We had all been waiting for this October Apple event since the rumors continued to poor in that a new MacBook Pro was about to be showcased. With Apple changing to smaller virtual announcement events, the products have been shifted to be showcased in shorter thematic presentations. Well yesterday, we were presented with a strange combination of items in a quick hour long event.
Apple kicked off the event talking about the sound systems across the Apple product line and therefore the service that connects them all – Apple Music. With over 90 million songs, Apple decided to take the catalog experience a step further with more Siri integration including playlists set for any mood. This will allow more control without the need to browse from a specific device. This also lead to the creation of the Apple Voice Plan. For $4.99/month – you’ll be able to access the catalog and have a cheaper access option to Apple music. It basically removes the graphical interface support and lossless/dynamic audio.
Home Pod Mini
Home Pod Mini was a bit of a let down for folks. As many were looking for a more competitive product to compete with the Amazon Echo line, we got a new array of colors. The segment basically pushed the same features available and just incorporated the new colors.
AirPods Generation 3
One product that we all expected to launch with the iPhone 13 lineup last month, AirPods generation 3 finally were showcased in the October event. With spatial audio being added to this non-pro line, everyone will be able to enjoy the spatial audio experience. With 30 hours of total listening time (when using the charging case – which now includes MagSafe charging) – you’ll be able to easily integrate this into your current Apple setup starting next week at $179.
The New MacBook Pro
The true star of the event (accounting for 30+ minutes of the 50 minute event) was the update to the MacBook Pro line. It looks like the day of the pack of dongles is no more as the HDMI port and others return to this iconic machine. The front facing webcam finally gets a nice bump up to 1080p (although the notch is of course going to bother people for whatever reason). The Liquid Retina XDR display will be a thing of beauty for creatives as it brags a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and adaptive refresh up to 120Hz. I love my 2018 MBP fully loaded, but this nice overhaul to the MBP line makes me want to start putting paychecks aside now. The 14″ starts at $1,999 and the 16″ comes in at $2,499.
M1 Pro and M1 Max Chips
The latest technology to come from Apple’s M1 line are the Pro and Max chips. These new chips are delivering an insane amount of power and efficiency to the MBP line. The M1 Pro chip features an up-to-10-core CPU along with an up-to-16-core GPU, which makes it 70 percent faster than the M1 (which was already a huge speed machine). With support for up to 32GB of unified memory – this chip will make your workflow fly. And if that is not enough for you, then comes the Max chip. This beast doubles the GPU with up to 32 cores! It also allows for up to 64GB of unified memory. The video editor in me is just blown away from that amount of power in a portable machine. Apple states that this chipset allows users to edit up to 30 streams of 4K ProRes video in Final Cut Pro.
Overall, this was a bit of the event we expected. New overhaul of the MacBook Pro line with some extras that probably were delayed from last month’s event (Home Pod Mini and AirPods). I would assume COVID has been putting quite a bit of pressure on production and shipping – so expect some weird timelines from Apple in the upcoming year. If you’re looking to dive into Home Pod Mini, upgrade or switch to AirPods – now is the time. And if you can handle the price, it truly looks like this MacBook Pro will be an amazing machine for years to come.