2013 was another great year for Apple. They brought new products and services to the table that really add to the entire Apple product family.
iPad Air / iPad mini with Retina Display
One of the most subtle changes came in January when Apple quietly released a 128GB model of their popular tablet. However, the big changes for the iPad came in October at Apple’s special fall event. Apple replaced the 4th generation iPad with the redesigned iPad Air. With a new form factor, much more in the mold of the iPad mini, the iPad shed some size by cutting down the bezel around the iPad. The iPad Air also cut down on weight, making it now an even one pound, down about a half pound from the previous iPad. The Air also had some nice hardware updates, including a speedier A7 processor and the new redesigned iOS 7.
The iPad mini had a second generation unveiled. The new iPad mini was released with the much desired Retina Display, as well as the same internal components as the iPad Air.
While Apple did announce these new iPad models, they kept a couple previous generation options around as a lower cost option, including the iPad 2 and the original iPad mini.
Head to the product comparison page for more details on the iPad family.
iPhone 5s / iPhone 5c
For the first time Apple didn’t just release one iPhone in a year, but two. Apple replaced the iPhone 5 with both the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5c is, at its core, the same phone as the iPhone 5. The key differences between the iPhone 5 and 5c are the iPhone 5c comes now in five different colors, and it has a little bit of an improved camera.
The new flagship phone for Apple is now the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s retains the same look as the iPhone 5, with the two toned aluminum and glass body. All the major differences came under the hood. Apple added the new A7 processor to the iPhone 5s, essentially doubling the speed of the phone. Apple also added a much improved camera to the iPhone 5s, with a new dual LED flash system called True Tone. A flash designed to adjust to lighting and take a better looking photo in low light conditions. The big addition to the iPhone 5s is the new Touch ID fingerprint scanner in the home button for the iPhone. Now unlocking your phone or buying something off of iTunes is as simple as holding your finger on the home button. Touch ID can store up to 10 different fingers to unlock the phone.
Head to the product comparison page for more details on the iPhone family.
The most drastic and controversial change in 2013 was iOS 7. Apple completely redesigned their mobile OS for the first time since its initial release in 2007. Gone are the designs of leather binding and green felt. The look of the OS has been updated with a more flat look, with bright colors, and an overall more ‘techie’ look to it. Apple added features to iOS 7 like Control Center, improved multitasking, AirDrop, iBeacons and more! The OS has proven to be rather polarizing, but the adoption rate has been successful.
Apple unveiled the much rumored iTunes Radio service in 2013 as well. Similar to Pandora, iTunes Radio is a streaming service that will play stations based off of an artist or genre. It will give you options to buy the song you are listening to through iTunes, and it comes loaded with any device with the latest version of iTunes on it. If you have iTunes Match, you will have commercial free music listening.
Mac OS X Mavericks, iLife and iWork
Apple released their annual update to Mac OS. The update to Mavericks wasn’t as drastic as iOS 7, but it brought some much welcomed features. Features like the ability to use multiple displays was improved, as was overall system performance and energy consumption. We also saw the addition of Maps and iBooks to Mavericks, to mirror what iOS has. The biggest news with Mavericks was the announcement that it would be free to any Apple user that was using Snow Leopard or newer.
Apple also finally updated their collection of iLife and iWork apps. Apps like Garageband and iMovie got a makeover, while iPhoto remained mostly the same. All three iWork apps got major updates, plus the feature of iWork in the Cloud was added. If you have iWork on your Apple devices, and an iCloud account, you can log onto iCloud.com from any computer and continue to work on your file as well as collaborate with others, even if they don’t have a Mac or iCloud account. Once again, Apple announced that all these software pieces, for both iOS and Mac OS, would be free with the purchase of a new device. If you already have them on your device it should update for no charge.
MacBook Pro with Retina Display / MacBook Air
There was no major news around the MacBook this year, just some improvements. The biggest change to the MacBook line was the addition of the new Intel processors that increased battery life in all models. The MacBook Air now boasts an ‘all day battery’. Roughly 9 to 12 hours of battery life is what you can get out of a new MacBook Air, depending on the size you choose (11″ or 13″). Apple has also added the faster 802.11ac wireless capability and also increased the speed of the hard drive, making the rate of data writing and reading faster. The MacBook Pro with Retina Display line mirrors many of the same changes that the Air received. However, the Retina Display line did see some price drops to move them into much more affordable pricing.
Head to the product pages for more info on the MacBook family.
After years of no attention, Apple finally announced and released a brand new Mac Pro. Sporting a major redesign at about 1/4 the size of the old Mac Pro, and an innovative cylindrical cooling system to keep the machine from overheating. Apple’s new media editing machine is loaded with Intel Xeon E5 processors, high end solid state hard drives, dual graphic cards and a lot more! Starting at $2999, early indications are that the Mac Pro is a hit, with orders already pushing back until February of 2014. The Mac Pro has user changeable RAM, solid state hard drives, as well as a replaceable processing unit. Early reviews for the Mac Pro are off the charts, and editing professionals that like to shoot 4k video and edit in Final Cut Pro X have been very impressed with the machine to this point.
Head to the Mac Pro product page for additional information.
2013 was a big year for Apple. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, teased in an email that 2014 could hold something new for Apple’s customers. Could 2014 be the year we see Apple in new product categories? Could we see an iWatch, Apple television, or maybe something entirely different? It’ll be fun to see what Apple has up their sleeves this next year.