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Apple upgrades its 14” and 16” MacBook Pros with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips
by Paul Hill
Apple’s big announcement at today’s Unleashed event was the upgrade to its 14” and 16” MacBook Pro models which now feature the all-new M1 Pro and M1 Max which kill the competition in terms of performance and battery life. The powerful chips inside the new MacBook Pro models make the laptops suitable for software developers, photographers, filmmakers, 3D artists, scientists, music producers and anyone else who has work to do that requires intensive processing.
In addition to the new processors, the new MacBook Pro comes with a Liquid Retina XDR display, a wider array of ports for advanced connectivity, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera and a great audio system. These two new models join the 13” MacBook Pro powered by the M1 chip which Apple announced last year.
Commenting on the new products, Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president at Worldwide Marketing said:
New processors aside, the biggest change in these new MacBook Pro models is the Liquid Retina XDR display. It features mini-LED technology that was used in the latest iPad Pro that’s able to deliver 1,000 nits of sustained full-screen brightness and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Using extreme dynamic range, users will see great details in shadows, brilliant specular highlights, deeper blacks and more vivid colours in HDR content. It also uses ProMotion technology which supports a refresh rate of up to 120Hz but updates dynamically based on the content you’re viewing to save battery.
These two new MacBook Pro models are available for pre-order today and will begin shipping out to customers from Tuesday, October 26. The 14” model starts at $1,999 while the 16” version starts at $2,499. Both products can also be purchased on monthly instalment plans so that the costs can be spread over a period of time.
Apple unveils its most powerful chips, the M1 Pro and M1 Max
by Paul Hill
Apple has unveiled two new chips for its Mac computers, the M1 Pro and M1 Max. Both of these chips are more powerful than the M1 chip which the company released in its products last year. The new chips boast good performance and industry-leading power efficiency, making them ideal for the companies new MacBook Pro line-up.
In terms of hard numbers, the CPU in the M1 Pro and M1 Max delivers a 70% performance increase compared to the M1. Software developers using these chips will notice intensive tasks such as Xcode compilation complete even faster than before. The GPU in the M1 Pro is two times faster than the one in the M1 while the M1 Max’s GPU boasts a performance increase of four times – this latter chip will be ideal for users with demanding graphics workflows.
Commenting on the new products, Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies, said:
While Apple’s M1 chip was already able to achieve good performance while using less power compared to other PC chips, it was still outperformed by modern 8-core PC laptop chips on performance (but not energy efficiency). The new M1 Pro and M1 Max blow the 8-core PC laptop chips out of the water in terms of both power consumption and performance. The new chips use 70% less power which means the battery in the new MacBook Pros should last longer compared to other computers.
As many of the purchasers of the new MacBook Pros will be professionals who have to edit video, Apple ensures that these new chips can do video processing while maximising battery life. To achieve this, the M1 Pro comes with dedicated acceleration for the ProRes video codec which allows for the playback of multiple streams of 4K and 8K ProRes video while sipping at the battery. The M1 Max provides two times faster video encoding compared to the M1 Pro and features two ProRed accelerators. The new M1 Max can now transcode ProRes video in Compressor ten times faster than the previous-generation 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Apple said that it’s now one year into its two-year transition to using Apple Silicon on all of its computers and that the two latest chips represent a “huge step forward”. We are still waiting on a chip upgrade for the 27-inch iMac and the Mac Pro so maybe we’ll hear more about these products next year.
Apple launches HomePod mini in even more colours
by Paul Hill
At its Unleashed event today, Apple unveiled additional models of its HomePod mini in a selection of colours – yellow, orange and blue. The new HomePod mini editions include colour-matched details throughout the whole product including on the touch surface, mesh fabric, volume icons and the woven power cable. Apple said these new colours will be available in November for $99.
Commenting on the new HomePod mini colours, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, Bob Borchers, said:
The new HomePod mini colours will join the white and space gray editions that are already available for sale. Today’s announcement was made alongside the unveiling of the third-generation of AirPods and Apple Music’s Voice Plan. The new HomePod minis would be a perfect fit for users who decide to take out a Voice Plan subscription as it is built around Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, which is also the primary way of interacting with the HomePod mini.
The HomePod mini in its new colour variations will be available in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the UK, and the U.S. next month.
By Abhay V
Apple announces the third-generation AirPods with a new design for $179
by Abhay V
Apple today took to the virtual stage to announce new services and products. In the products department, the first in line is the third generation of its truly wireless earbuds, the AirPods. This has been a long-awaited product and brings modest improvements for the aging AirPods lineup.
Starting with the design, the company has reduced the length of the stem, making it a less awkward design. The firm has also improved the design of the ear cups to help them fit better. The shorter stem now includes force sensors - akin to what is present on the AirPods Pro, adding more functionality.
In terms of features, the firm has added new custom drivers and a high dynamic range amplifier for improved sound quality. An inner microphone now helps the device tweak the audio thanks to a new feature called Adaptive EQ from the AirPods Max and AirPods Pro - bringing "computational audio" that tunes the equalizer depending on the media. Unsurprisingly, the AirPods brings Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking and Dolby Atmos for what the firm calls "a three-dimensional theater-like experience".
Other features include support for the AAC-ELD codec, a mesh for the microphones to improve resistance to wind noise, a skin-detect sensor for automatically pausing audio when the earbuds are removed from the ear, beamforming microphones, IPX4 water resistance rating, and more.
The company is also touting improved battery life from the earbuds, saying that a 5-minute charge can top up the buds for an hour of listening and a combined usage of 30 hours using the carrying case. The case itself comes with wireless charging and MagSafe support, which is a nifty addition. The device also brings a one-touch setup for seamlessly pairing with other devices and supports Audio Sharing for streaming between devices. Announce Notifications is another feature that lets Siri read out notifications and alerts for pre-set apps The new AirPods are also part of the Find My network.
The third-generation AirPods cost $179 and are available for order starting today. Availability is set for next week. The wireless audio-device lineup now starts with the second-generation AirPods for $129.
Apple announces Unleashed event for October 18
by Paul Hill
If you feel like there’s an Apple or Samsung event every other month, that’s because there basically is. Following on from an event in April, WWDC in June and an event in mid-September, Apple’s is now preparing to show off even more on October 18. While Apple is being incredibly vague about what it will show off, commentators expect there to be several new Macs shown off and possibly a refresh of its in-house processor.
Heading over to the Apple Events website, there’s a graphic of what looks like the Apple logo travelling at Hyperspace (which Star Wars fans will recognise) followed by the time and date of the event and where you can watch it. It’s set to take place at 10 a.m. PDT on October 18 and will be viewable from Apple.com or the Apple TV app, while not mentioned, it will likely be available on Apple’s YouTube channel too.
Speculators believe Apple will focus on the larger MacBook Pros and the Mac Pro at this event and grace them with Apple chips. This is because Apple said last June that it would move all its computers over to its own processors within the next two years and those aforementioned are still to get the new chips, therefore, it seems likely that they will be the focus.
The new MacBook Pros (possibly 14” and 16”) could re-introduce MagSafe charging, an HDMI port and an SD Card slot. These extra options should make them more suited to the needs of professionals.
Finally, rumours suggest that Apple may show off an upgraded version of the AirPods that borrow from the design of the AirPods Pro. We won’t know exactly what’s coming, however, until the event itself. Neowin will be covering the event so stay tuned for our coverage next Monday.