Some observers may have wondered why Apple would continue to sell the iPad 2 for $399 after announcing the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini on Tuesday. The answer, according to new research from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, is because customers are still buying the two-year old tablet.
The iPad 2 accounted for some 22 percent of iPad sales in the September quarter, down significantly from prior quarters, but it appears there is still more than enough demand for a cheaper, full-size iPad, particularly for the education sector.
"Despite this quarter including back-to-school sales, the iPad 2, which accounted for a third of sales for the prior six months, seems to have started to show some age, after several strong quarters," said Josh Lowitz, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. "Yet, the iPad Mini continued its relative share in the past few quarters, as customers seem to continue to like it as a low-price tablet alternative."
The full-size iPad 4 remained the most popular iPad in the quarter, accounting for nearly half of total sales in the U.S., while CIRP says the iPad mini tallied about a third of sales.
Apple's new iPad lineup sees the older iPad mini starting at $299, the new Retina iPad mini and the full-size iPad 2 available for $399, and the new iPad air beginning at $499.
As part of its efforts to ensure that all eligible software owners are able to upgrade to the latest versions of its software on the Mac App Store, Apple is intentionally allowing users with any version of Aperture, iLife and iWork installed on their system to upgrade to the latest versions on the Mac App Store -- even illegally acquired or trial versions.
In order to ensure that no legitimate software owners are left behind, according to MacTrast, Apple has eliminated its legacy software update mechanism entirely and is instead pushing all software updates onto the Mac App Store.
According to a MacTrast source at Apple:
It’s no coincidence that Apple’s support site doesn’t have downloads for the new Aperture, iWork, and iLife updates. They aren’t in our Software Update system either – and there’s a good reason for that. With Mavericks, we have changed the way we distribute updates for legacy versions of our apps
Rather than maintain separate updates for these in addition to the Mac App Store versions of each app, Apple has decided to eliminate their legacy software update system for apps entirely. Instead, when Mavericks discovers legacy apps installed on your Mac, it provisions them as a Mac App Store purchase using your Apple ID. It saves us a lot of time, effort, and bandwidth. After the provision is complete, it will appear in your Mac App Store history as though you have purchased the Mac App Store version of the app.
While we are aware that this enables piracy of our apps for unethical users, Apple has never taken a strong stance or action against piracy in the past. We like to believe that our users are honest, even if that belief is in vain.
When the new apps were released on the Mac App Store, many users with legitimate copies were unable to upgrade to the latest versions, though many users who were having difficulties seem to be able to upgrade now.
As a result of Apple's changes, all users with older versions of Aperture, iWork or iLife installed -- even if acquired through less-than-ethical means -- should be able to upgrade to the latest versions through the Mac App Store.
Apple debuted a number of videos at its special event yesterday and it has now posted a number of them on YouTube.
Before introducing the company's newest iPads, Tim Cook ran this 'Life on iPad' spot "to celebrate our customer's creativity and genius in using their iPads." The two-minute film shows the iPad being used in a wide variety of different situations, including in a surgery suite, by musicians, firefighters, tourists, football players, and many more.
No Apple product launch would be complete without a Jony Ive-led video showcasing how much detail and thought went into the design of the new product, and the iPad Air is no exception. The videos are so iconic that they have been endlessly parodied in commercials and on late-night comedy shows.
Finally, the company produced a new television ad for the iPad Air in keeping with the theme from the keynote that the iPad can be used for a limitless variety of tasks. The ad, called 'Pencil', starts with a pencil on a desk, with a voiceover suggesting the ad is about that simple writing implement. At the end, the new iPad Air is revealed from behind it.
It's an extremely simple tool, but also extremely powerful. It can be used to start a poem, or finish a symphony.
It has transformed the way we work, learn, create, share. It's used to illustrate things, solve things, and think of new things.
It's used by scientists and artists, scholars and students. It's been to classrooms, boardrooms, expeditions, even to space.
And we can't wait to see where you'll take it next. Introducing the thinner, lighter, more powerful iPad Air.
We've posted the last film, about the production process behind the Mac Pro, in a separate article that more closely examines the process.
[Update]: As pointed out by Mashable, the narrating voice of the "Pencil" TV ad for the iPad Air is none other than Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston.
Following Apple’s iPad-centric event where the company unveiled its latest iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, event attendees have been able to go hands-on with the new devices, which will be available in November. Below are some first impressions of Apple’s newest tablets, both of which feature some radical improvements.
Image courtesy of TechCrunch
According to Engadget, the iPad Air is much slimmer and lighter, but it doesn’t feel cheap. While the size differences aren’t immediately apparent, the lighter weight is noticeable and the A7 processor is a major improvement.
Naturally, iOS 7 looks great on that Retina display – but you knew that already right? What’s really notable here, however, is just how zippy things are, thanks to the inclusion of an A7 chip, the same one introduced on the iPhone 5s. You really notice that speed when launching apps like iMovie, which boots up in an an instant. With a chip like this, you should be getting around the new free version of iLife pretty swiftly.
The Verge calls the iPad Air "really beautiful," with "cleaner bezels" and a thinner profile. It’s notably faster with the A7 processor, and fits better in a single hand.
