Apple's Reveal: What Was Missing

Oct 23, 2013 (05:10 AM EDT)

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Apple iOS 7: Visual Tour
Apple iOS 7: Visual Tour
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Apple on Tuesday revealed a slew of new products. It refreshed its iPad tablets, its MacBook Pro laptops, its desktop operating system, and a bevy of its mobile and desktop apps.

Apple's full-size iPad was improved with a thinner and lighter design with a faster processor but the same battery life and same great screen. Apple added a Retina-grade screen to its iPad Mini tablet, which now has a 7.9-inch screen with 2048 by 1536 pixels. That makes it one of the best screens in the market for its size.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro lost weight, size, and was updated with better internals. It's also cheaper than last year's model. The 15-inch MacBook Pro also received a spec bump. Apple finally announced its next-gen Mac Pro, which hits store shelves in December starting at $2,999. Last, Apple said that its new desktop operating system, Mavericks, will be available to Apple customers for free beginning Tuesday.

The company covered a lot of ground, but, as usual, didn't mention a handful of things people were hoping to see. Here's what was missing from Tuesday's event.

TouchID For iPads

Apple introduced the iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina display. Both are impressive tablets that are thin and light, but neither adopted the iPhone 5s's TouchID fingerprint sensor.

[ Not everyone is enamored with Apple's latest iPhone. Read Why I Returned My iPhone 5s. ]

Many believed the sensor would be a lock-in for the new iPads. Alas, that wasn't the case. Neither new iPad has the fingerprint sensor and instead uses the same Home button that's been a part of most Apple iOS products.

Camera Improvements

Another feature expected to grace the iPad was an improved camera. In fact, many believed Apple would give both the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina display the same 8-megapixel sensor found in the iPhone 5c. Instead, the iPads will include a 5-megapixel sensor. The new iPad imager includes backside illumination, a five-element lens, f/2.4 aperture, and HDR imaging. The user-facing cameras are limited to 720p HD video capture and 1.2-megapixel images.

Keyboard Accessory

Though the rumor popped up only in recent weeks, some thought Apple would introduce a new keyboard cover for its iPads. If you want a keyboard for your iPad, you'll need to rely on Logitech or Zagg to provide the goods.

New iPods

Apple did not refresh its lineup of iPods this year. It has adopted an every-other-year refresh cycle for its dedicated media players, but their future is somewhat questionable. With the iPad Mini starting at $299, there's not a lot of room for a $199 or $299 media player in Apple's lineup.


Apple didn't announce a smartwatch. Though multiple reports this year have suggested such a device would arrive this year, it looks like that won't be the case. Apple did not answer the challenge thrown down by Samsung's Galaxy Gear. Instead, it appears as though the company will wait until next year to offer its own smartwatch.

Revised Apple TV

Apple has kept its long-time hobby just that: a hobby. Apple refreshed the internals of its TV accessory earlier this year, and despite many reports to the contrary, it didn't provide a brand-new device, nor even significantly update the software of the existing device. Apple has been coy about its long-term intentions with the Apple TV. If and when it will ever get serious about its hobby is anyone's guess.

Lower Pricing

Rather than reduce the price of its tablets, Apple is playing the same game with the iPad and iPad Mini that it is with the iPhone. Last year's iPad Mini will live on alongside the iPad Mini with Retina display, albeit for less money. Apple reduced the price of the Mini to $299, while the Mini Retina starts at $399. Similarly, Apple has kept the iPad 2 in its lineup for $399 and the iPad Air starts at $499. Apple did not drop its least expensive tablet anywhere near Nexus 7 territory.