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What You Need to Know About Apple’s Latest Product Announcement

Photo courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald

Apple wants to make its iPads thinner, lighter and faster, but not cheaper.  

On Tuesday, thousands of people gathered at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco to witness the showcasing of Apple’s latest slate of mobile products. And it didn’t disappoint. 

iPad Air

Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage to first unveil its big ticket item -- the iPad Air -- a slimmer iteration of the previous generation iPad. In fact, it measures just 7.55 mm thick, a 20 percent reduction of what it was before, and weighs 0.4 pounds less. It runs a 64-bit A7 processor (the same chip that powers the iPhone 5S) and boasts the new iOS 7 mobile operating system, which gives it an 8x faster performance. 

“It’s so new in so many ways, it deserves a new name,” Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said on stage Tuesday. “This is probably our biggest leap forward in a full-sized iPad.”

Apple’s new iPad has a 9.7-inch Retina display with a 5 megapixel camera and 1080p HD video which are nice improvements from its previous versions. It also has dual microphones for better audio pickup and a 10-hour battery life. 

If you want to get your hands on one, the iPad air releases in stores on Nov. 1 and is available in 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB models with pricing starting at $499. 

iPad Mini

With so much success with the release of the first iPad Mini, it was only a matter of time before Apple released its second-generation tablet. But this time around, the tech giant unveiled it with Retina display -- something tech-enthusiasts have been requesting since the launch of the first iPad Mini. 

The new tablet comes with a much sharper image than before, providing a 2048 x 1536 resolution screen (the same as the new iPad Air), which brings it in line with other competing tablets like the Nexus 7. 

The iPad mini also has the same aesthetic design as the iPad Air. Its rear aluminum plate gently rounds the back and edges of the tablet and provides a shiny metallic bezel to frame the 7.9-inch Retina display. 

For those interested, the price starts at $399 and will be in stores in time for the holiday season. 

Other Announcements

Apple also made incremental improvements to its high-end MacBook Pro. Now, the new laptop computer is powered with the latest Haswell processor (better graphics) and carries 8-9 hours of battery life depending on your size model. You can also buy the MacBook Pro with Retina, which the company says gets twice the 3-D performance and runs 45 percent faster. 

The biggest surprise from the event was that Apple unveiled its new OS X Mavericks operating system, which is now available for free (as long as you have 5 GB of space to spare on your computer). The new operating system allows you to browse the web for an hour longer, has more computer memory and a better graphics support with improvements to Safari, Calendar and Pages. 

Unfortunately, there’s still no sign of Apple TV. So it looks like we’re going to have to wait another year.

Follow @nicktrenchard to learn about the latest in Bay Area Tech news