10/29/2012 04:28 pm ET Updated Dec 29, 2012

Tablets for Everyone!

Microsoft's Surface tablet debuted on Friday. It's going to run Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system and Microsoft is making a big deal out of it. Is the Surface a Tablet or a Laptop? Perhaps it's somewhere in the middle. Will you love it or hate it? So much depends on your Windows needs and how closely integrated you are into the world of Microsoft.

My guess is that you'll really like the super thin one with the better camera that comes out next year and sincerely love the 7" version when it comes out in three years. For today, let's give the nice folks in Redmond some kudos and an "E" for effort. This is by far the coolest device Microsoft has introduced since the Xbox 360. And there is a good chance that, if they stick with it, the Surface may represent the future of Microsoft.

Now, just a few days ago, our friends at Apple showed off a whole bunch of stuff. Not only did Apple announce the iPad Mini, but they also announced improved MacBook Pros, iMacs, Mac Minis and even the full-sized iPad. What should you buy? Here what you need to know about the new crop of Apples.

iPad Mini

It is, in fact, named the iPad Mini. It's 23 percent thinner than the 4th-gen iPad (details on this below), and has a 7.9 inch screen with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels, the same as the iPad and iPad 2. It weighs just 0.68 pounds.

The screen size is one-third larger than competing 7" Android tablets, which lets you view 49 percent more of a website in portrait mode and 67 percent more in landscape mode.

It has a rocking 10 hour battery, plus a dual-core A5 processor (same as the iPad 2), along with a FaceTime HD camera and a 5 MP iSight camera on the back.

Oh yeah, and LTE, which rocks. The LTE also supports Sprint's network, too.

There are 16, 32 and 64 GB models that are priced at $329 / $429 / $529 for Wi-Fi only. Pre-orders of these begin on Friday and will ship Nov. 2.

The LTE models will be available for pre-order and purchase two weeks after the Wi-Fi models, and will run $459 / $559 / $659 for the same capacities.

4th-gen iPad

We should have seen this coming when the iPhone 5 got its Lightning port. The iPad released earlier this year ("the new iPad" aka third-gen) is no more. It's replaced by the 4th-gen iPad, which Apple now calls the iPad with Retina Display as a means of distinguishing it from the Mini and the iPad 2 (which is still available for purchase).

The only real changes are a newer processor, the A6X chip, which gives it 2x graphical improvement. It has a Lightning connector, just like the iPhone 5. Its Wi-Fi is two times faster and now has capability for LTE on Sprint.

MacBook Pro With Retina

The other biggest announcement of the day was a refresh of the 13" MacBook Pro, now with Retina Display. It is 20 percent thinner, one pound lighter. It's still heavier than the Air, but lighter than all other MacBooks.

The screen's resolution is 2560x1600 pixels, which is an insane amount on a screen that small. It has almost twice as many pixels as a 1080p HD TV.

It also has two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, an HDMI port and an SD Card Reader.

It's a beautiful computer. It starts at $1,699 with a 2.5 GHz dual-core i5, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of memory. Ships today.

Non-Retina MacBook Pros are still sticking around, primarily because of the $500 starting price difference.


Even sexier than the new MacBook pro, the new iMac is a beauty. It's only 5mm thin, which is way, way thinner than the previous version. CNET described it as a "giant iPad on a stand."

The iMacs come with four USB 3.0 ports plus two Thunderbolt ports and Gigabit Ethernet. 21.5" model starts at $1,299.

Mac Mini

Last but not least, the Mac Mini also got an overhaul, with USB 3.0 ports, the option for dual or quad-core i5 or i7 processors, and up to 16 GB of RAM. Starts at $599 for 4 GB of RAM and 500 GB of HDD.

All in, this is going to be a great Tablet holiday season. Apple iPads in every size, Samsung, Google, Amazon and now Microsoft... Tablets for Everyone!!!