Apple reveals iPad Air, iPad Mini, and updated iMac

We’re at the time of year when software and hardware developers are unleashing their latest and greatest tech to the world. It’s no surprise that Apple has stepped up to the plate with some new toys for Mac fanatics: a new Apple iPad Air and iPad Mini have been revealed today. In addition, the iMac has seen some pretty serious upgrades come to the forefront. As with all things Apple, the new tech is robustly powerful, stylish, and polished to a sheen.

The Apple iPad Air and iPad MiniApple iPad Air iPad Mini iMac

The new Apple iPad Mini first made its appearance in a somewhat subtle way: Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted a photo showing him making use of the new iPad Mini by writing “hello” with a stylus. This simple greeting has a storied history with Apple—it’s often used as the very first word that people see on their computers, stretching all the way back to earlier iMac models. An official announcement for the iPad Mini followed shortly thereafter.

The iPad Mini includes a 7.9″ retina display, an A12 Bionic chip, and Touch ID. Data hoarders will have plenty of space with 256GB of built-in storage. The fancier folks who like to write by hand will be happy to hear that the iPad Mini also includes support for the first generation Apple Pencil. The Mini version of Apple’s flagship tablet starts its retail price at $399.

If you’re looking for something a little bit bigger, then the Apple iPad Air may be better suited to your needs. This model has most of the same specs as the iPad Mini with two exceptions: the iPad Air has a 10.5″ Retina display and it includes support for the Smart Keyboard, effectively allowing you to use it just like any other laptop. The Apple iPad Air starts its retail price at $499. Essentially, you’re paying an extra hundred bucks for a 25% larger screen and Smart Keyboard support.

“There is certainly a market for the iPad Mini, especially among students and teens, but I don’t know for how long the upgrade cycle for it will be,” IDC Senior Research Analyst Lauren Guenveur said to CNN Business. “I suspect it will do very well for one large upgrade cycle for the rest of the year and then slowly drop off.”

Of course, both of these models boast all of the standards one would expect from an Apple tablet: cameras, fingerprint access, and powerful chips for gaming and video editing are all part of the package whether you decide to buy the Mini or the Air.

The updated Apple iMacApple iPad Air iPad Mini iMac

While the new tablet lines are certainly impressive, Apple hasn’t forgotten about their desktop users. The Apple iMac has seen a serious bump in power across the board—especially for the 27″ versions of the desktop. The basic designs are largely the same, but folks who want to get a little more horsepower have some solid options now available to them as reported by Ars Technica.

The 21.5″ version of the iMac can now be equipped with a six-core, eight-generation Intel CPU. This is a step up from the previous option of only four cores. The 27″ version now has six processing cores as the standard with the option to upgrade to a ninth-generation Intel Core i9 CPU clocked at 3.6 GHz.

That’s not the only new option, either. Workstation graphics cards are available for both models for the very first time. The 21.5″ model has the option for a 20-compute-unit version of Vega with 4GB of HBM2 video memory. As for the 27″ model, it can be equipped with the Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8GB of HBM2. As a point of comparison, the higher-end iMac Pro models can be outfitted with Vega 56 and Vega 64 options. If you’re less about work and more about gaming, the graphical options are largely the same with a single difference: the Radeon Pro 580 is now called the Radeon Pro 580X to bring it in line with AMD’s new naming conventions.

The optional RAM improvements have also seen a minor change. While the maximum amount of RAM hasn’t changed, the clock frequency has been bumped up to 2,666 MHz. Other than the above changes to the optional improvements, the iMac line is largely the same.

All in all, Apple has brought out mild improvements for its tablet and desktop lines. It may not be massive show-stopping changes, but the incremental improvements should help keep Apple competitive as they work on the next generation of hardware.

[Header image credit: Tim Cook on Twitter / Body image credit: Apple]