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Lighter, Thinner iMac Models with Fusion Drive

Apple today updated its iMac lineup, dramatically reducing the thickness of the desktop machines and adding a brand new Fusion Drive that combines flash storage and a traditional disk-based hard drive to maximize both speed and capacity.

The iMac will come with both 21.5-inch and 27-inch displays, and includes a new fully laminated design to improve optical quality and a new anti-reflective coating.
Redesigned from the inside out, the new iMac packs high-performance technology into an aluminum and glass enclosure with up to 40 percent less volume than its predecessor and an edge that measures just 5 mm thin. Built with an unprecedented level of fit and finish, the new iMac delivers an amazing desktop experience in a gorgeous design. The new iMac also features a completely reengineered display that reduces reflection by 75 percent while maintaining brilliant color and contrast. In the new design, the cover glass is fully laminated to the LCD and an anti-reflective coating is applied using a high-precision plasma deposition process. Every iMac display is individually color calibrated using an advanced spectroradiometer.
The 21.5-inch iMac starts at $1,299 in the US, and includes a with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive. The 21.5" model should begin shipping in November.

The 27-inch iMac starts with a 2.9 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 8 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive starting at $1,799 and shipping in December.

Apple Introduces New 7.9-Inch iPad Mini Starting at $329

As rumored, Apple announced the new iPad mini at today's media event. The device features a 7.9-inch display with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels, measures just 7.2 millimeters thin and weighs 0.68 pounds.

Internally, the iPad Mini has a dual-core A5 processor, a Facetime HD camera on the front and a 5-megapixel camera on the rear, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, and 4G LTE cellular connectivity in some models. Despite its smaller size, the iPad mini still offers up to 10 hours of battery life.
“iPad mini is every inch an iPad. With its gorgeous 7.9-inch display, iPad mini features the same number of pixels as the original iPad and iPad 2, so you can run more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPad mini is as thin as a pencil and as light as a pad of paper, yet packs a fast A5 chip, FaceTime HD and 5 megapixel iSight cameras and ultrafast wireless―all while delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.”
With the same resolution as the iPad 2, all existing iPad apps that work on the older iPad 2 will work on the iPad mini without any need for developers to make modifications to their existing apps.

The iPad mini starts at $329 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model, with the 32 GB Wi-Fi model priced at $429 and the 64 GB Wi-Fi model coming in at $529. The models with cellular capability cost an additional $130. All models are available in the same black/slate and white/silver color schemes seen on the iPhone 5.

Pre-orders for the iPad mini will start on Friday, October 26 with the Wi-Fi models shipping on November 2 and the cellular models starting to ship two weeks later.

Apple has also introduced new polyurethane iPad mini Smart Covers in six different colors, priced at $39 each. Apple also now has a full suite of Lightning adapters to support USB camera connections, SD cards and VGA or HDMI connectivity.

First Impressions and Hands On with iPad Mini

Apple introduced the long-rumored iPad mini today. At 7.9" in diagonal, the new smaller iPad is said to allow for one handed usage. Apple had the device on hand for reporters to have hands on demos with the device.

Overall, the impressions are positive with many focusing on the build quality and lightness of the device. While the device is smaller, others note that it's certainly not tiny. Here is a roundup of some of the early impressions:

The finish of the device is matte on the back, making for a very nice feeling in the hand. The weight is really the most impressive part, though – as with the iPhone 5, but to an even greater degree, the iPad mini feels almost weightless when compared to its predecessors. It’s so thin and light as to feel almost like a prop, rather than a functional device.
The Verge:
The display on the mini looks incredibly sharp, and even though the resolution is lower than the 3rd and 4th generation full-size iPad, it doesn't immediately seem like a 1024 x 768 display. The smaller, 7.9-inch surface area certainly helps squeeze the pixels.
It's still not "small," though. While a fully outstretched adult hand can generally grasp it without help from the other, you'll still want both for typing and using apps. It's still too big for your average pocket, and it's not going to save you a heck of a lot of room in your knapsack compared to the 9.7-incher.
Anandtech offers this hands on video:

Some Apple Retail Stores Offering 30-Day Exchange iPads for New Model

With Apple's introduction of the fourth-generation iPad today, some recent purchasers of the third-generation model may be feeling somewhat disappointed that their new devices have been supplanted by an unexpectedly short upgrade cycle. CNET reports, however, that those who purchased their iPads within the past 30 days may be able to exchange their devices for new models at their local Apple Stores.
The manager at the Stockton Street store in San Francisco explained that "this specific store" would allow purchasers of the third-generation iPad to exchange their device for the fourth-generation iPad if purchased within the last 30 days. She emphasized that, unless the recently-purchased iPad showed serious signs of wear-and-tear, the usual 14-day return policy would be waived.

"And what about other stores?" You'll have to call and find out. She explained, "We can't speak to other stores' policies -- this is something our store has decided to do."

