At their special live event this morning, Apple made a number of exciting announcements regarding the next Mac operating system, the next generation of iPads, and the highly anticipated new Mac Pro desktop computer. After taking an extended moment to remind everyone just how great the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are doing after their initial launch last month and just how much we all love them, not to mention the new iOS 7 operating system, Apple got right down to everything we were hoping to hear, and then some.
The first real announcement of the morning came in the form of OS X Mavericks, Apple’s tenth operating system for desktop computers. Big improvements to the new OS will include better power efficiency, an enhanced system memory, and integrated graphics that are more fully optimized for the platform. Compressed memory in OS X Mavericks will now allow users to run more applications at the same time than ever before without experiencing a slowdown, while the new memory will give users an extra hour of internet browsing and an hour-and-a-half of watching iTunes movies on a single charge.
A new map app and iBooks will also be debuting alongside OS X Mavericks, in addition to a highly refined implementation of system notifications. But Apple is doing more than just upping the desktop operating system to sophisticated new levels, as they’re also taking aim at revolutionizing pricing. And to prove that point, Apple has announced that OS X Mavericks will be available completely for free to all Mac desktop users, whether they are currently running last year’s Mountain Lion operating system, or even as far back as Snow Leopard. In a single-step update, all users will be able to upgrade to OS X Mavericks starting today.
Next on the agenda was the hardware updates to Apple’s hugely successful line of Macbook Pro notebook computers. The new 13″ Macbook Pro models will be both lighter and thinner than their predecessors and will retail for $1,299. Conversely, the new generation of 15″ Macbook Pro computers will be sold at a reduced price of $1,999. Both notebook computers will also begin shipping today.
Next up was a real doozy: the new Mac Pro desktop computer. After showing off the sleek and innovative design of the stunning new hardware, which looks like a shiny black cylinder, it was time to get into the specifics of what kind of power actually resides inside of that beast of a computer. The next-generation Mac Pro will include a Xeon E5 processor, the fastest ECC memory ever put inside of a Mac, and standard dual-workstation graphics. The storage inside the machine is completely Flash-based, which Apple claims will be ten times faster than any kind of hard drive that could possibly be added into the machine. The new Mac Pro will cost $2,999, and is going to be available to the public sometime in December 2013.
Following the big Mac Pro announcement, we also learned that Apple has been working on new versions of their popular apps like iPhoto, iFilm, and Garage Band, which have all been completely redesigned to support iOS 7 and OS X Maverick. All of these updated apps are part of the newly branded iLife, and will be available for free starting today to any Apple device owner. Popular productivity apps that are a part of iWork are also getting the massive update and free treatment today as well, and finally adding in the much-asked for feature of collaboration across different Mac devices and via cloud storage.
To finish up the morning of colossal announcements, Apple closed out their event with one of the most anticipated news pieces that we mobile gamers have been waiting for: the next generation of full-size iPads with the iPad Air. Dramatically thinner across the entire device than any previous iteration, and weighing in at only a single pound, the iPad Air is the fastest Apple tablet in all aspects and areas of the device, and includes the Apple A7 chip that was just launched with the iPhone 5s. Giving you the choice of a silver/white or space gray/black version, the iPad Air will be available at $499 for the 16GB model, and $629 for one with cellular technology, both of which will be shipping on November 1, 2013.
A new iPad Mini with full retina display was also announced at $399 for the basic model and $529 for one with cellular technology: both of which will be available later on in November, alongside a price drop to $299 for the original iPad Mini that will be effective starting today.
Phew! I don’t know about you, but that’s certainly a whole lot of Apple awesomeness headed our way this holiday season. What new announcements are you most excited about? Be sure to let us know your thoughts on everything from OS X Mavericks, to the new Mac Pro, to iPad Air down in the replies! And so now if you don’t mind, I’m off to go update my Garage Band app on my iPad and put that new Drummer feature to good use, while I take my spot outside of the nearest retail store and begin the long wait to be among the first to get a new iPad Air.