Apple introduces 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPhone SE, and four OS updates

iPad Pro 9.7-inch, available in four colors

iPad Pro 9.7-inch, available in four colorsAt a special event in Cupertino this week, Apple unveiled the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the 4-inch iPhone SE, while also rolling out free updates to all four of its operating systems. The new iPad and iPhone offer most of the functionality of the current iPad and iPhone models without being so large. On the software side, the updates to iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 add significant features, whereas OS X 10.11.4 and watchOS 2.2 mostly fix bugs.

Apple iPad Pro familyMany people have found last year’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro with its optional Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard useful as a productivity machine, but for others, it’s too ungainly to hold or too expensive. That was the impetus behind the just-announced 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which meets or exceeds many of the larger model’s specs.

For instance, the smaller model’s screen can display more colors and adjusts its white balance to match the ambient light in the room. Its cameras are notably better — the rear camera is 12 megapixels instead of 8 and has a True Tone flash, while the front camera is 5 megapixels instead of 1.2 and can use the screen as a flash. Plus, the new iPad Pro can record 4K video instead of just 1080p.

On the downside, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s A9X chip is somewhat slower, it has half the RAM, and its Lightning port transfers data at only USB 2 speeds. But if the size is right for you, prices start at $599 for 32 GB of storage and go up to $899 for 256 GB. It will be available in April in four colors: silver, gold, space gray, and rose gold. Cases and accessories designed to fit the iPad Air should work with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Apple Smart Keyboard for iPad ProSpeaking of accessories, Apple has a new Smart Keyboard sized for the new iPad Pro, and the Apple Pencil works perfectly with it. There’s also a new Lightning to USB Camera Adapter that’s useful not just for syncing cameras but also for using USB peripherals like Ethernet adapters, audio interfaces, card readers, and microphones.

With the iPhone SE, Apple is trying to meet the needs of customers for whom the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are too large. The iPhone SE returns to the iPhone 5 form factor, with a 4-inch screen and aluminum case. Otherwise, its specs are nearly identical to those of the iPhone 6s, with comparable performance. It fails to match up to the current iPhone lineup only in the lack of the 3D Touch technology, the Taptic Engine that provides feedback you can feel, and slower wireless networking. It’s either $399 or $499, with 16 GB or 64 GB of storage, and comes in the usual four colors. Cases and stands for the iPhone 5 should work with the iPhone SE.

Apple took the opportunity to release free updates to all its software platforms too. iOS 9.3 was the most significant, providing Wi-Fi calling for Verizon Wireless customers, improving sharing of Live Photos, adding two-factor authentication for all iCloud accounts, and more. The marquee addition is Night Shift, which adjusts the color temperature of your screen at night, reducing the amount of blue light emitted to make it easier to fall asleep.

iOS apps that received welcome updates include Notes, which can now password-protect notes and import from Evernote, and iBooks, which can now sync PDFs to other devices via iCloud. The Podcasts app can show full-screen video again, Wallet works better with reward cards, Maps has enhanced public transit info, and News boasts a better For You section along with a Top Stories category.

Apple TV 4th GenFor those with a fourth-generation Apple TV, tvOS 9.2 is a big deal, with better scrubbing through video with the Siri Remote, new Home screen folders, a redesigned app switcher to match iOS, Bluetooth keyboard support, text input via dictation, and initial support for both iCloud Photo Library and Live Photos.

OS X 10.11.4 El Capitan and watchOS 2.2 offer mostly bug and security fixes, although OS X’s Notes and iBooks apps received the same improvements as the iOS versions, and sharing of Live Photos works better as well.

All these operating system updates are free, but it’s worth waiting a few days to make sure early adopters don’t suffer any ill effects. As always, if you’re concerned about updating your hardware, come in and talk to us!


AVAILABILITY: iPad Pro 9.7-inch is available to ORDER NOW. (Shipments will begin next month.)

Apple updates iMac family; debuts new Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2

New and HOT

New and HOTiMac family revamped, including new 21.5-inch Retina 4K model
The iMac® family now includes the Retina® 5K display on every 27-inch model, and a stunning new Retina 4K display on the 21.5-inch model.

