Apple has unveiled a series of new devices that are essentially upgrades to their existing line. Free software was the biggest shock to come out of the press event and puts Apple on an even more direct collision course with Google.
The world tends to wait with baited breath for new Apple news. Devices like the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, as well the MacBook Air have broken records and trod new ground in the technology sector. However, as this year’s press event shows, they can’t always come up with something entirely new. 2013 is definitely the year of improvement for some products and miniaturisation for others.
While these are important steps in a technology lifecycle, they are perhaps not as exciting and inspiring as the launch of a bleeding edge design.
The iPad Air may be marketed as a new device but, in reality, it is a combination of both iPad and MacBook Air: two devices that have proven extremely popular and successful for Apple. There’s also some elements of the latest iPhone 5S thrown in for good measure.
The iPad Air is an impressively svelte 7.5mm thin and weighs just 1lb. It utilises the same A7 chip found in the iPhone 5S and while it may sound underpowered to use the chip from a smartphone in a tablet, the 64 bit processor is way ahead of any apps, software, or tablet demands currently on the market so it is still more than powerful enough for the new device.
A new iPad Mini was also launched. This has an improved Retina display, which many were disappointed was not included in the first device, and that puts it on a par with similar Android devices.
One announcement that was particularly noteworthy was that of Apple offering free software. The latest version of the Mac operating system, called Mavericks, will be offered for free to anybody that has purchased a version of the Mac OS since 2009.
New Mac owners will also gain free access to software and tools like iMovie, GarageBan, and iWork.
This free software move means that Apple are taking a step towards a business model that is more like Google’s. Google offers a free OS in the shape of the Chrome OS and they also provide free productivity software, albeit all online. It does mean that owning and updating Apple software will prove less expensive than it would with Windows software, so it could eat into Microsoft’s profits more than Google’s.