Apple announced a new and faster iPad today (less than eight months after the new Retina iPad), along with an entirely new product line, the iPad mini. For most filmmakers though, that's an appetizer to the main course -- which happens to be brand new computers, including a new Mac mini, a 13" Macbook Pro with a Retina display, and new (incredibly thin -- pictured left) 21" and 27" iMacs. We didn't get a Retina iMac like many were hoping for (or a new Mac Pro for that matter), but the fact that they squeezed an entire computer inside such a thin housing is a remarkable feat. Click through for the rest of the details.


Since it was a pretty big day, here is a rundown of what was released and when it's going to be available:

  • iPad -- faster with Lightning port | $500 and up for Wifi, $630 and up for LTE | Both versions available in November
  • iPad mini -- with 7.9" 1024 x 768 display | $330 and up | Available in November
  • Mac Mini -- Dual 2.5 Ghz or Quad Core 2.3 Ghz Ivy Bridge Processor | $600 and up | Shipping Now
  • 13" Macbook Pro -- Retina display - 2560 x 1600 | $1,700 and up | Shipping Now
  • 21" iMac -- 1920 x 1080 display | $1300 and up | Ships in November
  • 27" iMac -- 2560 x 1440 display | $1800 and up | Ships in December

So they announced new iMacs -- big deal, right? Well, it's some of the less than obvious features that make the new offering interesting -- besides removing the optical drive, and adding USB 3.0. They've also made NVIDIA GPUs the standard for these new iMacs, so you should be able to take better advantage of CUDA acceleration in Adobe programs like Premiere and After Effects.

One of big breakthroughs is a brand new screen that is supposedly less reflective -- which I'm sure will make many folks happy. Here's a little bit about that screen:

The new iMac display is not set behind the cover glass — it’s right up against it. The LCD itself is 5 mm thinner than before, and we used an advanced process called full lamination to eliminate a 2-mm gap between the LCD and the glass, something that has never been done on a display this large. Although it may not seem like much, those few millimeters are enough to make images look as if they’re leaping off the glass. Full lamination has a second major benefit: It eliminates the reflection of light off the LCD panel and off the back of the display’s cover glass. But we also figured out how to reduce reflection off the front of the glass without compromising color quality. Instead of applying an antireflective coating to the glass in a conventional way, we adapted a process used on smaller surfaces like camera lenses and fighter pilots’ helmets. It’s called plasma deposition, and it involves coating the glass with layers of silicon dioxide and niobium pentoxide so precise and so thin they’re measured in atoms. The result: an astounding 75 percent reduction in reflectivity — and vibrant, accurate colors.

OK, so some of that is marketing speak, but the one thing you can say about Apple is they are always doing something groundbreaking related to making screens fit into thinner housings. Another interesting tidbit they mentioned, is that each display is being put through its own extensive color correction test before shipping, ensuring that the displays are all individually calibrated. That might not seem like a big deal, but Apple has always delivered stunning color performance, and this will most likely remove any inconsistencies.

Apple is also introducing new hybrid drives into the iMacs and the Mac Mini. They take an SSD and a traditional spinning drive and fuse them together for better performance, which they've aptly named Fusion Drives. This technology is not new, but it's certainly new for Apple and OSX, and it will give you all the benefits of having a fast SSD drive (faster load times and a speedier workflow overall) but without sacrificing on total space. They are offering configurations that go all the way to 3TB with these Fusion Drives, so you won't have to choose between speed or space -- you can have both.

The new 13" Macbook Pro interestingly enough has a similar resolution as the 15" computer, 2560 x 1600 vs. 2880 x 1800. Obviously not all programs are Retina-capable yet, but it definitely makes the case for high resolution films above 1080p. If 2K and above screens become commonplace, why not release your film in multiple higher-res versions similar to Tom Lowe's Timescapes? They've also added USB 3.0 to this computer as well as the rest of the product lines, including the Mac Mini. It's a relief that Apple has decided to support both Thunderbolt and USB 3, as there have been far more devices (namely external hard drives) made for the USB 3 spec.

Apple still has not delivered a new Mac Pro, but as Tim Cook said, we will probably see a new one in 2013. How about Retina iMacs? There's a good chance that Apple has not been able to get the price down on the screens for those, but when they do, it's likely we will be seeing a 4K or 5K screen. That would surely be a must-buy for a lot of RED owners, actually being able to see their footage on a native or close-to-native screen for only a few thousand dollars. Only time will tell though, we'll just have to wait until 2013 to find out.

You can read more about the announcements and pre-order or order these products by going to the Apple website.

What do you guys think? Which announcements are you interested in? What do you think about the new iMacs?

Link: Apple -- Website