Apple unveils iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and iMac retina display

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Just over a month ago (on September 9, to be exact) Apple launched two new models of its somewhat popular flagship smartphone, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus – along with a wearable, the Apple Watch.

Today, at a special event at its Cupertino headquarters in California, Apple has unveiled two new models in its iPad tablet line, along with a shiny new iMac computer.

Read on to find out all of the details…

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Apple Pay was announced last month, but now Apple says that it will officially launch on Monday in the US – and the company has signed up a further 500 banks to participate since it was announced.

Apple also announced the Watch last month, and today CEO Tim Cook said that the company would be rolling out WatchKit for developers making Watch apps, from next month. The Watch itself will be in stores from spring 2015.

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Apple also announced some updates for its iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite operating systems.

iOS 8.1 will see the return of the camera roll, the lack of it being a common complaint about iOS 8. Plus there will be a public beta for the iCloud photo library, with the first 5GB of storage free.

Apple says OS X Yosemite will bring iOS-like sharing from Apple’s built-in applications, and the new Safari is six times faster than any other browser. Oh, and the company says that it’s also much more efficient for better battery life.

Yosemite also has what Apple calls Continuity features, which let you make calls, texts, and set up your phone’s hotspot from your computer. Yosemite is available from today, for free – as is iOS 8.1, which is available from Monday. And the iWork update for OS X and iOS is also available today, and is also free.

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As predicted, Apple revealed the iPad Air 2 – which is even thinner than any previous iPad, at just 6.1mm. That’s 18% thinner than the original iPad, making it, Apple says, the world’s thinnest tablet.

“It’s unbelievably gorgeous, and look how thin it is,” Cook gloated. “Can you even see it?”

The iPad Air 2 has an anti-reflective coating, reducing reflections by 56%, and improved retina display. Inside, it’s running a new chip – the A86. It has a second-generation 64-bit architecture, 3 billion transistors and a 40% faster CPU. The iPad Air 2 has 180 times the graphics performance of the original iPad and a 10-hour battery life.

New ipad Air 2’s new iSight camera is 8MP, 1.12 micron pixels, f2.4, and does 1080p HD video. The camera will take 43mp panoramas and you can do time-lapse photography as well as well as slow-motion video. There is also a new Facetime camera on the front of the iPad.

Apple says that the most-requested feature is Touch ID, which unlocks your iPad by reading your fingerprint. It can also be used for making online purchases.

The iPad Air 2 will come in silver, grey and gold, and in the US will be priced from $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 64GB and $699 for 128GB.

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Also as predicted, an upgraded version of the iPad Mini 3 was also announced, and it also gains the fingerprint recognition component.

It has a 5MP iSight camera rather than the 8MP of the iPad Air 2, but also has the 1080p HD video camera. In the US, the iPad Mini 3 starts at $399.

Both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 are available for pre-orders from tomorrow and will ship from October 17.
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And finally, Apple could not leave out the Mac – which is fitting, seeing as this years is the Macintosh computer’s 30th birthday.

A new iMac with retina display was announced, with a 5K resolution 27-inch display that has 5210 x 2880 pixels. Apple says it is better than HD and is the highest resolution computer display available – with what it claims is seven times the pixels found on standard high-definition TV sets.

The iMac is just 5mm thick and has a special “timing controller” chip to drive the display, along with a new low-power backlight system that uses 30% less energy than the previous version.

Apple says the iMac runs on a new 3.5GHz Intel quad-core i5 chip, which you can upgrade to 4GHz i7. The graphics will be powered by a new AMD Radeon M9 M290X processor, which has 3.5 teraflops of processing power.

It also comes with 8GB of RAM and the Thunderbolt 2, 1TB fusion drive and will cost $2,499 in the US.

The Mac Mini is also getting an update, with new Intel chips, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, faster graphics and wi-fi. Apple says that it is the smallest, most power-efficient computer the company has made.

It starts at $499 in the US and is shipping from today.

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Stuart O’Connor