Apple announces updated MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, iMac and new iPad Mini

Apple has announced a whole host of new and upgraded products in their most anticipated announcement as of yet, which took place at the California Theatre in San Jose. The venue was a good choice for the announcement (especially given its ornate interior) and at 10 AM PST, Tim Cook took to the stage with all eyes on him.

Want to find out everything they announced? Read on for our full roundup.

NOTE: All images used in this post are reproduced with permission from Wired under the Creative Commons agreement.

Some starting figures…

It wouldn’t be an Apple announcement without the initial announcement of facts and figures, would it? These are, however, worth boasting about. The iPhone 5, which was released only last month in September, sold 5 million units over the first weekend. iOS 6, which was also released last month, achieved the fastest upgrade rate in history and now graces 200 million iOS devices worldwide. Since Documents in the Cloud was launched back with iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion, over 125 million documents have been uploaded onto the cloud servers.

There was also a push for the App Store and its new milestone too. 35 billion applications have now been downloaded from the iOS and Mac stores and this has exceeded Apple’s expectations. Not wanting to be outdone, Cook also admitted that over $6.5 billion has been paid out to developers, so it really pays for them to be in the business.

New version of iBooks with continuous scrolling

The first upgrade to be announced was a new version of iBooks. Since its release, there are over 1.5 million books available for purchase and these have been downloaded over 400 million times, which is still a handsome sum (but not when you compare it to the number of applications downloaded!). The new version of iBooks comes with continuous scrolling, iCloud support for purchased books and the ability to share your favourite quote via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook – just tap on it and share it.

New iBooks

The new version of iBooks which features continuous scrolling and support for more languages.

The new version of iBooks also supports 40 different languages and Cook was eager to demonstrate some, including Chinese (with the vertical writing), Japanese and Korean. The update ships today and can be grabbed by heading over to your iPhone or iPad now. If you haven’t got iBooks yet, then now is a perfect time to grab it – just head over to the App Store.

A new MacBook Pro 13-inch with retina display

Cook then proceeded to talk about the Mac, which has been outgrowing the PC market for the past 6 years and consistently ranks in the top spot for customer satisfaction. So with that, Phil Schiller came up on stage to announce, you guessed it, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a retina display. It measures a mere 0.75 inches thick – 20% lighter than the previous model – and weights only 3.57 lb (1.6 kg), which is a full pound lighter than the previous generation model – it’s the lightest one ever. There’s also a MagSafe 2 port, a Thunderbolt port, an SD card slot, 2 USB 3 connectors and, just like the 15-inch model, HDMI support.


The all-new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a retina display.

That retina display measures in at a mean 2,560 x 1,600 pixels (or 4.096 million pixels) resolution, making it the second highest resolution notebook display out there on the market (of course, the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina still rules the roost). The display has been enhanced with richer colour and a 75% reduction in glare, which certainly makes it attractive for designers and developers and comes with Intel’s new range of Ivy Bridge processors, making it all the more faster and more efficient.

MBP Base

The base version of the MacBook Pro (shown here) starts from $1,699.

The new model starts shipping today and the base model, which comes with a 2.5 GHz processor, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of flash is priced at $1,699, which is still an eye-watering amount but a full $500 cheaper than the 15-inch model.

An updated Mac Mini

The long-forgotten Mac Mini, Apple’s most affordable Mac ever which ships sans monitor and keyboard also got its update today with the new range of Ivy Bridge processors, HD graphics and 4, yep count them, USB 3.0 ports. There’s also a 1 TB hard drive or 256 GB of flash storage (SSD) and the base model, which comes with a 2.5 GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard disk drive is priced at a mere $599. Bargain.

New Mac Mini

The new Mac Mini comes with some beefed up innards, most notably an Intel Ivy Bridge processor.

A new, thinner, stunning iMac

Probably the biggest redesign came to the iMac, and boy was it due. The iMacs last got their update back in May 2011 and it seems that today, that long wait definitely paid off. The new iMac measures an jaw dropping 5 mm, yes – you read that right – 5 mm thick, making it 80% thinner than the previous model thanks to a new technique called friction stir welding (don’t ask me what this is. Just realise that it makes a damn sexy computer!). The iMac still comes in the classic 21.5 inch and 27 inch models and the displays are still the same, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels for the 21.5 inch model and 2,560 x 1,400 for the 27-inch model (no, they’re not retina…yet).

