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From the iPad Air 2 to a new iMac to OS X Yosemite, here is a rundown of the most important Apple news
Apple today introduced a slew of new hardware products that will undoubtedly keep Apple retail stores buzzing in the weeks to come. From a new iPad Air to an impressive new 27-inch iMac with a Retina Display, Apple fans in search of new hardware will have no shortage of products to choose from. On top of that, Apple on Thursday also made a number of notable software announcements.
That said, here is a look at the most important hardware and software announcements that Apple delivered during its special media event last week.
Apple Pay goes live on October 20
Apple Pay may very well go on to revolutionize how we make payments. Not only is the service extremely secure, it's also exceedingly simple to use. Yesterday, Apple announced that its highly anticipated mobile payments platform will go live on Monday, October 20.
New iPad Air 2
Apple yesterday announced the next-gen model, the iPad Air 2. Impressively, the new iPad Air is even thinner than the original and comes with a less reflective display. Other features include a blazing-fast A8X processor, Touch ID, an enhanced iSight camera capable of taking 1080p HD video and 43-megapixel panoramas, faster Wi-Fi and LTE speeds, and the ability to make in-app mobile purchases via Apple Pay.
27-inch iMac with Retina Display
If there was ever a product to leave video and photo professionals drooling, this is the one. Apple's new 27-inch iMac features a 5K Retina Display sporting a 5210x2880 pixel display. That's approximately 14.7 million pixels, enough for Apple to confidently call it the "world's highest-resolution display." The new iMac is impressively thin and uses less energy than its predecessor, an impressive feat given the machine's powerful and jaw-dropping display.
OS X Yosemite now available for free
OS X Yosemite, Apple's next-gen desktop OS, is now available as a free download via the Mac App Store. OS X Yosemite delivers a host of new features, from continuity features like Handoff to improved Safari performance and a whole lot more.
iOS 8.1 available on Monday
iOS 8.1, Apple's first major update to iOS 8, will be available for download this coming Monday. Notably, the update will deliver support for Apple Pay, which, not coincidentally, goes live that same day. The release promises to deliver a host of performance improvements along with the return of the Camera Roll, which Apple curiously removed from the initial version of iOS 8.
Apple's new iMac is blazing fast
In addition to an incredible and groundbreaking new display, Apple has jam packed its new 27-inch iMac with impressive internals. A 1TB fusion drive and 8GB of RAM now come standard. Further, the machine comes equipped with a base-level 3.5GHz Intel i5 processor. Users hoping for even more speed can upgrade to a 4GHz i7 Intel processor. This high-tech machine won't come cheap, though. The starting price point checks in at $2,499. While expensive, it's still a good deal for that type of display.
WatchKit, the SDK for developers to create Apple Watch apps, will be rolled out next month. Apple still doesn't have a firm release date for the Apple Watch, but the impending release of WatchKit is a good indication that the release date will, as promised, fall sometime in early 2015.
iPad Air 2’s impressive new camera capabilities
In addition to being exceedingly fast, the iPad 2 camera has seriously improved from the previous version. The new iSight camera can take burst mode photos, time lapse video, and slow-mo video as well. What's more, the new FaceTime camera lets in 80% more light, features improved face detection, and supports HDR video.
iPhone 6 continues to set sales records
With the iPhone 6 slated to go on sale in China this Friday, Tim Cook noted that the iPhone 6 has already set a new 30-day order record, putting the iPhone 6 on pace to be Apple's most popular and successful model to date. While Cook didn't divulge any specific numbers, we'll have more detailed iPhone sales information once Apple reports its earnings for the quarter gone by next Monday.
iPad Mini 3 now has Touch ID
Apple didn't spend too much time talking about the iPad Mini 3, aside from mentioning that the iPad Mini overall has an impressive 100% customer satisfaction ratio. The lone enhancement to the iPad Mini 3 is that Apple's diminutive tablet now comes with Touch ID. A small but still noteworthy upgrade.
iPad Air 2 features an Apple SIM card with multi-carrier support
Apple's new iPad Air 2 comes equipped with an Apple SIM card. This is a great addition as it allows users to switch data plans between AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile depending on which carrier happens to have the best cellular plan at the moment. Apple's website reads, "The Apple SIM gives you the flexibility to choose from a variety of short-term plans from select carriers in the U.S and UK right on your iPad."
Apple Pay has more retail and banking support
With Apple Pay set to go live on October 20, Apple announced that it has partnered with a number of additional retailers. Apple also announced that mobile apps Lyft, Airbnb, and OpenTable, among others, have added built-in support for Apple Pay. Just as important, Apple announced that 500 more banks have signed on to support Apple Pay in the coming months.
New Mac Minis
It's been an insanely long time since Apple last updated the Mac Mini, over two years in fact. Thankfully, that all changed yesterday when Apple announced a brand new Mac Mini featuring 4th-gen Intel processors, bolstered graphics performance, faster Wi-Fi, two Thuderbolt 2 ports, and more. Priced at $499, the newest Mac Mini is available for order today.
Lowest-cost iPad will remain available
Apple still has plans to sell the original iPad Air along with both the iPad Mini 1 and iPad Mini 2. Notably, the original iPad Mini will be available for just $249, making it the cheapest iPad model Apple has ever made available for sale.
Apple has sold 225 million iPads so far
Though growth has slowed a bit lately, iPad sales remain strong. Tim Cook announced today that iPad sales thus far have topped 225 million units. Moreover, Apple boasted that it shipped more iPads last year than any other manufacturer shipped PCs.
iWork available for free
Apple's latest version of iWork, which includes new versions of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, is now available as a free download from the Mac App Store.