Here's What Apple Introduced During The Press Event: iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, 5K iMac, And More

During a special event on Thursday, Apple introduced a number of new products ranging from wearables to Apple Pay to a new iMac with a Retina display. We've broken down the press event into seven products:

Apple Pay
First up to bat was Apple Pay, the company's new payment system that launches on October 20 in the United States. This Touch ID service only applies to customers with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Owners of these devices will see the service as a free software update to iOS 8.

To use Apple Pay, shoppers merely hold the device near a contactless reader and hold a finger on the Touch ID button. There are a huge number of retailers just waiting for Apple Pay customers including Babies’R’Us, Foot Locker, McDonald’s, Office Depot, RadioShack, Walgreens and loads more.

The company reports that this service supports debit and credit cards from American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. More than 500 banks are now on board, including American Express, Bank of America, Capital One Bank, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo.

Apple Watch
Apple already introduced this wearable tech back in the beginning of September. This device doesn’t plan on going retail until early 2015; however, developers will be able to get their hands on WatchKit, a software development kit for the Apple Watch, in November.

OS X Yosemite
The new version of OS X is a free upgrade on the Mac App Store. Apple redesigned the platform to be more “modern” and added a number of new features such as Spotlight, iCloud Drive for storing files in the cloud, a Today view in the Notification Center, and an “enhanced” Messages app. There’s also an updated version of Mail, Family Sharing, iTunes 12 and more.

The new Mac platform has streamlined, translucent toolbars and sidebars. The platform also includes Continuity features such as Handoff, which allows the user to start an email on one Apple device and finish it on another. There’s also Instant Hotspot, AirDrop, and a new feature that allows SMS messages to automatically appear not only on the iPhone, but on all iOS devices, including the Mac.

iPad Air 2
The crazy-thin iPad Air 2 was probably the most impressive gadget during the show. This 6.11 mm tablet runs on Apple’s A8X second generation 64-bit chip, and it includes 3 billion transistors and the M8 motion coprocessor. The tablet is 180 times faster than the original iPad, and it includes a battery promising 10 hours of battery life.

According to Apple, the M8 motion coprocessor taps into the accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and barometer and collects their data so that the main processor doesn’t have to deal with it. That means a faster tablet.

The iPad Air 2 also includes a new 8MP camera that allows users to take large panoramas, simultaneous pictures with burst mode, time-lapse shots and slow-motion videos. The front-facing FaceTime camera has also been updated, capable of capturing 80 percent more light than the previous generation.

Pricing will be $499 for the 32 GB model, $599 for the 64 GB version and $699 for the 128 GB version. For the cellular models, pricing will be $629 for the 16 GB version, $729 for the 64 GB version and $829 for the 128 GB version. This tablet will be offered in Silver, Gold or Space Gray colors.

iPad Mini 3
Like the iPad Air 2, this model will be offered in Silver, Gold and Space Gray. The device will also have Touch ID, allowing owners to make payments using Apple Pay. Not much was said about this version save for that it, along with the previous iPad Mini 2, has the A7 chip as well as a 5MP iSight camera, a FaceTime HD camera, speedy wireless connectivity and a Retina display.

Pricing for the new iPad Mini 3 will be $399 for the 16 GB model, $499 for the 64 GB model and $599 for the 128 GB model. The original iPad Mini will now cost $249 and the second-generation iPad Mini 2 will now cost $299 (both 16 GB).

iMac Retina 5K Display
Apple introduced a new 27-inch iMac with a Retina 5K display, meaning it has a resolution of 5120 x 2880 (14.7 million pixels). Also included is a 1 TB Fusion hard drive, a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (up to 3.9 GHz), an AMD Radeon R9 M290X GPU, and 8 GB of RAM. There are also Thunderbolt 2 ports, capable of speeds of up to 20 Gbps each.

This new Mac can also be configured to sport AMD’s Radeon R9 M295X graphics, as well as an Intel Core i7 processor with speeds up to 4.4 GHz. Other upgrades include 32 GB of memory, a 3 TB Fusion Drive, and PCIe-based flash storage with a capacity of 1 TB.

Apple explains that the new iMac’s screen uses a “precisely manufactured” oxide TFT-based panel. The display also uses an Apple-designed timing controller (TCON), LEDs, and organic passivation to reduce power consumption and provide a clearer display. The display also uses a new photo alignment process and a compensation film for an improved contrast ratio. There is supposedly absolutely no air in between the display components.

The iMac with Retina 5K display is now shipping for $2,499. This model includes the Intel Core i5 processor, AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics and a 1TB Fusion Drive.

Mac Mini
Apple has also updated the Mac Mini, offering three models to choose from. For $499, customers get a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (1.4 GHz, 2.7 GHz), 4 GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 5000 and a 500 GB hard drive. For $699, customers will receive a version with a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (2.6 GHz, 3.1 GHz), 8 GB of RAM, Intel Iris Graphics, and a 1 TB hard drive. And for $999, customers will see a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (2.8 GHz, 3.3 GHz), 8 GB of RAM, Intel Iris Graphics, and a 1 TB Fusion drive.

In addition to those components, the Mac Mini will also have two Thunderbolt 2 ports, Wireless AC connectivity, Mac OS X Yosemite, and free apps such as iMovie, GarageBand and the suite of iWork apps.

You can check out additional coverage on our sister sites. Here's more on OS X Yosemite and hands-on with the iPad Air 2 and iMac Retina 5K.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+

  • husker
    "This device measures just 6.11 mm, and it's thinner than two iPad Air tablets stacked together."

    I would hope its thinner than double the last generation. I think you mean two of these stacked together are thinner than an iPad Air tablet.
  • XM Keeper
    "The tablet is 180 times faster than the original iPad"

    Oh just shut up.
  • Tim Read
    "The tablet is 180 times faster than the original iPad"

    Oh just shut up.

    Or at least get it right - Possibly, it has 180x more processing power but that does NOT make it 180x faster...
  • Tim Read
    A quad core cpu has 4x more processing power but it is never 4x faster than a single core processor...
  • Au_equus
    The iMac's r9 M295x is based on the tonga gpu and its cousin is the r9 285, but according to this:
    it has a max tdp of 250w (which is more than the r9 285 of 190w). Where is all that heat going in that form factor?
  • @Au_equus, I seriously doubt that. MXM has max tdp of 100w I believe. So the m295x should have the same tdp as the m290x.

    Supposedly AMD has had these more efficient chips for 3 months now, just waiting for existing inventory to sell out. I think the huge efficiency increase we saw with nvidia is at the greatly improved 28nm process, so AMD should have access to the same efficiency improvement.
  • Ragnar-Kon
    Seems like the usual "better than last year" product release. The iPad Mini 3 in particular is very unimpressive. Seems like an iPad Mini 2 with a Touch ID. Yay?

    That said, very curious about this 5K display—particularly the custom timing chip Apple designed for it. $2500 is too expensive for me... but hopefully someone will do an in-depth exploration of this new display at some point.
  • Innocent_Bystander
    Not bad. As a student I'm starting to see the appeal behind the iPAD for taking notes, carrying my books and such around on it. I might go for a 32GB version just to lighten the load in school and have an all in one study solution. A bit Pricey though.
  • mrmez
    No mention that the 5k iMac can be spec'd with a 4790k.
    Thats pretty impressive.
  • rbarnhart
    Apple is not in trouble financially, but when the current gen of zombies begin to slow their repetitive purchases and consumers become more aware of the degree to which they over pay for the whole suite of products, their naked over branding without substance may finally become more apparent to a world that is at the moment still unwilling to see it.