Apple (AAPL) on Tuesday took the wraps off a slew of new products, including a much-anticipated refresh to its line of iPad tablets.
At a product event in California, the consumer tech giant also unveiled updated versions of its laptops, desktops and Mac OS.
The fifth-generation tablet, dubbed the iPad Air, is 43% thinner and features a 9.7-inch screen with Apple’s Retina display technology.
Apple said the new tablet will begin shipping on Nov. 1. The least expensive version, sporting 16 gigabytes, will cost $499.
The upgraded iPad Mini will get a Retina display for the first time, in addition to a faster processor. The 7.9-inch device will go on sale in late November for $399. Apple will continue to sell the original iPad Mini for $299, or $30 off its original price.
Apple’s new iPads will come at a time of intense competition in the market for tablet computer and ahead of the crucial end-of-year shopping season for retailers.
The company has recently lost market share to its rivals, with research firm Gartner projecting Apple’s market share to fall below 50% in 2013, compared to 54% last year and 65% in 2011. Meanwhile, tablets running Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system could gain as much as 50% of the market this year.
Apple’s software update for Mac computers will be available for download on Tuesday free of charge. The company previously offered OS updates to current users for a discounted price.
Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software engineering, said OS X Mavericks is faster and includes improved graphics and battery life.
The Cupertino, Calif., company also unveiled a new 13-inch MacBook Pro laptop that goes on sale Tuesday with a starting price of $1,299. The 15-inch version is also immediately available and starts at $1,999. Both models use Intel (INTC) chips.
Apple shares were down nearly 1% at $516.71 in recent afternoon trading.