New iMac

The new thinner iMac, which measures just 5 mm thick.

The new iMac also comes with a FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones, up to 768 GB of flash storage and 3 TB of hard drive storage, up to 32 GB of RAM, 4 x USB 3.0 ports (just like on the Mac Mini) and 2 x Thunderbolt ports. Interestingly enough, there’s no optical drive at all (is Apple trying to kill it off, do we think?), but for those “still stuck in the past” you can get one for the iMac, at extra cost of course. There’s also a handy new tool called Fusion Drive, which combines both the flash and HDD storage onto one dynamic volume. So, 128 GB of flash storage and a 1-3 TB hard drive would, essentially, be treated as the same volume on the operating system. Mountain Lion, of course, stays on the flash bit so it can be accessed a bit quicker.

Fusion Drive

Phil Schiller introduces the new Fusion Drive feature on the iMac.

The new iMacs start shipping in November (for the 21.5-inch model) or December (for the 27-inch model) and are priced at $1,299 for the 21-inch starter model with a 2.7 GHz i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive or $1,799 for the 27-inch starter model with a 2.9 GHz i5 processor and the same RAM and hard drive specifications.

An updated, 4th generation iPad and a new “Mini” baby brother

The perfect way to round up a pretty much perfect announcement would be some changes to the iPad, and there are plenty. In two and a half years, the iPad has shifted 100 million units and in Q2 2012, more iPads shipped than PC units. 91% of the total web traffic share from tablets is from the iPad – some pretty impressive figures. And with that, Cook announced the new version of iBooks Author, which is available for download now. Authors can now use their own fonts, embed multitouch widgets and complex mathematical equations straight into text books.

Afterwards, our friend Phil came back on stage and…there’s a 4th generation iPad (despite the fact the 3rd generation was released only back in March, something which annoyed your dear author terribly) with a new A6X chip promising faster performance and 2x graphics performance, 10 hours of battery life and a new FaceTime HD camera.

4th Gen iPad

The new, 4th generation iPad with an improved processor and expanded LTE support.

There’s also expanded LTE support for more countries (let’s hope Apple doesn’t make the same mistake twice!) and 2x faster WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz support for the n band, just like on the iPhone 5). The 4th generation iPad has also been given the Lightning treatment, and sports one of their new connectors. Best of all, for people who are considering a change, the 4th generation is priced at the same price as the 3rd generation: $499 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model and $629 for the cellular model.

And it didn’t stop there. The 4th generation iPad flipped around on the screen to reveal its baby brother – the iPad Mini, which had been rumoured for quite a long time. With the new version, the iPad can now be held in one hand and is as thin as a pencil and light as a pad of paper. It sports a 7.9 inch display (compared to the 9.7 inch one on the bigger iPad) and a 1,024 x 768 display, the same as the iPad 2. The Mini weighs a mere 0.68 lb and measures only 7.2 mm thick and, to the joy of developers, all previous iPad apps will work on the Mini, so there’s no altering applications either.

The iPad Mini features a dual-core A5 chip, a FaceTime HD camera, a 5 MP iSight camera, LTE wireless support (similar to the 4th generation iPad), expanded Wi-Fi and a Lightning connector, so the guts are basically an iPad 2 with a few added extras. This new version starts at a mere $329 (the iPad 2 starts at $399 and the normal iPad at $499) for 16 GB of memory and starts shipping on November 2nd for the Wi-Fi models and on November 16th for the cellular models.

New iPad Mini

The new, 7.9 inch iPad Mini, up against an generic Android tablet of similar size.

Over To You!

As always with these big Apple announcements, we’d like to turn the floor over to you – our readers. We finally saw the new iMac we were all hankering after and a (slightly) cheaper MacBook Pro with retina display. So, were you impressed or disappointed with Apple’s offering today? Will you be pre-ordering anything that was announced? Were all the new products just like you expected, or did a certain feature surprise you?

Please share all your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!