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Apple Pushes Display Story at iPad Mini Launch

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Apple (AAPL - Get Report) Retina display, first seen six months ago with the new iPad, is now being featured across the Apple PC line, including on the new Apple iPad Mini, whose price starts at $329.

CEO Tim Cook brought the numbers and senior vice president for marketing Phil Schiller ran the demos, not just on the new Mini, but on a new iPad 4 and a complete refresh of the iMac and Macintosh lines, all built around the Retina display.

What's missing? A DVD or optical drive, which now becomes an accessory across the product line. And hard drives are disappearing, coming in only at the top end of the iMac line -- even there, they are offered in combination with chip memory as a new "Fusion Drive" that stores what you use most on chips, automatically, only using the hard drive for deep back-up.

The idea now is that your finger is the mouse, the network is how you get stuff, the screen is at the center of the experience, and everything else is peripheral.

Schiller emphasized the edge-to-edge glass construction on the new MacBook, and how the iPads now use the same aluminum-to-glass construction technique, making a product line that's much smaller and lighter across the board.

As senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive said in a film played during the event, "If all we had done was take the iPad and reduce it, you would have just seen what was missing. What we did was design a concentration of what we had before."

This means the iPad Mini has the same screen resolution as the iPad 2, yet it weighs .68 pounds and is just 72 mm thick. (Yes, they mixed measurement systems - Google says that's about .31 kg in weight, 2.8 inches thick at the center.) The event's "glory shot" was of Schiller holding the new Mini in one hand, which drew the loudest applause of the morning.

The pricing is aggressive, but still premium. The new iPad 4 has the same $499 price as the product it replaces. The 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,699. The desktop or "All In One" (because the processing is built into the monitor) iMac starts at $1,299, and there's a Mac Mini, basically a box-like home server, starting at $999.
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