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Apple Announces New Macs, New iPads And Offers One Million Apps

Thinner and lighter product designs reigned supreme at Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) long-awaited iPad event.

The lengthy event began with statistics and freebies. Apple announced that it now offers one million apps in the App Store. The company also said that more than one billion songs have been played by 20 million iTunes Radio users.

That averages out to approximately 50 songs per user -- not bad for a service that launched roughly a month ago.

Apple also revealed that OS X Mavericks will be available today as a free download.

New MacBooks

Everyone expected Apple to unveil new MacBook Pro units today. Consumers may not have expected the company to make the 13-inch model lighter and thinner.

But it did just that, bringing the smaller Retina Display model down to 0.71 inches -- the same thickness as last year's 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. For reasons that were never explained, last year's 13-inch model was actually thicker than the 15-inch iteration.

Apple has also reduced the weight of the 13-inch model, which goes from 3.57 pounds to 3.46 pounds.

Related: MacBook Pro 2013 Rumor Roundup

Under the hood consumers will find a 2.4GHz dual-core i5 processor -- Intel's (NASDAQ: INTC) Haswell, of course -- Iris graphics, 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM.

Apple cut the RAM in half to compensate for the new starting price of $1,299 -- just $200 more than the 13-inch MacBook Air.

The new 15-inch model comes with a 2.0GHz Core i7 processor, new Crystalwell Iris Pro graphics, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. This model has been given a price cut as well and now starts at $1,999.

Both models will begin shipping today.

Go Pro For $2,999

MacBook Pros may be the laptop of choice for professional users, but they are used by millions of others as well.

Mac Pro, on the other hand, has always been a very expensive (and very powerful) desktop machine for a select user base.

Those users now know how much money is going to be taken out of their wallets: $2,999.

When the base model is released in December, it will come with a 3.7GHz quad-core Xeon processor, 12GB of DRAM and Dual FirePro D300 graphics from AMD (NYSE: AMD) and a 256GB SSD.

Related: Rumor: Apple Selects iWatch, 12-Inch iPad Supplier

As usual, the new Mac Pro will not ship with a monitor, so users can expect to spend an additional $1,000 if they want an Apple-made display to go with their new Mac.

iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display

The rumors were real -- they just came a year too soon.

Apple is officially referring to its fifth-generation tablet as the iPad Air. The name comes from its design, which is smaller and lighter in every regard.

The new iPad is 9.4 inches high (versus last year's model at 9.5 inches), 6.6 inches wide (versus 7.31 inches) and 0.29 inches deep (versus 0.37 inches). Its weight has been reduced from roughly 1.43 pounds to just one pound.

While the shape and size are likely to get consumers' attention, the specs -- an A7, 64-bit chip and its co-processor known as M7 -- provide the iPad with the necessary power boost.

The iPad Air retains the existing pricing structure, which means that the 16GB Wi-Fi iteration starts at $499, while the Wi-Fi + Cellular model will begin at $629. Both models will be released on Friday, November 1.

The long-awaited iPad Mini upgrade will provide consumers with a 64-bit processor (the same one that's featured in the iPad Air and iPhone 5S), a Retina Display with 2048 x 1536 resolution at 326 pixels per inch. Everything else remains the same, though the new iPad Mini does offer 3X video zoom.

To keep the iPad Mini with Retina Display from stealing the thunder of the iPad 2 (which remains on sale for $399), the new iPad Mini will also retail for $399.

The first-generation iPad Mini will now sell for $299.

Apple has not yet announced when exactly the iPad Mini with Retina Display will go on sale, but the company promised that it would arrive sometime in November.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: App Store Apple iPad Air iPad Mini iPad Mini with Retina DisplayNews Events Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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