Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s live iPad event is coming up very soon, and ValueWalk will be live blogging the whole thing right here on this page. The event begins at 1 p.m. Eastern, and the company is expected to show off the iPad Mini 3 and the iPad Air 2. Both are expected to sport the Touch ID fingerprint scanner and updated hardware and features.
Apple’s online store goes down before event
Just as Apple has done for a long time, it has now taken down its online store ahead of today’s event. The company always takes it down to prepare for the addition of the new devices to the online store so that they can be up and available for purchase or preorder on the sight right after the event is over.
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Those who visit the online store right now are greeted with this phrase: “We’ll be back. We’re busy updating the Apple Store for you and we’ll be back soon.” Apple is scrolling the phrase in multiple languages.
What to expect from today’s iPad event
In addition to the typical expectations for Apple’s new iPad models, there have been plenty of rumors floating around. For example, we’ve heard that the iPad Air 2 will be available in gold as well as the space grey and silver colors the tablet was available in last year.
Both tablets are expected to sport Apple’s A8 or A8X faster processors. We’ve also heard that the iPad Air 2 may offer burst mode to enable users to take photos in rapid succession. On the outside though, not many design changes are expected.
Apple to unveil new Macs too
In addition to the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3, Apple is also expecting to show off new Macs. The company’s desktop models are overdue for a refresh, which may be why Apple teased today’s event with the phrase, “It’s been way too long.” In addition to the Mac refresh, we’re also expecting a version with a Retina display.
Along with all the typical upgrades we expect with a Mac refresh, OS X Yosemite will also probably take center stage. It is expected to launch soon, and it offers some beautiful new design elements. The new desktop operating system will also provide more continuity between iOS and Macs, enabling users to take phone calls on an iPhone from their Mac, even with the iPhone isn’t nearby. Text messages can also be taken on Macs, and users can begin doing something on their iDevice and then seamlessly transition over to their Mac and finish up, or vice versa.
iPad Air 2 And iPad Mini 3 unveiling coverage below (Timestamps = EST):
1:07 p.m. – Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage after a video about the iPhone 6 launch, which he says was their most successful one ever. He also said they will be launching it in China in the next several hours. Of course he said they set a new record for preorders.
Now he’s talking about Apple Pay, which they signed up 500 additional banks since they originally announced it last month.
1:10 p.m. – Now Cook said Apple Pay will launch Monday, as we’ve been hearing previously, so no surprise here. The service is supposed to appear automatically on Monday on all the iPhones that are out there, but that seems like a tall order. And cue the glitches for Monday.
Now he’s talking about the Apple Watch and unveiling the WatchKit API, which will let third-party developers make apps for the smartwatch as well. Apple will roll out that API next month, and the watch will ship sometime early next year. Still no firm date yet.
Now Craig Federighi is taking the stage.
1:15 p.m. – He’s updating how many iDevice users have updated to iOS 8 since they rolled it out. He says nearly half of iOS users are on the new version of the mobile operating system, while 46% are still on iOS 7 and 6% are on the older versions. He’s also talking about how many more iOS users have updated compared to Android users. Only 25% of Android users are on KitKat, the newest version.
1:17 p.m. – All those Star Trek fans will be excited to download the Klingon keyboard onto their iPhones. Seems to me like most of them would be using Android, but whatever. We’re also getting a refresher of what’s new in iOS 8.
1:20 p.m. – Now he’s differentiating iOS 8 from iOS 8.1, which is the next version coming soon. Apple Pay, Camera roll, iCloud photo library public beta. Some old features are coming back because of all the feedback they’ve gotten recently. iCloud photo library will offer 5 gigs of storage free before they start charging for more space.
Now they’re talking about OS X Yosemite. An update was expected. More than a million people signed up for the beta.
1:25 p.m. – Safari is supposedly six times faster than other browsers and supposedly improves battery life, especially when streaming videos through Netflix. Apple updated iTunes, and iWork Messages for OS X Yosemite. Also there’s the Markup feature, which enables users to edit Mail attachments directly.
Access to iCloud storage is made easier too.
