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Stephen Hackett's weblog about Apple, Apple history, technology, journalism and design.

Concentration, Not Reduction

Apple had an event today. With lots of new products, consumers have lots of options for the holidays, but as with most of the company’s events, it was about far more than just the new devices.

iPad mini

In the new iPad mini video, Jony Ive says:

There is inherent loss in just reducing a product in size. We took the time to go back to the beginning and design a product that was a concentration of, not a reduction of, the original.

The iPad mini — from what I’ve seen in the coverage, at least — is not a reduction of the full-sized iPad. It runs iPad apps, looks like an iPad and works like an iPad.

It is an iPad.

As Shawn Blanc said, it’s the 11-inch MacBook Air of iPads. Can everyone use an 11-inch machine? No. Is the small Air a full-featured Mac? Of course.

Do people love them? Yes.

The iPad mini has more in common with the iPod mini than the MacBook Air, however. While it doesn’t suffer from the same storage restrictions the iPod did, the iPad mini does take the full-sized experience and boil it down to something smaller, lighter and more fun.

I think it’s going to do great.

13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

Apple’s MacBook Pro product matrix is now rather hilarious. There are four options: 13-inch and 15-inch, in Retina or not. While this is a temporary measure (I hope), it is weird. That said, the 13-inch Retina was inevitable.

With the Retina machines, Apple has stripped away what it deems unnecessary. Retina MacBook Pros are a concentrated version of their non-Retina cousins. They are simpler inside and out, thinner, lighter and more powerful.

(One way the Retina is more complex is in the fact that it has two internal fans. No other 13-inch machine, Pro or not, has shipped with more than one.)

The new iMac

While it’s not Retina, the new iMac is crazy thin, and features a newly-designed display..

Like the Retina machines, the new iMac drops the optical drive and a lot of weight and thickness. This graphic on Apple’s site really shows how much Apple has removed from its flagship desktop over the years.

One odd note: the 27-inch iMac doesn’t ship to December.

Wrap-up

Obviously, the news we will all remember from today’s event is the new iPad mini. However, the new full-sized iPad, MacBook Pro, iMac and more are all notable, and have on thing in common: simplicity. Apple’s moving its Mac product line in a direction of thinner enclosures with simpler internals. In doing so, they are removing features, distilling the products down to just the basics. The result is a more concentrated Mac, thinner and more powerful then ever before.

And that’s not a bad thing at all.