the $199 low benchmark set by Amazon, Google and Barnes & Noble. If it makes the smaller iPad as expensive as $329, the company will have a harder time attracting any buyers on the fence about a tablet, though it does come in below the LTE versions of the Galaxy tablets.

If Apple does include the ability to connect to cellular networks, it will make it a more attractive buy than the Nook, Nexus or Fire, which are all WiFi only.

The iPad mini will also be slightly larger than the other small tablets, which gives users a bit more screen real estate for reading, watching video and running their favorite apps. It’s also likely that Apple will have come up with a smart way to scale down the apps designed for the full iPad for the smaller tablet — similar to the way it handled scaling from the iPhone 4S’s 3.5-inch screen to the iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen.

Other factors that will be important to consider include the weight, thickness and battery life of the tablet, but it’s hard to know what those will be until the “iPad mini” is official.

 

A look at what Apple’s expected to unveil today


Apple, of course, is expected to announce a new iPad today that’s smaller than its current 9.7-inch tablet.The tech press has nicknamed the device the “iPad mini,” though blogger John Gruber from Daring Fireball has made his case for “iPad Air.”.The smaller iPad is expected to have a 7.85-inch screen and to run on Apple’s A5 chip. It’s not expected to have the “retina display” that Apple has put on its other top-of-the-line products. Tech bloggers are also expecting the tablet to have the ability to connect o cellular networks, which would give it a leg up over low-priced competitors such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7.

Speaking of price, the iPad mini is expected to have a price somewhere between $250 and $329, which would put it way above Amazon and Google’s $199 price points. Priced that high, Apple may have trouble enticing new consumers or convincing those with existing Apple devices to shell out the money for yet another one.

Apple is also expected to refresh at least some of its Mac lines, including the Mac Mini and and MacBook Pro. Rumor has it that the MacBook Pro’s 13-inch model will get the retina display makeover it’s 15-inch sibling had in June.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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David Beard | October 21, 2012