The report suggests that the extended return window is not an official company policy and thus customers may find spotty adherence to it, but stores generally have some flexibility in allowing returns considering certain circumstances, and with any luck some recent iPad customers may find themselves able to upgrade to the latest model without penalty.

Apple will be live-streaming today’s event on Apple TV

Great news Apple fans, it looks like the Cupertino company has decided to live stream today’s so-called “iPad mini” event after all.

Several users have noticed that a new icon labeled ‘Apple Events’ has popped up on the main menu of the Apple TV that matches the press invitations Apple sent out last week. And sure enough, its description says that there will be a live feed of today’s presser…

First spotted by 9to5Mac, the new app’s description reads:

Apple Special Event – LIVE

Tune in at 10 a.m. on October 23 to watch this event live.

October 23, 2012

10:00 a.m. (Pacific)

California Theatre, San Jose, CA

As you probably all know by now, Apple is widely expected to unveil a new, smaller tablet at today’s event, as well as new Macs. There has also been talk of a refreshed version of the third gen iPad making an appearance, and possibly a new version of iBooks.

It’s unknown whether or not Apple will also be live-streaming the event on its web site, but don’t worry, we’ll be covering the entire thing here on iDB.

Apple's 'iPad Mini' to Strengthen Education Presence Alongside iBooks 3.0

Earlier this month, several sources indicated that Apple will focus on iBooks at its "iPad mini" media event tomorrow, with reports indicating that both personal and education consumption will be of key importance for Apple. Bloomberg Businessweek now profiles Apple's efforts to bring tablets into education, noting that education will indeed be an important theme of the iPad mini unveiling.
Beyond the school market of course, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook will use the device to try to widen Apple’s lead over Inc. and Google Inc. and fend off a more recent threat from Microsoft Corp. in the market for tablets, which NPD DisplaySearch predicts will more than double to $162 billion by 2017. Cook will unveil an iPad with a 7.85-inch screen diagonally, people familiar with its development said in August. The current iPad has a 9.7-inch screen.

Yet Apple executives plan to make a point of highlighting the iPad’s educational capabilities at tomorrow’s event, according to a person with knowledge of the planning. Little wonder. Education spending on information technology, including hardware, was about $19.7 billion in the 2010-2011 period, according to the Center for Digital Education.
The report notes that Apple has realigned its educational sales effort to focus on the iPad, recognizing that school budgets and a desire for more engaging technology are driving a shift in schools' purchasing decisions

Perhaps supporting the notion of enhanced educational offerings coming to the iPad and iPad mini this week, French site reported [Google translation] over the weekend on an iBookstore title showing up with compatibility for an unreleased iBooks 3.0. The Digital Reader later noted that at least half a dozen titles were showing up with the new compatibility requirement, noting that one developer working to create books using Apple's latest tools found that iBooks 3.0 appears set to provide compatibility with the latest EPUB 3 standard at a minimum.
Liz Castro connected me with another ebook developer who has been making ebooks for iBooks 3.0 for the past few days. He has been tweeting his progress and one thing he’s already noticed is that iBooks 3.0 appears to offer more Epub3 support. The fixed layout spec in Epub 3 requires the latest version of iBooks, only Apple hasn’t released it yet.
iBooks 2 was launched earlier this year with a heavy focus on support for new iBooks Textbooks, interactive digital textbooks intended to revolutionize education, starting with high school textbooks. With iBooks 3, it appears that Apple may be set to take its next steps toward improving that experience even further.

Apple planning fixes for keyboard glitch, Wi-Fi, Passbook bug, & Exchange in iOS 6.0.1 update?

According to a report from BGR, a reliable source informed it that Apple has begun testing iOS 6.0.1 with U.S. carriers in anticipation of a release in the coming weeks. Also mentioned in the report is a list of fixes apparently included in the update that address many of the issues users have complained about since the launch of iOS 6. Among them is a fix for the horizontal glitches that some have experienced in the iOS keyboard and folders and a number of other bug fixes for recently reported problems.
The report said the update would also bring a fix for issues with cellular data, improved Wi-Fi, as well as “a problem with the camera’s flash not going off.” Other fixes Apple will release with iOS 6.0.1 are related to iTunes Match, Passbook, and Exchange bugs:

In addition, the new software will improve Wi-Fi support, fix cellular data not working in some cases, add a consolidated cellular data switch for iTunes Match, fix a bug that allowed access to Passbook pass details from the lock screen, and also finally fix the bug that caused Exchange meetings to be unexpectedly cancelled for the entire calendar invite group.
The information in the report seems like it’s originating from carrier pre-builds, so plans for the update could change slightly before its public release. The report speculated iOS 6.1 would not be shipping with the iPad mini in November, adding that Apple has just now started testing the update.

