The Woodward News

Community News Network

October 22, 2013

Apple introduces feather-light iPad

Apple this week introduced its first new iPads in a year, and they're mostly about what people expected, with two exceptions. One is that the company's new high-end tablet doesn't come with Touch ID, the fingerprint-sensing technology that Apple introduced in its new iPhones last month. And the other is that it's really, really light.

It's called the iPad Air, and it weighs just 1 pound. That's down from 1.4 pounds in the last version, which may not sound like a whole lot, but represents serious feats of engineering and design. There's an awful lot of electronic equipment squeezed into a frame that's just 7.5 millimeters thick, and no doubt Apple marketing executive Phil Schiller was telling the truth when he said the company looked for anyplace it could shave one-tenth or one-hundredth of a millimeter off of a component. "To make an iPad this thin took an enormous amount of work over years," Schiller said.

The question is: Was it worth the trouble?

The original "Air" in Apple's lineup, the Macbook Air, has been a hit. But that's because weight is a serious issue when it comes to laptop computers, many of which are heavy enough to make people think twice before deciding to lug them around all day. Is there anyone out there who had the same misgivings about the 1.4-pound previous-generation iPad? This may be a case in which consumers see diminishing returns from Apple's engineering exertions.

On the other hand, the approach clearly differentiates Apple's new tablet from those of, say, Microsoft, whose chunky Surface 2 weighs nearly twice as much. And it is true that the iPhone 5, which resulted from a similar focus on lightweight design, gains an almost surreal, futuristic feel from its lightness in your hand. Schiller insists the iPad Air will likewise dazzle people when they pick it up. The company's first ad for the device shows off its thinness by concealing it behind a pencil.

Yet consumers for whom lightness is an object already had a better option in Apple's tablet lineup: the iPad Mini, which weighs just two-thirds of a pound. Apple also unveiled a retooled iPad Mini this week, the iPad Mini with Retina Display. Strangely, though, that one weighs a little more than its predecessor, at close to three-fourths of a pound.

All of this matters quite a lot for Apple, which is hoping the new gadgets can help it reverse a startling slide in iPad sales, from over 19 million in the second quarter of 2013 to just 14.6 million last quarter.

The iPad Air will start at $499 for the Wi-Fi version and $629 for one with cellular technology. The iPad Mini with Retina Display will start at $399 and $529. Both of the new products feature 64-bit A7 chips, like the company's new iPhones. The iPad Air will be available on Nov. 1, with the new Mini coming later in the month.

Apple will still sell its existing iPad 2 for $399, and the original iPad Mini for $299.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo