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Apple's Big Day: Updates to OS X, iOS, iPads, iMacs, and Mac Mini

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By William Peacock, Esq. on October 16, 2014 12:55 PM

We're gadget geeks, so we wait around for every Apple event, but today's event promised big things for even all you normal folks with friends: upgraded Macs. Why is that important? Because Windows 8 is terrible, Windows 10 is a year away, and you might need to upgrade your computers now.

Or maybe you're one of the many folks who run Mac in your law office. Either way, today's event had a lot of new goodies of business users, as well as incremental upgrades for the company's iPad line.

Because we had a big day of writing about judges behaving badly planned, we followed Ars Technica's live blog. Here's what stood out to us:

iOS and OS X Upgrades: Available Soon

We've already talked about Yosemite, and previewed it, and tested it for months. What's my opinion, as a recent convert from the Windows ecosystem? Yosemite is magnificent, stable as hell, and a huge visual upgrade from Mavericks. And if I had to choose between Windows 8.1 and Mac OS X Yosemite, the latter wins -- hands-down.

OS X Yosemite is available now in the iTunes store.

For all you iPad and iPhone owners, iOS 8.1, which is pretty much a batch of bug fixes, will be available on Monday.

iPad Air 2 and Mini 3: Incremental Upgrades

There were no surprises on the iPad upgrades whatsoever, and not just because Apple accidently leaked the details yesterday. Here is a mostly accurate depiction of the announcement:

Truth be told: This is your annual, incremental upgrade. The main addition is the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on both of the new iPads.

Otherwise, the iPad Air 2 is slightly thinner, slightly faster (A8x chip), and has a slightly less reflective screen. The rear-facing camera is significantly upgraded to an 8-megapixel iSight camera. The front-facing selfie-cam is also updated. Wi-Fi and LTE are upgraded as well: Both are faster.

All around, this is an incremental upgrade in every single aspect of the full-sized device. And for the iPad Mini, this is barely an upgrade at all: they added a fingerprint sensor -- that's it.

Should upgrade from your iPad Air or iPad Mini (2) with Retina display? Probably not, unless you need the latest-and-greatest for bragging rights. But if you are coming from a way older iPad, the new models certainly are intriguing.

Just don't go for the 16 GB of non-upgradeable storage. With "Retina" displays, that's barely enough room for iOS and a few apps. We really don't understand why Apple even offers such a low capacity device anymore.

iMac Upgrade: HUGE

Want a Retina display on your iMac? How about a 27-inch 5k display that makes your 1080p HDTV look like a bad VHS tape? It's also 30 percent more energy efficient than older iMacs' displays!

Yeah, this is an upgrade. It's also $2,500. Ouch. It is pretty though.

Mac Mini Upgrade: HUGE

When was the last time the Mac Mini was upgraded? It's been two years, according to MacRumors, which means the current models were ancient. After a few retailers put their existing stock on clearance earlier this year, it seemed like only a matter of time until the upgrade arrived.

It's here, it's not surprising, but it's very necessary. The Mac Mini finally has Intel's Haswell processors (which were released last year and brought vastly upgraded graphics). More importantly, it got a price cut as well: $499 for the base model, which is in line with other budget Windows-based PCs. (Of course, as always, with the Mac Mini you have to bring your own keyboard, mouse, and monitors.)

Still, if you're a Mac-lovin' law office (or just hate Windows 8.1 and want to try something different), at that price point, Mac Minis should certainly be on your radar, especially since you can use your existing monitors and mice with your Macs. We'd recommend getting a Mac keyboard though -- the Windows key can get a bit confusing when you aren't on Windows.

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