Besides planning your year-end holiday, this is also the time to take a look back and see if you’ve done enough to maximize your tax exemption. If you’re a Malaysian and the last time you bought a computer was more than three years ago, perhaps you should consider a new purchase. And if Apple Inc.’s (Nasdaq: AAPL, stock) products are one of your Christmas gifts wish list, this is the best time to get it. Apple has unveiled a new iPad called the iPad Air.
Those who had bought iPad 4 a year ago has every reason to cry and whine. For a start, the iPad Air (next generation iPad 5) is 20% thinner than the previous version – a mere 7.5mm (0.3in) thick. If that is not enough to raise your eyebrow, what about its new weight of only 1 pound (469g)? Compared to the 1.4 pound previous model, it’s hard to ignore this “lightest full size tablet in the world”. To add more bells and whistles, the iPad Air comes with A7 chip, the same processor in just launched iPhone 5S, making this new iPad twice as fast as previous model.
Although iPad Air doesn’t comes with Touch ID fingerprint sensor, its graphics are 72% faster than the very first generation of iPad. I suppose Apple deliberately leaves the fingerprint sensor for its next iPad Air 2. Apple’s new iPad will have a 5 megapixel camera, 1080p HD video and retain the 9.7-inch Retina display. The iPad Air will replace the full-sized iPad, but Apple will still make the iPad 2 available for $399. Now, if you’re sold and ready to make the purchase, wait till you read what does iPad Mini has to offer.
Together with iPad Air, Apple also announced a new iPad Mini. As expected, the second generation 7.9-inch iPad Mini is now “Retina display”, packing 2048-by-1536 resolution at 326 pixels per inch (ppi) from previous 163 ppi. That’s even crunchier (literally) than iPad Air’s 264 pixels per inch (ppi) because the bigger brother has a 9.7-inch display. In case you miss the excitement here – this latest iPad Mini is also packed with Apple’s A7 chip (64-bit desktop architecture) which includes the M7 chip.
The wow-factor here is the new iPad Mini actually jumps one generation from previous A5 chip to A7 processor. Both new iPads feature two antennas to support Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology, bringing twice the Wi-Fi performance to iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display at a blazingly fast data rate up to 300 Mbps. The new iPad Air and iPad Mini (both come in silver and space gray) are priced at $499 and $399 (Wi-Fi model) respectively for the entry 16 GB model.
While iPad Air goes on sale Nov-1 and iPad Mini later in November, the tablet will be available for purchase in 42 countries and territories, including China – a first for the iPad. Here comes the headache – should you get the iPad Air or the iPad Mini? Both have the same technical specification and almost identical if not for the different display size. You either choose a 9.7-inch iPad Air or a 7.9-inch iPad Mini for a difference of $100 bucks (from 16 GB up to 128 GB model).
Apple also announced that the latest version of its Mac operating system, Mavericks, would be offered at no cost to owners of computers already running any version of OS X released since 2009. It is the first time the company has not charged for a major Mac OS upgrade. More freebies – latest versions of iWork and iLife apps for the Mac, iPhone and iPad are now free. In addition, Apple added faster processors to its MacBook Pro notebooks with Retina displays, cutting the starting price of its 13-inch and 15-inch models by $200. The 13-inch Macbook Pro now starts at $1,299.
At 0.71-inches thin, the updated MacBook Pro with Retina display delivers unbelievable performance. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display features fourth generation dual-core Intel Core i5 processors up to 2.6 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz. New integrated Intel Iris graphics deliver up to 90% faster performance than the previous generation MacBook Pro with Retina display. The 13-inch model can be configured with faster dual-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, not to mention up to nine hours of battery life, two hours more than the previous generation.
Now, back to the question – which one to buy – iPad Air or iPad Mini? Well, if you do not own any of the iPad, it’s no-brainer that iPad Air should be the choice. However, if you already own the fourth generation iPad, perhaps it’s time you pass it to your spouse or kids. That would give you a reason (or rather an excuse) to get the powerful and crispy iPad Mini. But if you do not fancy a smaller 7.9-inch display screen, it’s advisable to keep your existing iPad 4 because chances are the next generation iPad Air 2 would come with fingerprint sensor, and perhaps waterproof (*grin*).
** Update: It seems IRD has become smarter by declaring tablet is not considered computer and hence not tax exemptible starting this year, 2013. Congrats to those who bought it last year nevertheless.
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