The Bottom Line – Apple's October 2014 Products

Apple announced their final major product updates of the year today. I’ve tossed together a little table that summarizes the announcements and whether you should get one. You’re welcome.

Product What’s New Cost Should I Get One?
iPad mini $50 price drop $249 (16) No – the technology inside is 3 years old.
iPad mini 2 A new name (formerly iPad with Retina Display)

A $100 price drop ($150 for the 32 GB)

$299 (16) / $349 (32) YES – if you are looking for a competent 8″ tablet you can save $100 on one! The A7 running inside still keeps it running smoothly.
iPad mini 3 Touch ID

Gold option

128 GB option

Apple SIM*

$399 (16) / $499 (64)  / $599 (128) Maybe – if you really want any of the new features listed. For $100 less you can get last year’s model (the mini 2) with the same processor, screen, camera, etc.
iPad Air $100 price drop $399 (16) / $449 (32) Maybe – if you want a competent tablet for $100 less than last year. The A7 running inside still keeps it running smoothly.
iPad Air 2 Touch IDA8X CPU – 40% faster performance and 2.5X faster graphics

18% less thick and slightly lighter

Less screen glare

Improved 8 MP camera with slow-motion video

Gold Option

128 GB option

Apple SIM*

$499 (16) / $599 (64) / $699 (128) YES – If you want the full-sized iPad it just got faster, thinner, and better overall. As with the iPhone 6, you get 2x the storage (64 GB) at the middle price point than you did last year.
iMac with Retina 5k Display 5K display – 4X the number of pixels as the standard 27″ iMac. This is the largest Retina display that Apple offers.Slightly faster processors

Faster graphics

Fusion Drive

$2,499 Maybe – If you really want a fantastic display and have $2,500 to spare then go for it! Otherwise you might want to wait a couple of years for technology to catch up and prices to potentially come down. Intel is releasing a new processor architecture next year and while it does have better graphics than the standard models, it needs the power to push all of the pixels. Translation – you probably won’t see an improvement in gaming. If you’re doing photoshop or video editing then maybe it’s a good idea.
Mac mini $100 price dropFaster CPUs

Improved graphics

Faster wirelessThunderbolt 2

Faster flash storage (if equipped)

Fusion Drive Hybrid Hard Drives (traditional drive + flash)

$499 YES – if you were waiting for a mini. Apple updates the Mac mini once a year so this will be it for a while. All of those improvements for $100 less than last year’s model isn’t a bad deal. If you don’t game and want a competent little machine, this is it.
iOS 8.1 Enables Apple Pay for iPhone 6 / iPads w/ Touch IDReturn of Camera Roll

Fixes for broken Bluetooth calling in cars

Other fixes and treats

FREE YES, BUT – Wait a few days! iOS 8.1 will be released on Monday, but given Apple’s iOS 8.0.1 fiasco a few weeks ago it’s probably a good idea to wait a week or so before installing unless it promises to fix something that is really driving you nuts.
OSX Yosemite A new look that matches iOS 8Continuity & Handoff – share apps across Mac OS X and iOS, take calls / get texts on your Mac

A bunch of other stuff

FREE YES, BUT – Wait a week or so for this one as well. It is available on the Mac App Store today but it might be a good idea to let the other bleeding-edgers find any major issues first.

*Apple SIM allows the user to switch the plans of cellular models between AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile networks. Previous models were tied to the network they were purchased on for life. Verizon is not included.

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