Apple showed off a slate of new computers with better screens, faster processors and higher price tags on Tuesday, including an iPad Pro that the company is trying to position as a primary work computer.
The announcements included a new MacBook Air, the first major update since 2011 of Appleâs slimmest laptop, and a new Mac mini, Appleâs entry-level home computer.
Apple tried to make its new iPad Pro the star of the show â one of its slick product-release events, this time at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Like Appleâs iPhone released last year, the new iPad has much smaller borders around its screen, eliminating space for a home button. Instead, owners will unlock the device just by looking at it, and control it with a series of swipes on the screen.
The change allowed Apple to make its larger iPad Pro about the size of a standard piece of paper, with 25 percent less volume than the last model, while retaining its 12.9-inch screen and increasing its speed and storage capacity. Apple also introduced a new iPad keyboard, a new stylus that charges wirelessly and connects magnetically to the iPad, and new iPad apps like Adobe Photoshop.
Apple executives repeatedly compared the iPad Pro with laptops and stressed that it could be a primary computer â an idea Apple is trying to push after years of sluggish iPad sales. The company promotes smartphones as something different from traditional computers, although they have become the primary personal computing device for most people.
Positioning the iPad Pro as a primary computer means Apple has also priced it like one, with the device costing more than many laptops. The old iPad Pro models cost between $650 and $1,280; the new models range from $800 to $1,900.
The new iPad also eliminates the headphone jack; a converter will cost $9. (And you canât use the headphone-jack converter from your iPhone because the new iPads switched to a USB-C port from Appleâs Lightning port.)
Apple additionally updated one of its best-selling laptops, the MacBook Air, the ultraslim computer that the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs pulled out of a manila envelope at a product introduction a decade ago. Apple made the MacBook Air faster, smaller and louder, and gave it a much sharper screen. It also increased its starting price to $1,200 from $1,000.
Apple made its Mac mini computer faster and more powerful, too, while increasing its starting price to $800 from $500. The company said it had developed a new aluminum alloy from shavings of recycled aluminum that it is using to encase the new MacBook Air and Mac mini, significantly reducing their carbon footprint.