Apple October 23rd event: Are you Ready iPad Mini & Macbook Retina

Had you heard? Apple’s got a ‘little’ event going on at the newly-decorated California Theatre tomorrow where they will FINALLY showcase the iPad Mini, new Mac Minis, a Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro as well as software like iBooks 3.0 and iTunes 11.
First, the bad news: We’ve heard that the some of the iMacs that we found earlier have been pushed so far back that they might not warrant inclusion at the event this week. That doesn’t mean they are cancelled but because there have been some issues with the products and the including them is a “gameday decision”. We’re obviously hoping they make the docket.
And now the good news:
iPad Mini:
The likely star of the event will be the iPad Mini. The 7.85-inch 4:3 screen will be the focus of the attention but the $329 starting price that we revealed will draw a lot of attention.  We expect the same 1024×768 resolution as the iPad 2 but, at $329, Apple could probably squeeze a Retina Display with the same PPI as the iPhone 4+ on it. As for internal specs, that $329 price point means that Apple doesn’t have to skimp on specs. Expect a very fast A5X or A6 (perhaps built on a smaller die).

We also expect this to be a centerpiece for education initiatives that will be showcased at the event. The thin, lightweight design, huge iPad apps and iBooks libraries and other features will make this thing a no-brainer for students. It wouldn’t hurt Apple’s cause to have some big name universities signed up for the launch.  We’ve already heard about big school discounts being planned as well as some new cases.

iPad Lightning:

We’ve also seen prices for and shells of a third generation iPad with Lightning adapter instead of the 30-pin adapter. We don’t know all of the details but can speculate that Apple could take the refreshing opportunity to upgrade the LTE chip to a lower power version and could even upgrade to a thinner screen and battery, thereby making the new iPad as thin as the iPad 2, if not thinner. A smaller SoC die could also cool things off and require smaller batteries.
Most other things will be the same and we feel Apple would hesitate from something outlandish like calling it the ‘iPad 4′ if for nothing else than pissing off its loyal customers who bought a new iPad just 6 months ago. Prices will remain the same and start at $499US.

13-inch Retina MacBook Pro:

Another major product to be unveiled at tomorrow’s event is the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display that we told you about earlier this month. The update is expected to mirror the 15-inch Retina model introduced in June with a thinner and lighter enclosure, two configurations with different processor and storage options, and is expected to be available to purchase shortly after tomorrow morning’s unveiling. Our sources also indicated that, like the 15-inch MacBook lineup following the Retina model’s introduction, Apple will keep the current non-Retina version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro at current prices. The 13-inch Retina Macbook Pro will of course be priced slightly higher than the current 13-inch lineup. We have also received pricing details for the device, with the base model coming in at $1,699 and the higher spec model at $200-$300 more.

Mac Mini:

A refreshed Mac mini lineup is also likely to make an appearance tomorrow. We’re not sure how much of a focus the the minis will be with the other big announcements, but there is a possibility they will be mentioned alongside the education announcements that many expect. We do, however, have details on the upgraded models. The new Mac minis will likely keep similar pricing, starting at $599, of the current models, but will also receive RAM upgrades allowing for up to 16GB. Apple will offer two configurations for the new Mac minis and also keep a third OS X server model. Other possibilities include updated chipsets and USB 3.0.


As noted above, at least some of the new iMacs we told you about previously might be seeing a bit of a delay, but it’s unclear what that means for their presence tomorrow. We know Apple has two refreshed models for the current 21-inch and 27-inch variants, but we have also heard at least some varieties of the new models will not be ready to ship directly after launch. As for what you can expect in the upgraded iMacs, we have discovered upgraded RAM options allowing for 2 x 8GB of RAM, which would allow for up to 32GB across the iMac’s 4 slots. Our sources expect to see similar pricing to the current iMacs (starting at $1199), with slightly cheaper pricing for some countries on the higher spec models.

Education/iBooks 3.0:

While rumors that we will see iTunes 11 release tomorrow aren’t too shocking given Apple announced an October release date back in September, there is a possibility Apple has some software related announcements in store. With iPad mini’s $329 price point and Tim Cook’s promise to be aggressive at getting iPads into schools, it’s likely we will see an education focus during the presentation. A few reports have heard the same, and we recently saw “iBooks 3.0″ listed for a book on iTunes. We wouldn’t be shocked to see enhancements to iBooks and or apps/textbooks designed specifically for the 7-inch display demoed by Apple execs. The iBookstore today became available in 17 more countries, a fact that probably won’t go unnoticed tomorrow.

Other small stuff:

There are at least two more iOS cables Apple will release tomorrow.  We believe that these could be VGA/HDMI video adapters, new camera kits or they could be docking connectors (though Schiller said no iPhone 5 docks).  We’ll likely know before the event starts.
Apple will likely announce and/or release iOS 6.01 with various bugfixes and enhancements.
It is also interesting to note that Yerba Buena, where Apple often holds its events, is available for tomorrow’s event. If so, it would indicate that Apple chose the California Theatre – a movie theater – for its size or other features. That might make for an interesting show.
We will have an event liveblog happening as well as some other fun stuff going on. Seth will be live on CNBC’s Squawk Box at around 11:40am ET.