The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Community News Network

October 22, 2013

Apple introduces feather-light iPad

Apple this week introduced its first new iPads in a year, and they're mostly about what people expected, with two exceptions. One is that the company's new high-end tablet doesn't come with Touch ID, the fingerprint-sensing technology that Apple introduced in its new iPhones last month. And the other is that it's really, really light.

It's called the iPad Air, and it weighs just 1 pound. That's down from 1.4 pounds in the last version, which may not sound like a whole lot, but represents serious feats of engineering and design. There's an awful lot of electronic equipment squeezed into a frame that's just 7.5 millimeters thick, and no doubt Apple marketing executive Phil Schiller was telling the truth when he said the company looked for anyplace it could shave one-tenth or one-hundredth of a millimeter off of a component. "To make an iPad this thin took an enormous amount of work over years," Schiller said.

The question is: Was it worth the trouble?

The original "Air" in Apple's lineup, the Macbook Air, has been a hit. But that's because weight is a serious issue when it comes to laptop computers, many of which are heavy enough to make people think twice before deciding to lug them around all day. Is there anyone out there who had the same misgivings about the 1.4-pound previous-generation iPad? This may be a case in which consumers see diminishing returns from Apple's engineering exertions.

On the other hand, the approach clearly differentiates Apple's new tablet from those of, say, Microsoft, whose chunky Surface 2 weighs nearly twice as much. And it is true that the iPhone 5, which resulted from a similar focus on lightweight design, gains an almost surreal, futuristic feel from its lightness in your hand. Schiller insists the iPad Air will likewise dazzle people when they pick it up. The company's first ad for the device shows off its thinness by concealing it behind a pencil.

Yet consumers for whom lightness is an object already had a better option in Apple's tablet lineup: the iPad Mini, which weighs just two-thirds of a pound. Apple also unveiled a retooled iPad Mini this week, the iPad Mini with Retina Display. Strangely, though, that one weighs a little more than its predecessor, at close to three-fourths of a pound.

All of this matters quite a lot for Apple, which is hoping the new gadgets can help it reverse a startling slide in iPad sales, from over 19 million in the second quarter of 2013 to just 14.6 million last quarter.

The iPad Air will start at $499 for the Wi-Fi version and $629 for one with cellular technology. The iPad Mini with Retina Display will start at $399 and $529. Both of the new products feature 64-bit A7 chips, like the company's new iPhones. The iPad Air will be available on Nov. 1, with the new Mini coming later in the month.

Apple will still sell its existing iPad 2 for $399, and the original iPad Mini for $299.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014