Both Retina displays now feature a wider color gamut that delivers more available colors so photos and videos appear even more true-to-life. More powerful processors and graphics, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, and new storage options that make the high-performance Fusion Drive even more affordable are also included.

Along with the Retina models, the 21.5-inch iMac models feature faster processors and graphics, and a 1TB hard drive. All iMac models come with the all-new Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2®. And customers can choose to configure their iMac with a Magic Trackpad 2® instead of Magic Mouse 2.


New Magic Keyboard,  Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 input devices announced
The new Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 feature all-new designs for increased comfort and capabilities, and rechargeable batteries that are more convenient and environmentally friendly. And the new Magic Trackpad 2 brings Force Touch to the desktop for the first time, adding a new dimension to the iMac experience.

The new Magic input devices pair automatically with your Mac as soon as they are plugged in via the Lightning® to USB charging cable, and can last about a month or more on a full charge.


Apple, the Apple logo, iMac, Retina, Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2, and Lightning are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Want to watch the live stream of Apple’s September 9th event? Here’s how.

 

Tomorrow morning (Wednesday), at 10am PDT (1pm Eastern, 6pm BST, 7pm CEST), Apple presents an invitation-only keynote, teased with the phrase seen in the graphic above: “Siri, give us a hint.”

That could be interpreted several ways, but most pundits agree Apple will, at the very least, announce new iPhone models. There are also rumors of a larger, more advanced Apple TV set-top box and new iPads, including the tantalizing possibility of a larger-screen “pro” iPad. But truth be told, outside the halls of Apple’s corporate offices, no one knows for sure exactly what the event will unveil.

But you can find out, in real time. Apple is live-streaming the presentation, which will take place in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. And you can watch it by heading over to this link. But bear in mind, there are some requirements:

“Live streaming uses Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) technology. HLS requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with Safari on iOS 7.0 or later, a Mac with Safari 6.0.5 or later on OS X v10.8.5 or later, or a PC with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10. Streaming via Apple TV requires a second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 6.2 or later.”

You might also want to keep a tab or two open in your browser for one or more of these tech site’s live blogs of the shindig:

Learn about this morning’s WWDC announcements in real time via Apple livestream, tech site liveblogs

Apple’s 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) launches with a keynote this morning. Expect big announcements about the next versions of OS X and iOS, along with developer-centric news about the Swift programming language and a Software Development Kit (SDK) for the Apple Watch. You can read some educated guesses about additional announcements over on Ars Technica.

If you’d like to experience each technological bombshell as it lands, Apple will be broadcasting the keynote live on their site – but you’ll only be able to watch it in their Safari browser, running on either a Mac or an iOS device, or on a 2nd-generation or later Apple TV.

In addition, a number of tech and business sites will be liveblogging the event:

Connecting Point earns Apple Premium Service Provider designation for 2015

Apple Premium Service Provider 2015

Apple Premium Service Provider 2015Connecting Point Computer Centers, the area’s only locally-owned, independent Apple retailer and services provider, is pleased to announce Apple has awarded us its Premium Service Provider designation. This accolade is given to an elite tier of Apple Authorized Service Providers in recognition of their unparalleled commitment to technical excellence and customer service. According to Apple, “Premium Service Providers consistently deliver exceptional repair support and customer experience that meet Apple’s exacting standard for high-quality repair and prompt service.”

Connecting Point traces its roots back to the pre-personal computer era. Founded in 1975 by Bob Howell and current owner and CEO Rick Mandell, Connecting Point began as a small stereo store. Later, the business expanded to embrace electronic parts, video gear, and even CB radios. But a turning point occurred in 1977, when Connecting Point – then part of the Minneapolis-based franchise TEAM Electronics – became one of the earliest retailers for the new, groundbreaking Apple II personal computer.

