After Apple’s iPad Mini Event earlier today, reporters were given a chance to go hands-on with everything that had been announced by Apple. We’ve collected all these hands-on impressions into one mega-guide, so read on to find out everything you need to know about the iPad Mini, the brand new iMac and the brilliant new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.
…the smaller iPad is clearly aimed at classrooms and readers — two sectors where frills aren’t exactly necessary. Where it excels, predictably, is the overall fit and finish. Just as the bigger iPad, this one feels delightful in the hand. If you’ve held an iPad, you know where we’re coming from. Yes, it’s lighter and more nimble, making it feel as if Apple concocted its own version of the 7-inch tablet.
The iPad mini can easily be held with one hand for reading. Menus and other onscreen items can be reached with that hand if they are close. Of course, you can’t expect to be able to navigate the mini’s screen with one hand, but you can touch and scroll. With two hands you can actually lay the mini in the palm of one hand while navigating with the other.
The thinness and sleekness of the casing cannot be overstated. It feels as high-end as the new iPhone, but even sharper in the hand — like a slice of solid aluminum. […] The display on the mini looks incredibly sharp, and even though the resolution is lower than the 3rd and 4th generation full-size iPad, it doesn’t immediately seem like a 1024 x 768 display.
Everything about the aesthetic emphasizes the relative simplicity of those two halves, though there’s obviously plenty of engineering gone into making them work together. At first glance, the narrow side bezels look somewhat odd, but they make far more sense when you actually pick the iPad mini up.
It’s hard to overstate just how phenomenal this machine looks in the flesh. It’s also unbelievably thin — we’d be impressed if it were simply a new Cinema Display, but the fact that a computer is in there really takes it over the top. At $1,299, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a sexier all-in-one (assuming you don’t need an inbuilt optical drive, of course).
Here it is, the thinner new iMac — and it is extremely thin. Apple’s using a ridiculously aggressive rounded backplate to make the sides appear almost impossibly thin until you come around fully to the back, at which point the true depth of the machine is apparent. It’s a trick, but it works incredibly well, especially on the 27-inch model.
Those hoping for a compelling alternative to the new Windows 8 all-in-one PCs we’ve been seeing have had their wishes granted. […] the narrow iMacs are just as impressive in the metal as they are in photos. These are all-in-ones you almost can’t believe contain a full computer.
But the slimmed down design is mostly an aesthetic bonus, and the real value of this new iMac comes in the form of the new screen, which is something you have to see to truly get the full effect of. By combining screen and display glass as Apple has done with its Retina MacBook Pro and iPhone, everything on the computer looks that much closer to the surface, which results in a very pleasing effect. The reduced glare is also significant, and even under relatively inhospitable bright lighting and at various angles, the display on the new iMac shines (but not literally, which is the best part). Sure, it’s not technically Retina pixel density, but if you’re actually using one you probably won’t notice.
As for how it performed, it was very much like using the 15-inch rMBP, which is my main machine currently. In the hand, however, it feels significantly lighter, at about a pound lighter than the bigger model. That’s a big difference for a machine you carry around with you all day, and alone might sway some users, price considerations aside.
Without question, this machine raises the bar for the ultraportable category. You could easily argue that this is the sexiest, most capable Ultrabook on the market — after all, there’s nothing stopping you from loading Windows 7 (or, soon, Windows 8) onboard and calling it a day. For Mac users in the market for a laptop upgrade, this guy should absolutely be considered.
We only had a limited amount of time to test performance, but the 13 only hit 50 percent CPU utilization when we played the 1080p Iron Man 3 trailer while simultaneously playing back a multitrack GarageBand file and scrolling around a 21-megapixel RAW file in Aperture. That’s impressive — and very encouraging considering the relatively weak Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics.