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Meet the iPad Air – Thinner, Lighter, Powerful and Ready by Christmas

October 22 Apple introduced the world to a new, thinner, lighter, more powerful and easier to hold iPad, promising that it will hit the shops well before the end-of-year holidays.

Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, presented the new iPad Air at the end of a 2-1/2 hour presentation in San Francisco that was streamed to a global public, who had waited through presentations of Mac Pro desktops, a new operating system, laptops and apps, for the piece de resistance – the latest version of Apple’s groundbreaking iPad tablet.

“iPad is used over four times more than all other tablets put together,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said, reminding people watching the presentation that 170 million iPads have been sold in the tablet’s 3-1/2 years of existence.

But despite the iPad’s success, Apple has not rested on its laurels and has tried constantly to improve on its iconic product – partly because its market share in tablet sales has dropped sharply in the past year, falling from 60 percent in the second quarter of 2012 to 33 percent in the same period this year, as more players enter the tablet market, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch.

The new iPad Air tries to win back loyal followers with its sleekness, power and ease of use. It weighs just 1 pound (453 grams), which is 28 percent less than its 1.4 pound (640 gram) predecessor, making it the lightest full-sized tablet in the world, Schiller said.

It is also 20 percent thinner than the fourth generation iPad, and, with a narrower bezel on the edges, is easier and more comfortable to hold, Schiller said.

Alongside the new iPad Air, Apple also unveiled an iPad Mini with a Retina display that brings the sharp images from the full-size, 9.7-inch (25 centimeter) iPad to the smaller Mini’s 7.9-inch (20 centimeter) display.

Both of the new iPads feature the 64-bit Apple-designed A7 chip, which, because it is highly energy-efficient, allows the battery of the tablets to be even smaller. That translates into weight and size savings while maintaining the 10-hour battery life that iPad users have grown to love, Apple said.

The iPad Air will be available in 42 countries as of Nov. 1, with prices starting at $499 in the United States. The Mini will be rolled out later in November (Apple didn’t say what day), and will cost $399 and up in the United States.

Among the other products that were rolled out October 22 were the Mavericks operating system, which is available immediately and is free to owners and purchasers of Mac and iOS devices, and new MacBook Pro laptops and Mac Pro desktop computers, which are also priced for less than the computers they would replace, even though they bring new technology and features to consumers’ fingertips.

More apps fattened up Apple’s App Store, which is already bursting at the seams with around 475,000 apps available to users. Apps that were rolled out included a virtual drummer who can make an ordinary guitar riff uploaded to Garage Band sound like a jam session with The Who, and new spreadsheet and presentation apps in the iWork family.

All of the new Apple products will hit shop shelves and websites well before Christmas, with many of the updated hardware and software products available immediately, Apple said.

With the new line of iPads coming hard on the heels of two iPhones launched last month, and with less expensive, upgraded Mac hardware being rolled out October 22, “Apple is clearly going for blood this holiday season,” wrote tech reporter Chris Velazco on the techcrunch.com website.

“Black Friday is going to be crazy this year,” wrote an Apple fan as he watched the live-stream of the launch online, referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving, when US retailers hold massive sales.

The Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch said the new iPads “may help Apple maintain its lead in the global tablet market”, noting that the US company “has lost some share over the past year to cheaper rival devices” from companies like Samsung, Lenovo and Acer.

Apple shares were around $1.38 down on their opening price of the day in after-hours trading, at $519.83. 

2013-10-23, RIA Novosti.

Keywords: gadgets, Apple, iPad

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