Today, Connecting Point is proud to sell, service, and provide unparalleled support for every product in the Apple line – including Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod. As one of just over a hundred Premium Service Providers in all of North America – that’s only 18% of the total number of Apple Service Providers – you can rest assured your Apple service will be performed by one of the oldest, most experienced, and accredited Apple service centers in the world.

Developers may now apply for tickets to 2015 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (June 8-12 in SF)

From the official website:

Apple’s renowned developer community will come together at WWDC to learn about the future of iOS and OS X.

WWDC features more than 100 technical sessions, over 1,000 Apple engineers,hands-on labs, and the Apple Design Awards.

Developers can apply for tickets to attend WWDC and millions worldwidewill be able to watch sessions streamed live.

WWDC Scholarships are available to students and members of participating STEM organizations around the world.

Apple’s ‘Spring forward’ event to be streamed live; begins at 10am PDT this morning

Today is the day. Back on February 26th, Apple sent members of the press invitations to an event they termed ‘Spring forward.’ This Daylight Saving Time wordplay almost certainly hints the event will involve the Apple Watch. Later this morning (at 10am PDT), the lights will go down in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, and we’ll find out exactly what it’s all about. You can watch the event live online at this link.

To view the livestream, you’ll need to have version 5.1.10 or later of Apple’s Safari browser on your Mac, or Safari on iOS 6.0 or later on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. You can also stream it through your second or third generation Apple TV, provided it has software version 6.2 or later. If you don’t have any of these options available, here’s a workaround that’ll let you stream it on Windows PCs and Android devices.

Here are a few links to media outlets’ live event coverage:

A roundup of this week’s new Apple product announcements

Apple Live Event October 16, 2014 - Watch it live

During yesterday morning’s special press event, Apple introduced a host of new products, along with some restructuring and repricing in their product lines (you can now get a new iPad for a little as $250, and a new Mac mini starts at just $500). Here are the highlights, along with availability information (as best we can determine—we will update this post as details emerge):

  • Apple iPad Air 2 familyiPad Air 2: The big splash was made by the debut of the iPad Air 2, a crazy-thin (just 6mm) iteration of its flagship full-sized tablet. It’s not only thinner, but faster, too. And you can now add a third color choice to the current Space Gray and Silver: Gold. The new color choice, along with the addition of TouchID, brings the iPad Air 2 in line with Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Prices start at $499.99. Available for pre-order immediately; we expect to begin filling orders in roughly two weeks. Find out more.
  • iPad Air: Yep, it’s sticking around—but it’ll cost you substantially less. Prices now start at $399.99. Available almost immediately. Find out more.
  • iPad mini 3: Similar specs to the original iPad mini 2, but now adds TouchID and the new Gold color choice. Available for pre-order immediately; we expect to begin filling orders in roughly two weeks. Find out more.
  • iPad mini 2 and iPad mini: Now cost much less than before. The Wi-Fi 16GB iPad mini, for example, now sells for $249.99—the lowest price ever offered for a new iPad. Available almost immediately. Find out more.

If you’re interested in a specific model iPad, contact us and we’ll get you the very latest availability and pricing.

Other announcements…

  • Apple iMac 27-inch running YosemiteiMac 27-inch with Retina 5K Display: The “5K” stands for “5000”—as in 5000+ pixels. The new flagship iMac boasts more than four times the pixels of its 27-inch brethren. That’s impressive enough, but the fact that it will sell for $2499.99—that’s just nuts. Most 4K standalone monitors sell for more than that. Basically, Apple’s throwing in a quad-core Mac with all the bells and whistles for free. Available for pre-order immediately; we expect to begin filling orders in roughly one week. Find out more.
  • Mac mini: The littlest Mac got a well-deserved, long-delayed makeover. The entry price point dropped a hundred bucks to $499.99—the lowest price ever for a new Mac. It now comes with two Thunderbolt 2 ports and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Available for pre-order immediately; we expect to begin filling orders in roughly one week. Find out more.
  • OS X 10.10 Yosemite: The long-awaited major update to the Mac’s operating system looks to be an impressive one, with hundreds of new features and enhancements—and is available for free download immediately.