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Apple unveils new Macs and thinner iPad Air

The company showed off the new products at an event in San Francisco.

APPLE UNVEILED A new, thinner, lighter tablet called the “iPad Air” along with a slew of new Macs ahead of the holiday shopping season as it faces growing competition from rival gadget makers.

The California company made the announcements today at an event in San Francisco.

iPad Air

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Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, introduces the new iPad Air. Pic: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The iPad Air weighs just 1 pound, compared with 1.4 pounds for the previous version. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller called the tablet a “screaming fast iPad.” He said it is eight times faster than the original iPad that came out in 2010.

The iPad Air will go on sale November 1 and start at $499 for a model with 16 gigabytes of memory, while the iPad 2 will continue selling at $399.

A new iPad Mini, meanwhile, will be available later in November starting at $399 for a 16-gigabyte model.

The iPad’s market share has been eroding compared with cheaper rivals running Google Inc.’s Android operating system. Research firm Gartner Inc estimates that Android tablets will end 2013 with a 50 per cent share of the worldwide market versus 49 per cent for the iPad. Just two years ago, the iPad commanded a 65 per cent market share compared to 30 percent for Android tablets.

iPads and Macbooks

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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on stage before a new product introduction on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, in San Francisco. Pic: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Apple sold 14.6 million iPads in the June quarter, down 14 percent from the same time last year. It was the first year-over-year decline in iPad sales.

Nonetheless, Apple CEO Tim Cook touted that Apple has sold 170 million iPads since the tablets launched three years ago.

Apple also refreshed its computer lineup. A new, 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is thinner and lighter, Schiller said, adding that the laptop has up to 9 hours of battery life, enough to “watch the entire trilogy of ‘The Black Knight’ on one charge.”

The notebook’s new price is lower: $1,299, compared with $1,499 for the previous version.

A larger MacBook Pro, with a 15-inch monitor and 256 gigabytes of storage starts at $1,999, compared with $2,199 for the previous version.

The Mac Pro, a high-end desktop computer aimed at what Apple calls “power users,” will be available in December for $2,999.

The company also said that its latest computer operating system, Mavericks, is available free of charge.

Apple says nearly two-thirds of its mobile devices are running iOS7, the revised operating system it released in September.

Read: Apple removes HMV music app from App Store>

Read: Apple sends event invites amid rumours of iPad update>

About the author:

Associated Press

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