by Brad Moon | October 22, 2013 3:11 pm
Just a month after the big iPhone reveal, Apple (AAPL) once again invited the tech press to an special Apple event — this one expected to be focused on new iPads.
With its tablet business stumbling, competitors like Samsung (SSNLF), Amazon (AMZN) and others running Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system now control 60% of the tablet market. Toss in Microsoft (MSFT) continuing to flog its Windows-based Surface tablets, and it’s clear Apple badly needs to re-invigorate its iPads before the critical holiday shopping season.
The iPad line brought in $31 billion in AAPL revenue in 2012 — 20% of the company’s total. With that much at stake, AAPL stock investors have been anxiously awaiting what Apple would reveal today … particularly for the iPad Mini. Apple’s best-seller looks over-priced, under-powered and sports a woefully outdated display compared to the crowded field of 7-inch Android tablets it competes against.
A seriously upgraded iPad Mini could prove a major win for AAPL over the holidays, while a failure to catch up could leave it in the dust of the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HDX and others.
Let’s take a look at what was revealed at today’s Apple event in San Francisco.
Apple has now sold its 170 millionth iPad, and Tim Cook brought out stats saying the iPad is rated No. 1 in customer satisfaction, represents 81% of tablet usage share and offers 475,000 apps designed specifically for tablets.
In other words, in declining market share, AAPL management is pushing the iPad’s superiority.
Here’s what’s available in the fifth generation, full-sized Apple iPad:
Tim Cook says the top request for the iPad Mini was an updated display — and Apple delivered with a Retina display. What went ignored were complaints about the iPad Mini’s price. At $329, it’s a $100 premium over most competing tablets.
What did Apple do? It lowered the original iPad Mini price marginally to $299, but upped the ante for the new version, which now starts at $399.
That move may suck some of the air out of Apple’s holiday sales. Here are the details for the new Apple iPad Mini:
Apple revealed a new OSX Mavericks operating system designed to optimize performance and battery life. And after dissing a $199 Windows 8 upgrade, Apple announced Mavericks is a free download (available today).
Plus, refreshed MacBook Pros now sport Intel (INTC) Haswell chips for better performance and up to 9 hours of battery life along with faster flash storage, connectivity and WiFi.
Prices for both models have been shaved by $200 compared to last year (13-inch now starts at $1,399 while the 15-inch now starts at $1,999). The new Mac Pro — with up to 7 teraflops of computing power and the ability to drive three 4K displays simultaneously — is made in the USA and will be available in December starting at $2,999.
With updated Macs, cheaper prices and a shiny new operating system, Apple is clearly looking to halt its sliding PC sales. “We still belong strongly in the category,” Tim Cook said at the Apple event.
Apple’s core suite of apps — iLife — has been updated to 64-bit for both mobile (iOS 7) and the PC (OSX Mavericks), with iCloud integration receiving heavy promotion for sharing between devices.
The new iLife apps come free with any new Mac or iOs device. The iWork productivity apps are also refreshed and updated to 64-bit, and feature full file compatibility between mobile devices and Apple’s PCs.
The iCloud version of iWorks has added real-time collaboration features … no iCloud account or Mac required (Windows PCs can access and edit the files).
After pointing out the $99 Microsoft Office annual subscription, Apple is offering iWork free for Mac and iOS devices.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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