This week, we sensed a disturbance in The Force. Maybe it was a broken autocue. Maybe something catastrophic happened immediately before it began. Whatever the reason, Apple's latest keynote was the kind of thing you watch from behind your fingers.

As execs fluffed lines and made a hash of their obviously scripted banter, we all had the same thought: "This is about as cool as Microsoft!"

The launch may have been a horror show, but Tim Cook's World of Charts was mercifully short this time around and we quickly got to the meat: new products.

OS X Mavericks was released for free, new versions of iLife were released for free, and new versions of iWork were released for, you've guessed it, free.

Never mind the software, though. What everybody wanted to see was the hardware. There were new MacBook Pros with spec bumps and price cuts and the new Mac Pro was teased again: you still can't buy it - you'll have to wait until December - but at least you now know how much you'll need to save.

Air we go: Apple unveils everything
MacBook Pros and Airs are getting cheaper

Prices start at a hefty $2,999 (about £1,846, AU$3,088), and as with previous Mac Pros a few minutes messing around with the options list will produce a price so high even a Russian billionaire might balk at it.

Air raising

What everybody really wanted to know about wasn't the Mac Pro, though: it was the iPad 5, whose new name - it's the iPad Air - caused some red faces in newspapers the following morning when it became obvious who'd written their in-depth guides before the product was actually launched.

It's 64-bit and boasts the usual improvements: twice as fast, twice the graphics power, and so on. It's also significantly thinner and lighter, but surprisingly there's no Touch ID sensor like the one you'll find in the iPhone 5S.

iPad Air

Is it any cop? Over to you, Patrick Goss: "It's hard to put into words how much Apple has improved the iPad, offering a stunning level of detail and power with a build quality that's unrivalled," he says. "But the reduction in thickness, and especially weight could well ensure that the iPad Air is the finest tablet on the market."

Not everybody agrees. Our phones and tablets expert John reckons that it "fails to bring anything groundbreaking to the table," while news editor Kate reckons that it's "probably the nicest of the pointless devices available." Our total knee-jerk score? 4.4 out of 5.

We also wanted to know how the latest iPad stacked up against the competition. To the compare-o-meter! Here it is against the Surface 2; and here it is against the Nexus 10, the Xperia Tablet Z and the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9.

The iPad Air wasn't Apple's only new iPad. There's also the iPad mini 2 with Retina Display, which - yes! - is an iPad mini with a Retina Display. It's a big step up for the little tablet, as Patrick Goss explains: "A much-improved screen, a huge step up in processing power (hello A7, glad to see you could join us) and connectivity, and improvements to the camera make the iPad mini 2 with Retina a hugely improved tablet on the original."

Can Nokia light up tablets?

You've got to be pretty confident to launch a new product on the day of an Apple event, and you need to be doubly so if the new product is a tablet and the Apple event is for new iPads. Say hello to Nokia, who decided that this week would be a great time to unveil its Lumia 2520 tablet. We love the design and the price and, as your correspondent points out, Nokia is great at getting its hardware into the high street, subsidised by carriers and sold by salespeople.

Air we go: Apple unveils everything
The Lumia 2520: damn near flawless (we won't mention the OS)

Of course, there's a but - and it's a but so big that even Sir Mix-A-Lot might find it a bit much. The 2520 runs Windows RT, and some of us fear that "the problem with Windows RT tablets isn't the 'tablets' bit of the equation."