FORTUNE -- For the first time in years, Apple (AAPL) held a product unveiling at San Jose's California Theatre and, as many predicted, the company delivered. It unveiled a 7.9-inch version of the iPad, dubbed the iPad mini. Also on display: a 13-inch MacBook with a high-resolution Retina Display, redesigned iMac, faster 9.7-inch-sized iPad, and updated Mac minis.
I managed to spend some time with every product save the Mac mini, which was not made available. Here are some first impressions. (More to come!)
New iMac. A redesign for the iMac has been a long time coming, and Apple appears to have hit a home run by making it significantly thinner. On stage, Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller was quick to point out that it's 5 millimeters, which it is -- but only at the display's edges. Where the computer base meets the display, it's significantly thicker. The computer also lacks a Retina Display, a rumor the blogs had been kicking around in the last few months.
13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. You'd be forgiven for thinking you've seen this notebook before because chances, are you have. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display looks nearly identical to the 15-inch version Apple rolled out earlier this year, only of course, smaller. More impressive than the fact that it's 20% thinner is the weight. Hovering just over 3.5 lbs., this MacBook Pro is 1 lb. lighter than predecessors, and it feels it. In fact, it's just half a pounder heavier than the 13-inch MacBook Air, but with significantly faster parts. The $1,699 base model includes a 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigabytes of RAM, 128 GB of flash storage, and 7 hours of battery life. Everyday tasks zipped along, but I have more once I get my hands on a review unit.
4th generation iPad. Apple seemed to surprise many in the audience by announcing a new 9.7-inch iPad just half a year or so after the previous version launched. The external design remains the same, save for the new Lightning connector port. But inside there's a new, faster A6X chip which promises twice the processor and graphics performance. Also onboard: up to twice as fast WiFi reception. Indeed, the iPad felt snappier overall when loading and switching between apps.
And the pièce de résistance:
iPad Mini. Apple's biggest splash was the most anticipated. With the long-rumored 7.9-inch iPad, the company is entering an area of the tablet market Jobs once brushed off. And yet, more than two years after the first-generation iPad launch, we have this pint-sized mini. So, what's it like? At .28 inches thick and .68 lbs, it's very much a miniature version of the iPad tens of millions already own, but lighter and thinner, about as light as those old Reader's Digests kicking around your parents' basement. In other words, you'll never be complaining about the weight.
Because the iPad mini uses a slower processor, don't expect apps to load and menus to snap like they do on the fourth generation 9.7-inch iPad, but speed, at least during the 10 minutes or so I spent with it, did not appear to be an issue. (It has the same processor as the iPad 2.) Those spoiled by the sharpness of the Retina Display may find their eyes briefly adjusting to the iPad mini's 1,024 x 768 resolution screen. But again, it's a non-issue given the tablet's small size. At $329, more than Google's (GOOG) Nexus 7 or Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle Fire HD, it's not the cheapest of the lot or even "competitively priced" per se.
Something tells me this thing -- particularly the white version -- will sell well.
Sterne Agee's Apple analyst sees lots of room for growth in PCs and mobile phones
In a note to clients issued Wednesday, Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu makes the case that Apple's (AAPL) shares, still down 8% from their recent highs, are a "compelling" buy. He offers four reasons:
"As much success as AAPL has had," he writes, "the company has only 4%-5% share in mobile phones and 4%-5% in PCs (12%-13% including MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 10, 2011 7:56 AM ET
A bad day to invite customers to purchase products "from the convenience of their iPhone"
Tuesday was a busy day for Apple (AAPL). Very busy.
The company refreshed its Mac mini line. It started taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4. And it launched a free Apple Store app. According to the press release:
"The new Apple Store app makes it easy for US customers with an iPhone or iPod touch to find an MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 15, 2010 10:24 AM ET
With Tuesday's refresh, Apple's "most affordable Mac" just got less so
When Apple (AAPL) updates an aging computer, it usually keeps the price the same and bumps up the specs -- increasing processor speed, disk capacity, built-in memory, etc.
Not this time. The new Mac mini, which quietly popped up on Apple.com early Tuesday alongside the higher-profile iPhone 4, starts at $699, $100 more than the previous model and $200 more than MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 15, 2010 7:05 AM ET
The pressure is on Apple's CEO to surprise and amaze the tech world on Monday
"You won't be disappointed," wrote Steve Jobs a few weeks ago in one of his cryptic -- and increasingly frequent -- e-mail pronouncements.
This one was in response to a fan concerned that Apple's (AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference, which Jobs will kick off with a keynote address, had been upstaged by Google's (GOOG) I/O conference a few MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 5, 2010 5:23 PM ET
Some computer wishes seem to have come true this holiday season
Last time we looked -- on the eve of Cyber Monday -- there was a conspicuous discrepancy in Amazon's (AMZN) computer department between the "Most Wished For" and "Most Gifted" machines. Customers may have been hoping for Apples (AAPL), but it looked like they were getting Toshibas, Acers and Hewlett Packards (HPQ) instead.
One month later, on Christmas morning, that discrepancy MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 25, 2009 7:02 AM ET
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, the update of Apple's (AAPL) current Macintosh operating system that Steve Jobs said would ship in "about a year" when he introduced it last June, may not arrive until later this summer or fall.
That's one of the nuggets of news offered by Kaufman Bros.' Shaw Wu in a report to clients issued Wednesday.
Among other findings Wu turned up in a check of his sources MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 11, 2009 10:03 AM ET
Apple's (AAPL) last Macworld Conference and Expo opens Monday at San Francisco's Moscone Center, but the real action starts Tuesday at 9 a.m. PT (12 noon ET) with senior vice president Phil Schiller's opening remarks -- the first Macworld keynote not delivered by Steve Jobs since 1997.
Nobody's expecting breakthrough products that rise to the level of the iMac (Macworld 1998), the iBook (1999), iTunes (2001) or the iPhone (2007), but MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 3, 2009 2:14 PM ET
If it was Steve Jobs' intention to take the wind out of Macworld's sails, he's done a pretty good job.
"Expectations are low," wrote Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster in a note to clients early Tuesday, one week before the first Macworld Expo keynote since 1997 that won't be delivered by Apple's charismatic CEO. "No significant new products are expected."
"Fairly modest" is how Kaufmann Bros.' Shaw Wu described investor expectations for the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 30, 2008 12:08 PM ET
None of this is set in stone -- especially as long as Steve Jobs retains the prerogative to change his mind at the last minute -- but AppleInsider has posted the most definitive road map to date of Apple's (AAPL) fall product lineup.
Citing unnamed "people familiar with the situation," AppleInsider's Kasper Jade ticks off a schedule of release for a batch of new iPods, overhauled notebooks and refreshed iMacs, confirming MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 28, 2008 10:38 AM ET
|Stocks finish higher for fourth straight week|
|Prison exclusive: Bernie Madoff can't sleep|
|Signs of new housing bubble in several areas|
|Google says you'll know when Glass is sketchy|