Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Little Something to Share Event

Apple sent out invites to the press and in an atypical move decided to live stream the event. I certainly hope they continue to do this going forward. It makes it much easier for me to cover as a blogger. They started with the numbers. More than 5 million iPhones were sold on opening weekend. Over 200 million devices are running iOS 6, making it the fastest upgrade rate in history. Over 125 million documents have been uploaded and stored in the cloud in the last year. iMessage users have sent 300 billion messages in the last year. Currently iMessage averages about 28,000 messages per second. Over 70 million photos shared with Photo Stream sharing. Finally in the area of numbers Mac has out grown PC for six straight years. Apple now has the number one desktop and the number one notebook computer in the US. Apple has also been rated number one in satisfaction and reliability. In new news Apple is releasing a new version of iBooks for the iPad. In addition to the traditional page turn they have now added a continuous scroll option for those who would prefer vertical scrolling. Ties to iCloud have been improved with better bookmark syncing and the ability to update books. Also with new social media features quotes can be shared with Twitter and Facebook. iBooks also now has support for 40 languages. Also iBooks Author has been updated with additional themes and the ability to embed fonts. Apple started with revving the 13” Macbook Pro dropping one pound of weight, adding dual microphones, dual Thunderbolt, and USB 3 ports. Also adding a Retina Display to the line up and tossing in an HDMI port. Now apple has two Retina Display notebooks in the lineup making them both the highest resolution laptops made. The 13” display has a resolution of 2560x1600 with four times the pixels as the previous model. The new display has a 178 degree viewing angle, and with the new laminating process glare is reduced by 75%. The 13” comes with an Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated graphics card and no discrete graphics card like its 15” sibling. The new 13” has shed some weight, thickness and the optical drive. The updated Mac mini gets the Ivy Bridge architecture with an Intel HD Graphics 4000 card, USB 3, up to 1TB hard drive or 256GB of Flash storage, and Bluetooth was upgraded to 4.0. Entry price $599 and the server version is $999 with 2 1TB hard drives. The Mac mini is the most energy efficient desktop made today. The iMac is truly a thin, fast, and drool worthy machine. Sporting an incredibly thin 5mm edge and utilizing a process called friction stir welding to fuse the back and chin of the machine together. Friction stir welding is apparently a method used in aero space, and other industries. Also by making the screen thinner and removing the air gap between the glass and the LCD panel improves color, reduces glare, and makes the over all image look better. To top it off Apple is now color calibrating each individual panel in the factory. Finally they have added dual microphones to the iMac for beam forming. The system supports up to 32GB of RAM and up to a 3TB hard drive or 768 GB of Flash. The Apple Fusion Drive is a build to order option on the new iMac. It pairs a 128 GB Flash drive and 1 to 3 TB of spinning storage to take advantage of the speed gains of SSD while keeping the large capacities of traditional hard drives. There is some software magic going on under the hood with this device. According to Apple Mountain Lion evaluates and moves programs and data between the flash storage and the hard drive to optimize performance. According to the benchmark numbers the Apple Fusion drive is only slightly slower than an SSD alone. Hopefully it will be nothing like the disappointing hybrid drives we have seen from Seagate. Finally even with more power and a brighter screen Apple has managed to reduce the power consumption of the iMac by 50%. 100 million iPads have been sold since the launch of iPad in 2010. 2,500 schools are using iBooks in their curriculum as replacements for standard text books. Over 80% of the High School Core curriculum is now available on iBooks. Apple introduced a minor update to iBooks Author to include embedding of fonts, new templates, a mathematical expressions module and multi-touch widgets. The iBooks app itself now includes updates so books can be updated after they have been downloaded to a device. In a stunning move Apple introduced a 4th generation iPad just seven months after the launch of the retina iPad 3rd generation. With a beefed up A6X CPU, improved graphics chip, FaceTime HD Camera, expanded LTE capabilities, improved wifi performance using MIMO, and sporting the new compact lightning connector. It doesn’t seem like a huge update just an incremental change mostly aimed at getting rid of the aging dock connector. The new 4th generation iPad is priced at the same price point as the previous iPad. Also new adapters were announced a USB, Secure Digital, HDMI, and VGA to lightning connectors. No surprise at all is the new iPad Mini. With an all new design it is as thin as a pencil and weighs the same as a pad of paper at .68 lbs. LIke the iPhone it is available in white/silver or black/slate. It is a 7.9” diagonal screen with a resolution of 1024x768. It is the same pixel count as the iPad 2 in a smaller form factor. This is a 162 pixel per inch display which isn’t quiet retina. It seems strange as Apple pushes retina displays into every product the newest one is missing a retina screen. It is also interesting they didn’t take the opportunity to make the Mini-iPad a 16:9 screen. It was never mentioned if either of the new iPads contain beam forming microphones to improve performance of audio pickup for Siri and dictation. All new Apple products in the handheld or tablet categories are at least coming with Siri.