Even More Announcements from Apple: New iPad Air, mini, and iMac Models
It's only been about a month since Apple announced the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and the long awaited Apple Watch last September, but Apple decided to hold another event, on October 16, at its Cupertino headquarters, to announce new releases for their iPad Air models, iPad mini series, and a unique 27" iMac model.
While 4K hasn't quite become absorbed into the mainstream yet, it's starting to gain momentum with the release of more 4K monitors, 4K TVs, and 4K computers. Apple decided to join the ultra-high-resolution craze by skipping 4K and going straight to 5K. With an enormous 5120 x 2880 resolution, the 27" iMac with Retina 5K display has 14.7 million pixels. The 5K resolution requires a dedicated graphics card.
Fortunately, the iMac with Retina 5K display comes with either an AMD Radeon R9 M290X with 2GB of GDDR5 memory or an AMD Radeon M295X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. While the iMac with Retina 5K display comes standard with a quad-core 3.5 GHz Intel® Core™ i5 processor, it's also available with a quad-core 4.0 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, for the extra processing power. It also comes with 8GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM and is configurable to 16GB or 32GB. The four SO-DIMM slots are also user accessible if you want to upgrade the RAM on your own.
The iMac with Retina 5K display comes with a 1TB Fusion Drive, but is also configurable to a 3TB Fusion Drive, or a solid-state drive of 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. While the Fusion Drive or the solid-state drive are fast and reliable, 4K images and videos will likely require an external hard drive, due to their large file sizes. The dual Thunderbolt 2 ports support Thunderbolt 2 external hard drives (sold separately), which can provide high data-transfer rates and additional storage. Unfortunately, due to the 5K resolution, the iMac with Retina 5K display cannot be used as a stand-alone monitor like its predecessor. However, you can display up to a 3840 x 2160 resolution simultaneously on an external monitor, in addition to the full native resolution on the built-in display. The iMac with Retina 5K display will also ship with the new Mac OS X Yosemite operating system.
Apple also announced the iPad Air 2. Apple somehow managed to make the iPad Air 2 even thinner than its predecessor, measuring 6.1mm. The iPad Air 2 also has a faster A8x chip with 64-bit architecture as well as a M8 motion coprocessor. The Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor finds its way onto the home button of the iPad Air 2, which you can use in conjunction with Apple Pay. The rear iSight camera also gets a bump up to 8 megapixels, also adding a burst mode for photos and slo-mo for video. The iPad Air 2 also has 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and is backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. The display on the iPad Air 2 is the same as the iPad Air with a 9.7" screen and 2048 x 1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch. However, the iPad Air 2 display is now fully laminated and sports an anti-reflective coating. The iPad Air 2 ships with the new iOS 8 and is available in 16GB, 32GB, and 128GB storage capacities.
While the iPad mini 3 retains many of the features found on the iPad mini 2, including the processor and the display, it now comes with a Touch ID sensor that can also be used with Apple Pay. The iPad mini 3 is available in 16GB and 32GB models. A larger 128GB capacity is also available. The iPad mini 3 ships with the new iOS 8.
Apple even showed some love to the Mac mini. The Mac mini now comes with 4th-gen Haswell Intel Core i5 and i7 processors as well as Intel HD Graphics 5000 and Intel Iris Graphics. The new Mac mini also features the Fusion Drive, but can also be purchased with a solid-state drive or the traditional 5400 rpm hard drive. Wireless Internet access gets bumped up to 802.11ac Wi-Fi, but it can still work on 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi networks. It also has two Thunderbolt 2 ports and features support for up to two displays at 2560 x 1600 resolutions. The Mac mini also ships with the new Mac OS X Yosemite operating system.
Overall, the Apple Special Event on October 16 featured many new models of the iPad, the iPad mini, the Mac mini, and the iMac—just in the time for the holiday season.