Long story short: it looks and feels like a larger (but not that much larger) iPad mini, and that’s mostly a really good thing. It’s really beautiful, with cleaner bezels, a much thinner profile, and sharper, boxier edges.
Along with the new A7 processor and a handful of under-the-hood improvements, this is just about the upgrade we expected, but more than ever the iPad Air feels like you’re just holding a big screen full of the internet. That’s probably a good thing.
SlashGear notes that there’s a definite "wow-factor" when picking up the iPad Air.
The slimmed down bezels on the sides make a considerable difference to how it feels in your hand, leaving the tablet as a whole feeling somewhere in-between the 4:3 aspect of its display and the 16:9 of most rival Android slates. There’s still enough room to grip it, however, without overlapping the display too considerably.
It’s the little details that you notice after a while, however. The chamfering to the casing where it meets the toughened glass of the fascia, for instance, or the slimline side controls and lock-switch. Unfortunately there’s no Touch ID embedded into the home button, but we can see ourselves holding the iPad Air for longer periods since the 1-pound weight is almost a third reduction on the old model.
iPad mini with Retina Display
Apple’s newest iPad mini is similar to the first iPad mini, though it is slightly thicker and heavier. Engadget didn’t notice any major changes to the feel, but did note that the processor seems faster than the original.
There isn’t much on the outside that we haven’t seen before – in fact, it still sports the same home button, indicating that it doesn’t feature Touch ID – but there is one glaring exception: the Retina display. When compared to the original iPad mini that came out last year, this is a rather significant bump in pixel density, and we came away much more impressed with the mini as a result.
According to CNET, the iPad mini feels exactly like the first generation version and looks even sharper than the full-sized iPad Air.
However, while it feels great, it’s all about that screen. And given the Mini’s smaller 7.9-inch size, it looks even sharper than the full-size iPad Air. But to take advantage of the new pixel-dense screen, you will be paying up over last year’s Mini. It’s gorgeous, though, so I’d imagine the new premium will definitely be worth it to some people.
The Verge notes that the Retina mini is noticeably faster and smoother, with sharper, more readable text.
The same 7.9-inch display now features four times the pixels, a full 2048 x 1536 resolution, which makes text sharp and readable. Just as importantly, it makes iOS 7 look much better than it does on the original iPad mini, which often feels a little out of place on lower resolutions. iOS 7 also benefits from the iPad mini’s new 64-bit A7 processor, making scrolling and everything else notably faster and smoother.
TechCrunch calls the Retina mini’s screen "excellent," noting that it will be a dramatic change for users who are coming from a first generation device.
The eye-boggling 2048 x 1536 screen looks excellent in person, and for anyone coming from a generation one device it’s going to be a dramatic change. The iPad mini itself is very slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor to accommodate the Retina Display with the same battery life, adding 0.01 inches and 0.05 pounds to the specs of the original, but that makes minimal difference to the actual feel of the product in the hand.
Apple’s iPad Air will be available beginning on November 1, while the Retina mini will come later in the month. Both tablets feature a 64-bit A7 processor, Retina screens, and ultra-thin designs.
During yesterday's media event, Apple played a video highlighting the production process for the upcoming Mac Pro, a machine that will see Apple bring Mac production back to the United States and is already seeing over 2,000 people in 20 states working on the project.
The video showed a number of steps in the production process, taking an initial chunk of aluminum and sculpting it into the shape of the Mac Pro enclosure before subjecting it polishing, anodizing, and other steps. Brief segments also provided glimpses of the massive heat sink in production and chips being placed on boards to be installed in the machine.
Product designer Greg Koenig has offered an expert overview of what exactly is shown in the video, explaining for the layperson the tools and processes Apple is using. Koenig notes that the "big story" is Apple's use of hydraulic deep draw stamping for the Mac Pro's enclosure, a process that stretches the initial chunk of aluminum into the general shape of the enclosure.
Deep drawing is a process that very efficiently produces a "net shape" part. Apple could have just chucked a giant hunk of aluminum in a lathe and created the same part, but that amount of metal removal is extremely inefficient. Deep drawing efficiently creates a hunk of metal that is very close to the final shape of a Mac Pro in just a couple of operations. After that, the Mac Pro enclosure is lathe turned to clean up the surface and achieve desired tolerance, polished, placed back in a machining center to produce the I/O, power button and chamfer features and finally anodized.
Koenig goes on to share a number of stills from the video with captions explaining what is going on in each step, including lathing, polishing, grinding, protective film application, I/O cutout milling, and anodizing.
Other stills capture production on some of the other parts of the new Mac Pro, including bead blasting of the main triangular heat sink, pick-and-place assembly of circuit boards, and parts delivery for final hand assembly of the machines themselves.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Flextronics is in the process of hiring 1,700 workers at its facilities in Austin, Texas to work on a "next generation desktop computer". That computer is presumed to be the Mac Pro, given that Apple had previously revealed the machine would be assembled in Texas, Apple and Flextronics had previously been reported to be working together on the project, and Flextronics' Austin facilities are only a mile from Apple's large and growing operations campus in the area.
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