If you're Apple, you use some to update much of your product line in time for the holidays. You build on your lead in some areas, and answer competitors' advances in others. Oh, and you cut your laptop and desktop prices by a couple hundred bucks, and start giving away key software.
Apple's pitch has always been that it charges more for premium products built around an integrated hardware-software ecosystem. On Tuesday, just weeks after unveiling two new versions of its pathbreaking iPhone, Apple doubled down on that strategy seeking to cement its standing, scoffing at competitors.
You don't need a scorecard to recognize its targets -- that's been clear ever since
But on Tuesday, Apple CEO
As Cook announced improvements to Apple's tablets, laptops, and Mac Pro desktops at its
"Our competition is different. They're confused. They chased after netbooks," Cook said, drawing laughs over a concept that the iPad eclipsed three years ago. "Now they're trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows what they will do next?"
Apple, of course, has suffered its own missteps. Turn-by-turn misdirections on its Apple Maps app are still the butt of late-night jokes, despite Apple's fevered efforts to fix its database's flaws.
Some critics also see misjudgment in the early performance of its new iPhones. Although Apple reported a record nine million first-weekend sales of its iPhone 5S, sales of the
That doesn't concern veteran Apple-watcher
Apple's sweet spot in
Tablets. Apple will introduce a new
But the biggest change will come in the fifth-generation iPad, rechristened iPad Air, which weighs in at a pound, about six ounces lighter than last year's. Bajarin was sold after trying it. "You really can hold it in one hand and read."
To be sure, the 9.7-inch iPad Air will weigh nearly three ounces more than Amazon's 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX tablet, also due out next month. But Amazon, which zinged Apple on Wednesday with a "Lighter than Air" home-page pitch, calls that a "breakthrough ultra-light design."
Computers. Base prices drop
Software. Apple began offering free downloads of its latest OSX operating system, Mavericks, on Tuesday -- upgrades it used to charge for. Purchasers of new products will also get its iLife and iWork suites for free.
NEW FROM APPLE
IPad Mini: Second generation features the Retina display already offered on some Mac products, and runs on the new 64-bit processor; starts at
Mavericks: Apple's new operating system helps extend battery life and provides a more efficient memory that helps it run faster; provided for free and available immediately for download on Macs dating back to 2007.
MacBook Pro: Updated 13-inch and 15-inch models with new
Mac Pro: Updated desktop model features new-generation Intel Xeon processor with 4, 6, 8, or 12 cores and the fastest memory ever in a Mac.
Software offerings: Improved iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, and the iLife and iWork suites, which received updates to match Apple's new mobile and PC operating systems; offered free with the purchase of any new Apple device. Previous owners can update their software for free.
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