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Apple-mania

Apple reveals the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, and 27" iMac

Apple reveals the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, and 27" iMac

At Apple's "special event" on Thursday, CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple Pay will launch Monday, before revealing the new iPad Air 2.

Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, provided an update on iOS 8, including details on the new "health kit," as well as Swift, a new programming language for iOS and OSX that promises to make writing code "interactive and fun." Federighi also described iOS 8.1, which will incorporate a new iCloud photo library that can be accessed via any device — including PCs — via iCloud.com.

Of course, after the recent leak of celebrities' nude photos (for which Apple denied responsibility), the presentation also included several slides addressing how Apple is "doubling tripling down" on security. Apple also unveiled the new WiFi Direct AirPlay, which will allow Apple devices, including iPhones and Apple TVs, to create their own network to use AirPlay, even if the devices aren't on the same WiFi network.

Federighi devoted a significant portion of the event to the new Yosemite release, including a number updates to the Safari browser. Federighi emphasized that using Safari allows for longer device battery life, especially when using your browser to access streaming services, including Netflix. Safari will also be updated to include a "tab view" for obsessive internet users. The best part? The new Yosemite will be available for download — for free — today, and Apple iOS 8.1 will be available on Monday.

Cook then revealed — as many suspected — the latest version of the iPad. He noted that iPads are outselling PCs, and the iPad Air is "number one" in both customer satisfaction and in usage. Cook proudly displayed the new iPad Air 2, which at 6.1 mm, is thinner than a pencil.

Phill Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said the iPad Air 2 has the lowest reflectivity of any tablet and is also the world's thinnest, and it features improved retina display, a fingerprint scanner, Touch ID, and Apple Pay for online purchases (but not retail shopping). The new iPad Air 2 ranges in price from $499 to $699. Schiller also revealed the iPad Mini 3, prices for which begin at $399. Preorders begin Friday, Oct. 17, Schiller noted, and Apple will begin to ship the devices next week. Let's be honest, though — the world was probably going to go for the latest iPads no matter what the new features were.

After the iPad revelations, Schiller revealed the new 27" iMac, which will feature Retina 5k display with "seven times more pixels" than an HDTV, Schiller noted. The new iMac will cost $2,499, and it will ship starting today. The Mac Mini also received a quick update, and it will start at $499 (and ships starting today as well).