Apple wasn't just giving away free software and releasing official pricing and specs for the new Mac Pro, they were also unveiling new iPads. It has rumored for quite some time that an iPad Mini Retina with a 2K screen just like the larger iPad was coming, and sure enough we got it today. But what turned out to be more interesting, is just how small and light they've gotten the 9.7" iPad. The device is so much smaller and thinner that they are putting it in its own category, referring to is now as the iPad Air. Check out the official launch video for the iPad Air below:
Two launch videos they've created with it:
When Apple introduced the first iPad (all the way back in 2010), there was barely any competition in the tablet market, and since then there has been an absolute explosion in this market -- not unlike what happened with the iPhone. Companies like Samsung and Google have introduced extremely competitive devices (with Microsoft taking a slightly different route), while Apple has continued to refine the original design, and make it more powerful and lighter.
For many people, the original iPad was just a bit too big and heavy for many uses, and so Apple introduced the Mini. Now with the Mini Retina, they've got similar internals as the 9.7" iPad, but with a 7.9" 2048 x 1536 screen that has a higher pixel density than the larger iPad (326 vs. 264). This means that it should have an extremely crisp image for viewing all sorts of content. That pixel density is actually very similar to the iPhone Retina, so it will be interesting if Apple introduces a large iPad with a pixel density to match the Mini (an iPad 4K perhaps?). We'll just have to wait and see.
iPads have become the go-to tablet with filmmakers and other creatives, and with the introduction of the Retina iPad, watching dailies or rough cuts on the road was a much more enriching experience. Now with the Mini Retina, that same viewing experience can be had in a much smaller package -- one that many people can hold in one hand. There are also still plenty of useful apps that can make your life on set that much easier, and those made to take advantage of the extra resolution on the iPad Retina will be right at home with the Retina Mini.
In the meantime, before they ship, here is a brief hands on with the iPad Air, as well as one with the new iPad Mini Retina:
Both will be available in November, with the Air shipping the 1st, and the Mini Retina trailing behind sometime later next month. Base configurations with WiFi will run you $400 for the Mini Retina and $500 for the iPad Air. They will still be selling the older version of both the iPad and iPad Mini, so if you want Apple but want it a little cheaper, you can still pick those up.
What do you think about the iPad Air? What about the iPad Mini Retina? Is that the perfect device for carrying around on set?