Durban - A new, slimmer version of the Apple iPad, called the iPad Air, was launched by Apple in San Francisco on Tuesday.
The new full-size tablet is 20 percent thinner than the previous version, weighs 450g, and is “screaming fast”, Apple vice-president Phil Schiller said at the unveiling.
An array of other products was revealed by the company, including a new line of Mac notebooks and computers, the iPad mini with retina display and, most notably, the latest computer operating system, Mavericks.
The Mavericks and iWork software suites, which compete with Microsoft’s Excel, Word and other applications, will be offered free, challenging the Microsoft’s near-stranglehold on personal computing.
“We are turning the industry on its ear, but this is not why we’re doing it,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said. “We want our customers to have our latest software.”
This is the first time Apple has distributed a major update like Mavericks without charging – 10.8 Mountain Lion was priced at R195, while 10.7 Lion was R292. The free update is available to everyone running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and above, and also for computer models dating back to 2007.
The updates are available immediately.
The iPad Air will start at about R5 000 in the US
Apple, which jump-started the tablet computing market in 2010 with the first iPad, has come under increasing pressure from cheaper devices.
Cook dismissed the competition as lacking direction.
“Our competition is different – they’re confused,” he said. “Now they’re trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows what they’ll do next?
“We have a clear direction and an ambitious goal.” - The Mercury