Apple unveils new iPads, releases OS X Yosemite
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The iPad is getting a facelift.
Apple unveiled new editions of the iPad and iPad Mini at an event in California on Thursday, where it also announced that its new Apple Pay system will launch on Monday, Oct. 20.
The new tablets — the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini — both come with TouchID fingerprint sensors, which previously were only available on the iPhone. You can use the TouchID to make purchases online with Apple Pay, though it won’t work at cash registers in stores the way the new iPhones do.
The Air 2 is just 6.1 millimeters thick, 18% smaller than the previous iPad Air. It’s also got a souped-up processor, improved Retina display and a camera that takes panoramic photos up to 43 megapixels.
Both of the new iPads will be available for preorder on Friday and will ship by the end of next week. They’re available in gold in addition to the traditional silver and dark gray.
The Air 2 starts at $499 for the 16-gigabyte, WiFi-only version, while the same version of the Mini 3 goes for $399.
The 64-gig Air 2 is $599, while the 128-gig version is $699; for an additional $130, you can get a version in each of those sizes equipped with cellular data connectivity. Apple is also cutting prices for the older iPads.
Apple also unveiled a new 27-inch iMac desktop computer that begins shipping today and goes for $2,499.
On the software side, Apple announced that its new operating system, OS X Yosemite, will be available for free to download in the App Store on Thursday. The latest update to its mobile software, iOS 8.1, will be available Monday.
Yosemite got a big design update, making the interface for Macs look much more iPhone- and iPad-like. It comes with a revamped “spotlight” function that searches both the Mac and the Web.
There’s also the new iCloud Drive, a cloud storage feature that syncs all Mac folders across every Mac, iPhone or Windows PC that a user owns.
The “continuity” function ensures that your various Apple devices are aware of one another, so you can pick up on one where you left off on another — for example, starting a Web browsing session on your iPad and then picking it up later on your laptop. It also lets you make calls or send texts from your computer.
The updated iOS will support Apple Pay and brings back the Camera Roll. The new iCloud Photo Library feature allows you to sync your images across devices.
Apple released its iOS 8 software last month, though the rollout was hobbled by the delay of its new HealthKit platform and problems with a software update that left some users unable to place calls or use their fingerprint readers.
By James O’Toole