Apple announced some major updates at its global event last night, but had a few surprised in addition to the long-leaked iPad Air 2 and Mac Mini update - including a 27" iMac featuring 5K-resolution display.
First, the obvious. Last night's event included the expected iPad Air 2 launch, long-rumoured to be occurring in October. An updated variant of the original iPad Air, the new model measures just 6.1mm at its thickest point and comes with an improved display claimed to offer boosted contrast and more vibrant colours. The updated model also includes the company's A8X 64-bit ARM system-on-chip (SoC) processor, boasting a claimed 40 per cent boost in CPU performance and 2.5 times increase in graphics performance over the original model while retaining the same promise of ten hours of active use per charge. Coupled with improved cameras, faster 802.11ac wireless and Touch ID fingerprint recognition, it's fair to say the company has addressed the majority of customers' desires. An iPad Mini 3 was also added to the mix, but includes the same internal hardware as its predecessor with only the Touch ID integration as its differentiator.
As also rumoured, Apple announced a hardware refresh of its entry-level Mac Mini hardware at the same time. Based around Intel's fourth-generation Haswell processors, meaning improvement in graphics performance of up to 90 per cent, the new models feature boosted 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity and a pair of the latest Thunderbolt 2 ports for external devices. Models confirmed at launch are a Core i5 dual-core 1.4GHz with 4GB of RAM and Intel HD Graphics 5000, a Core i5 dual-core 2.6GHz with 8GB and Intel Iris Graphics, and a 2.8GHz variant with the same specifications but an upgraded 1TB 'Fusion Drive' SSHD. Buyers can also upgrade to a 3GHz dual-core Core i7 chip, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD, but there's no word yet of a quad-core offering.
The big surprise of the event was the announcement of a new iMac, featuring a 'retina' display. Measuring 27 inches diagonal, the new iMac's display has a whopping 5,120x2,880 native resolution. Like its smaller brethren, the update also includes Thunderbolt 2, Intel's latest Haswell processor options, and to drive the 14.7 megapixel display an AMD Radeon R9 M290X GPU as standard. 'Thirty years after the first Mac changed the world, the new iMac with Retina 5K display running OS X Yosemite is the most insanely great Mac we have ever made,
' crowed Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, at the launch. 'With a breathtaking 14.7 million pixel display, faster CPU and graphics, Fusion Drive, and Thunderbolt 2, it’s the most beautiful and powerful iMac ever.
All new Mac Mini and iMac models are launched with OS X 10.10 Yosemite, which was released for general download last night. More details of the new devices, including UK pricing, are available on the official website