So, Wednesday this week NZ time saw yet another round of Apple product updates and announcements. Was there anything of interest to New Zealand schools in amongst the hype?
The most important part, in my view, was the release of the iPad Mini with retina display. In a post from last year when the mini was first released I outlined how the iPad mini was a much better form factor for a tablet than the standard iPad, with the one downside being the lack of retina display. Well, that downside is no gone, so I would say that the iPad mini would have to be top of the list as a tablet device for students and teachers.
The new mini will probably be more expensive than the current model, but should still be a $200 or so less than the larger iPad 4 or iPad Air. If you are looking at buying bulk tablets for your school, the savings from buying minis means more iPads for your dollar, while providing a device that a lot of people will actually prefer using. It is not often that you can pay less money for a better option! Don’t be tempted to snap up remaining discounted stock of the non-retina iPad minis, you won’t regret spending a few extra dollars for the new model.
It was also great to see Apple’s move to make the latest major upgrade to OSX Mavericks free, which will make it a much easier decision for schools on whether to upgrade or not. There are no major must-haves in OSX 10.9 from my point of view, but the reported performance and battery life improvements can’t go astray, if they are to be believed. And hey! at least you won’t have to look at the tacky fake leather border on the calendar and address book anymore—that has to be worth the 5.9GB download in itself.
Quick tip if you are upgrading to Mavericks—given the 5.9GB download, you don’t want to run the upgrade on every school computer. So upgrade one machine, and once the download is finished, but before you run the upgrade, copy the “Install OS X Mavericks” that will appear in your Applications folder to a USB drive. You can then copy this file in the Applications folder on any other Mac and run it (as long as the hardware is new enough). Also, don’t forget to backup before you do run the upgrade—we have had at least one laptop that did not come back to life after going through the upgrade process.