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Roundup: Hands-on with Apple's new hardware


You probably can't wait to play with all the newly announced Apple hardware that you heard about today, right? Well, you can't, at least not yet. Thankfully, there were plenty of people at the event who did get to go hands-on with the slim and sexy new gadgets, and they can't wait to tell you what they thought about them. Here's a peak at just what they're saying.

The iPad mini

Engadget: "The device itself is precisely what you'd expect it to be: a slightly shrunken iPad, with a rear that resembles the new iPod touch. It's aluminum-clad, finely polished and equipped with a 7.9-inch LCD (1,024 x 768). The volume rocker, orientation / mute switch and bottom-mounted speakers are graciously borrowed from the conventional iPad, while the rest of the exterior maintains a pretty familiar look. No, there's no touch sensitive bezel (à la PlayBook), wireless charging or USB 3.0 support -- if you were looking for breakthrough hardware additions, you'll be sorely disappointed."

The Verge: "Like most Apple products, the build of the smaller tablet is excellent, easily surpassing the competition on the market. By comparison, the Nexus 7 and Fire HD feel like toys. Other manufacturers are going to have to up their game with this product in town. It's just a striking difference in materials and solidness."

Mashable: "You have to wonder if Apple could have gone the extra mile and made the iPad mini a full-on Retina device. It wouldn't have taken that many more pixels to push it over the edge. But that's a common behavior for this company -- leave the next level just out of reach, ready for the upgrade (likely next year, around the same time as the fifth-generation iPad)."

Ars Technica: "Indeed, it's a smaller version of the iPad, but in use, the iPad mini doesn't "seem" significantly smaller. Apple claims you can hold the device with one hand, which may be technically true for some of our larger-handed readers. For me, it was just barely doable, but still possible."

The new iMac

Engadget: "It's hard to overstate just how phenomenal this machine looks in the flesh. It's also unbelievably thin -- we'd be impressed if it were simply a new Cinema Display, but the fact that a computer is in there really takes it over the top. At $1,299, you'll be hard-pressed to find a sexier all-in-one (assuming you don't need an inbuilt optical drive, of course)."

The Verge: "Although Apple isn't calling this panel a "Retina display," the techniques and appearance of this panel are pretty close to Retina-level: the laminated front glass and anti-glare treatments make images look like they're lying right on top of the screen, and the same scaling options you get on a Retina MacBook Pro are present in system preferences."

Ars Technica: "As a current iMac owner, I did feel like the screen seemed less reflective than what I'm used to, although real world use would tell us more about the reality of that claim. Overall I was impressed by the design and wish I had the budget to replace my current machine."

GigaOM: "The two models on display were top of the line and it was easy to imagine that they would be speedy. However, nothing prepares you for the hybrid Fusion Drive Apple is using in this device. Apple's iTunes by far is the worst application on my old iMac and that is why I clicked on it first. And it open almost instantly -- it felt faster than the iTunes on my flash-drive based Macbook Air"

13-inch MacBook Pro Retina

Engadget: "Compared to the 1,280 x 800 resolution of the non-Retina 13-inch MBP, the new display is particularly stunning. Text has never looked more crisp, and colors are stupendously vibrant. Of course, apps, websites and graphics that haven't been optimized for Retina still look like utter rubbish, and as more Apple machines transition to these panels, the outcry is going to get even louder."

SlashGear: "We've been wowed before with Retina-level graphics, and the new MacBook Pro delivers the same impact. The mode most often used isn't actually stretching things to 2,560 x 1,600, but instead offering an on-paper lower resolution but with smoother graphics all round. The result is clean icons and text of the sort you'll struggle to find on a Windows notebook."

Laptop: "While other notebook-makers are busy churning out Windows 8 hybrids with touch screens, Apple is bringing its jaw-dropping Retina display to a laptop you can take anywhere. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display ($1,699) feels like the ultimate Ultrabook in person, thanks to its 2,560 x 1,600-pixel screen."

So what do you think? Out of all the things that Apple revealed today, what most caught your eye? Let us know in the comments!

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