4 key products just unveiled at Apple’s MacBook Pro event
Apple revealed a new MacBook Pro laptop and AirPods wireless earbuds on Monday, capping an event that served as the introduction to a number of products across the company’s many businesses.
There weren’t many surprises. But what was introduced gave Apple fans a lot to chew on, especially when last month’s iPhone event is factored in.
The standout on Monday were the new MacBooks, which should please design and graphics editing professionals who have long relied on Apple for powerful computers. Here’s a rundown of Apple’s most notable new products announced at the event.
New MacBook Pros
Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops come in two versions, a 14-inch model that starts at $1,999 and a 16-inch version that starts at $2,499. Apple executives pitched the new computers—powered by the company’s custom M1 Pro and M1 Max silicon chips—as workstations for professional designers, video and audio editors, and others who need powerful devices.
The new MacBook Pros harken back to older versions of Apple’s high-end laptops. They come without the digital touch bar located above the keyboard of other Apple laptops. Although the touch bar was pitched as a convenience for accessing the Siri voice assistant, among other tasks, some users found it more annoying than helpful. While typing, users sometimes activated Siri by accident.
The updated MacBook Pros also include an HDMI port instead of only Lightning ports, making the computers easier to connect to external monitors without having to use a dongle. They also feature MagSafe charging ports, which rely on magnets to easily attach and de-attach power cables (and to avoid causing laptops to topple over if someone trips on a power cord).
Apple’s new AirPods 3 are an upgrade to it entry-level wireless earbuds. They cost $179 and feature better battery life, operating at six hours after a full charge.
The new AirPods also include Dolby Atmos sound, which provides a more immersive in-ear listening experience akin to surround sound provided by home theater systems. The earbuds also come with new speaker drivers that Apple said help produce louder and more pronounced bass, and an adaptive EQ system that automatically calibrates the sound frequencies of different songs and movies to people’s personal listening preferences.
The updated AirPods are also sweat and water resistant, making them better for listening to music or a podcast when exercising.
New colors for HomePod Mini
Apple HomePod Mini Internet-connected speaker now comes in three new colors, including yellow, orange, and blue. They were previously only available in white and grey.
The HomePod Mini speakers, which cost $99, are now Apple’s flagship smart speakers after the more expensive HomePod speakers were discontinued in the spring. The HomePod Mini speakers compete against rivals like the Amazon Echo and the Google Nest smart speakers.
A Siri subscription service
Apple debuted Apple Music Voice, a new Apple Music subscription service featuring the Siri voice-activated digital assistant. Subscribers can use their voices to access songs, playlists, and stations that are part of the Apple Music service using Siri on Apple devices.
Subscriptions, which cost $4.99 monthly, are cheaper than Apple Music’s individual plan, at $9.99 monthly, and lets users access music videos, lyrics, spatial audio across Apple and other third-party devices. The drawback is that people won’t be able to access Apple Music using the Apple Music App; they must use their voice.
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