Apple unwraps faster, sleeker iPad, iPad mini and Apple Watch
Today is Apple Christmas Day, and while the shiny new iPhones are the presents most eyes are fixed on, there are always new iPads, iPad minis and Apple Watches under the tree as well. The company has now unwrapped the latest generations of those devices, with a few decent upgrades.
Now in its ninth generation, the new iPad packs a 10.2-in Retina display, with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 at 264 pixels per inch (ppi). That’s basically the same screen as last generation, except this time it adds a feature from other iPad models called True Tone, which uses a light sensor to automatically adjust the display to match the color temperature of the room you’re viewing it in. This display is also compatible with the Apple Pencil.
There’s an 8-megapixel (MP) wide-angle camera on the back, and the front-facing camera has been boosted to a 12-MP ultra-wide lens, which can shoot video in Full HD up to 60 frames per second (fps). Passed down from the iPad Pro is a feature called Center Stage, which automatically pans and zooms the camera to keep people in frame during a video call.
Under the hood lies the biggest upgrade – the new iPad is now powered by Apple’s A13 Bionic processor, which the company says boosts performance by 20 percent over the last iPad. It also brags that it’s three times faster than the “best-selling Chromebook” and six times faster than the best-selling Android tablet.
Storage space has also been doubled – the base option is now 64 GB, and the higher model is 256 GB.
The new iPad mini has had a bigger upgrade overall. It’s running on Apple’s brand new A15 Bionic processor, which the company claims boosts performance by 40 percent over the previous model, and 80 percent in graphics performance. It also has either 64 GB or 256 GB storage options.
The display has been bumped up to 8.3 inches, with a resolution of 2266 x 1488 and a density of 326 ppi. The True Tone feature is on there too, but the last iPad mini already had that. The rear camera is a 12-MP wide-angle, which can capture 4K video at up to 60 fps, while the selfie cam is a 12-MP ultra-wide lens. Center Stage is present and accounted for here too.
The new iPad Mini has the option for 5G connectivity and Wi-Fi 6, both of which should speed up data transfers and downloads. In an interesting sign of the times, Apple has ditched its proprietary Lightning port in favor of the industry-standard USB-C.
And finally, the Apple Watch Series 7 rounds out the day’s announcements. Apple has squeezed 20 percent more screen on the front than the Series 6, and apps have apparently been redesigned to make it easier to tap buttons or type. The Always-On display is now up to 70 percent brighter too, so it’s easier to check the time without having to wake the device.
The Series 7 is also more durable, with a crack-resistant front crystal, IP6X dust resistance and a “swim-proof” WR50 water-resistance rating. The wearable now charges up to 33 percent faster too.
On the operating system front, the new watchOS 8 adds a couple of fancy new watch faces, a mindfulness app, and improvements to fall detection and health metric tracking when cycling.
The new iPad and iPad mini models will be available from September 24, while the Apple Watch Series 7 will follow within a few months. Pricing for the iPad starts at US$329 for the 64 GB Wi-Fi model or $459 for Wi-Fi and cellular, while the iPad mini starts at $499 for Wi-Fi only or $649 for Wi-Fi and cellular. The Apple Watch series 7 starts at $399.
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