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Apple unveils new iPad Air, announces OS X Maverick will be free

The new iPad – now called the iPad Air-- is thinner than the previous generation and weighs just 1 pound.

iPad Air Apple CEO Tim Cook holds the new iPad Air.
Credit: Getty Images

Though many weren’t surprised to hear about Apple’s new iPads, MacBook Pros and Mac Pros, they were shocked to find out that the company would be releasing their latest operating system for $0.

OS X Maverick had been buzzed about for some time, but Apple surprised consumers by announcing the program would be completely free and available on Tuesday.

“Imagine if Microsoft suddenly said Windows was free of charge instead of charging a ridiculous amount for it,” Steve Sande, editor of The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW), explained to Metro World News. “OS X Mavericks has a lot of new features, does a better job of handling power requirements (battery life is better on laptops), and it works better with iOS 7.”

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OS X Maverick improves battery life, equaling about an extra hour of time on a single charge if the person is using a 13-inch MacBook Air. It also compresses inactive memory and has integrated graphics, so it can run 1.8 times faster relative to the computer’s processing unit.

Upgrades allow you to get more notifications from websites, use finder tabs and tags, and have multiple display support. Notifications will send push notifications, iMessages and IMs to your desktop. You can also take advantage of Safari’s accelerated scrolling and have the ability to share links from your searches.

Apple also said they were launching improvements for the iWork suite, including upgrades to the word processing program Pages, spreadsheet program Numbers and presentation program Keynote.

The company made this move to compete directly with Microsoft Office. Users of Microsoft’s product can work on their projects across devices and platforms, but they have to pay a $99 yearly fee to use Office 365.

People who make the move to iWork suite will get the all the cross platform benefits for free. The programs will come gratis with the purchase of any new Mac or iOS device, and will be available for use online as well.

If you want to shell out for something, Sande said to take a closer look at the new MacBook Pros. The laptops saw a bevy of improvements, and are actually cheaper than the previous model.

The 13-inch model is thinner (0.71 inches thick), lighter (3.46 pounds), has nine hours of battery life and has Wi-Fi that’s three times faster. A base model will set you back $1,200.

The 15-inch model will have a retina display, Iris Pro integrated graphics, last 8 hours on battery and start at $1,999.

“The new MacBook Pros -- more powerful at a lower price -- are worth considering for those who are in the market for a new laptop computer,” Sande said.

For those in the market for a desktop, the new Mac Pro -- which will be available in December – starts at $2,999. It has the latest Intel Xeon E5 processors, up to 64GB of RAM, dual AMD FirePro graphics chips, and up to 1TB of PCI Express solid state storage. It will also have six Thunderbolt 2 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet jacks, and an HDMI output.

Weigh your options before deciding to plunk down some cash for that iPad though. The new iPad – now called the iPad Air - is thinner than the previous generation and weighs just 1 pound. It runs on Apple’s A7 chip and includes the M7 chip found in the iPhone 5S. If you want to go smaller, the second generation iPad mini now comes with Retina display and an A7 chip.

iPad Air will be available on Nov. 1 starting at $499 for a 16 GB model, and the iPad Mini will be in stores in November starting at $399 for a 16 GB model.

“For someone who doesn't have an iPad, one of the older models would be an excellent choice, especially the $299 iPad mini,” Sande said. “For those who are using the iPad for work or personal needs that require more processor power, the new iPad Air is going to be a good choice.”

 
 
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