1:30 p.m. – Yosemite also allows for wireless moving of files to or from iOS 8 devices. It’s a refresher of what Apple said previously about making the experience across devices more seamless. iPhone calls or texts can be answered on Macs running Yosemite.
He’s demoing the transfer between an iPad to the iPhone using a presentation on secrecy called “Tripling Down on Secrecy.” Also when a user favorites a photo on their iPhone, it automatically shows up on the list on their iPad.
He showed a joke photo that says, “Apple ‘Spaceship’ an Actual Spaceship! Local Residents Alarmed.” Now he calls Steven Colbert, their “chief of secrecy,” right. Funny code words, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, and something about a squirrel in a basket.
1:34 p.m. – Still waiting on real news. This has been all things we already know and some jokes to keep us entertained (they hope.)
1:37 p.m. – Now he’s showing off the Apple Watch, using it as a remote control to play a presentation that’s on his Mac and put it on the Apple TV.
Now Yosemite is available today, and unsurprisingly, iOS 8.0.1 will be out on Monday along with Apple Pay. Tim Cook is back on stage. Maybe we’ll finally hear something about the new iPads
1:40 p.m. – Apple has sold 225 million iPads so far. Cook also says they sell more iPads than all PC makers’ entire PC lines. Supposedly the iPad Mini with Retina display has a 100% customer satisfaction rate and the iPad Air is top in customer satisfaction as well.
Finally, here’s the iPad Air 2.
1:45 p.m. Phil Schiller’s on stage now. The iPad Air 2 is even skinnier than last year’s iPad Air, at 6.1 millimeters thin, making it 18% thinner than the previous model. Two iPad Air 2 tablets sitting on top of each other are thinner than the original model.
As expected, there’s a gold-colored iPad Air 2. The screen is laminated, and the touch sensor, glass and LCD are optically bonded without any gaps. The display has an anti-reflective coating that should reduce reflections 56%. Schiller says this is the only tablet on the market with this type of surface.
Apple updated the processor to the A8X chip, a newer version than the one that’s in the iPhone 6. It’s 64 bit. The iPad Air 2 has 3 billion transistors and is 40% faster, and the graphics are two and a half times faster. The iPad Air 2 is supposed to offer graphics that are as good as they are on consoles.
The iPad Air 2 has 10 hours of battery life, an 8-megapixel camera that takes HD photos, a new iSight camera, burst photo mode, and panoramic photo mode. Better face detection and burst selfies if you just can’t take enough pictures of yourself. There are also time lapse and slow motion capabilities as well.
The Wi-Fi is 2.8 times faster, and as expected, it has the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Apple Pay is also coming on the iPad Air 2.
1:55 p.m. Now developer Aidas Dailide is on to talk about their Pizelmator photo editing app. Next it’s developer Jeff Boudier, who’s talking about the Replay app, which puts together a montage from the user’s video clips.
2:01 p.m. The iPad Air 2 is priced at $499 for the 16 gig version, $599 for the 64 gig, $699 for the 128 gig on the Wi-Fi only models. Cellular models are $629, $729, and $829, respectively.
Now on to the iPad Mini 3, which is also available in gold now. The display is 7.9 inches, it has a 5-megapixel iSight camera and a FaceTime HD camera, it can take HD video. The Wi-Fi iPad Mini 3 starts at $399, while the cellular version starts at $529. Preorders begin tomorrow, shipping starts by the end of next week.
Next it’s time for new Macs.
2:05 p.m. – This year is 30 years of Mac. It gets a Retina display finally this year. The new iMac sports a 27-inch display with a resolution of 5210 x 2880. They’re calling it the Retina 5K display, as it has the highest resolution on the market, with 7 times as many pixels as what’s on an HD TV and 67% more pixels than a 4K display.
The fancy display is only 5 millimeters thin on the edge, and Apple has added a new “timing controller” chip to control it. It also uses 30% less energy.
2:15 p.m. The new iMac is priced at $2,499! Shipping begins today.
Now Apple is showing off the Mac Mini upgrade, the first refresh of the mini in years. Faster processors, upgraded hardware, blah, blah. Priced at $499, shipping begins today as well.
Time for a wrap-up with Cook.
And it’s a wrap.