Close enough to this morning’s Microsoft event that I’m still humming the Willy Wonka Pure Imagination cover from the Surface Studio ad, Apple will at 4AM show the world its own take on what the future of personal computing is. Whether that’s a new MacBook or iMac, or something new, nobody knows — yet. And here’s where we’re going to be strapped in, eyes clamped open, along for the ride.
10:30PM: Good evening folks! How we doing this fine drizzly Sydney evening?
What do I think we’re going to see tomorrow morning? Well, a new MacBook Pro is a near certainty, given the extremely official leak of the OLED-keyboarded Pro picture that some enterprising individual found in the latest MacOS Sierra release update.
New iMacs? They’re overdue for a hardware upgrade, at the very least — if not a complete form factor overhaul and maybe even some kind of touchscreen navigation integration a la iPad.
New Mac Pro? Probably not, to be honest — new Xeon chips are still a few months away or so by my estimation.
We’ll probably see the future of MacOS, beyond Sierra; that might even include some kind of look at a new interface for the desktop and laptop OS that brings it closer to iOS.
Anyway, I’m tired. I’m going to go to bed. Because I have to get up in five hours. See you back here around 3:30AM!
3:45AM: Morning folks! Here’s the state of play right now:
We’re T-minus 15 minutes. I’m tired, you’re tired, we’re all tired, we can’t wait for the weekend, but we also want new Macs. It’s tough to be us right now.
Let’s pass the time by talking about that OLED function key row, hey? I love the concept — adjustable contextual keys are a great idea, if you can learn to use them quickly and simply enough. But I also like tactile, mechanical, real keys for typing.
I guess I’m willing to make that compromise especially given that the function key row is the least-used on any keyboard, and Apple clearly thinks you’ll get more value out of having the changeable row than you will the traditional F-keys. No ESC key, though…
3:50AM: The live stream is up, and we’re getting some Beats 1 radio to pass the time. Refresh your live stream page if you haven’t got some audio going on in the background — we’re slowly waking up thanks to the smooth stylings of Pharrell right now.
3:55AM: T-minus 5 minutes, guys. Get your Thermos of tea, your Red Bull, whatever works for you — I don’t feel like this is going to be a hugely long event, but it’s going to be action packed.
4:02AM: And the music dies down…
We start with a video, as is traditional, and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is up on stage.
Apple is launching a brand new accessibility website. “It’s amazing to see the things that people do with our website every day.”
“We have some great new products to share with you this morning. And I’d like to start with iPhone.”
Cook is going through some of the photos people have captured on iPhone 7, and talking about the new Memories feature in iOS’ Photos app.
“The reviews are in for iOS 10 — and it’s phenomenal.” Over 60 per cent of Apple’s customers are using iOS 10. “The other guys that shipped before iOS 10 are not even at one per cent yet.”
Now we’re getting a quick explainer of Portrait mode, and how good it is, and how the other guys don’t have it.
Apple Watch Nike+ is available tomorrow, by the way. “It’s been a pretty busy week around here. But we’ve got more to announce, and I’d like to start with Apple TV.”
“We want the experience on your TV to be as great as on your other Apple devices. We believe the future of TV is apps.”
Minecraft is coming to Apple TV before the end of the year.
Around the world, Apple has 1600 apps from video service providers on Apple TV. That’s almost as many as there are Foxtel channels on the $15,000 full cable subscriber package.
Now we’re getting a demo of Twitter on Apple TV, and how it adds in tweets and stats to live-streamed NFL games.
4:15AM: Guys, none of this is Macs.
“Today we’re announcing a new app, and we simply call it… TV. It will completely change how you watch TV with your Apple TV, and with your iPhone and iPad.”
The new app looks like it brings together your live and catch-up TV in one place:
4:20AM: So content from all your different apps accessible in one place, using the Apple TV’s unified search — without the search. That’s a really good idea for binging or for people that don’t know what they want to watch. I’m keen!
It works on iPad, too, and integrates Siri.
People are clapping an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Live TV is possible too.
Siri, voice assistant extraordinaire, knows contextually what other college football games are on when you’re watching one.
The TV app is coming out in December in the US. No word on other regions, though — we’ll let you know if we find out.
4:28AM: “Now we’d like to talk about something dear to us at Apple — and that’s the Mac.”
“We continue to push the Mac experience forward with MacOS, and this year we launched MacOS Sierra.”
Sierra brings things like Siri and iCloud document syncing across devices to the Mac, if you can’t remember from its introduction.
It’s the 25th anniversary of the first notebook from Apple, the Powerbook — which defined what the notebook looked like.
4:30AM: “For 25 years we’ve been redefining the notebook. And today we’re going to do it again.”
Yep, OLED function key row!
“This is the new MacBook Pro, and it’s absolutely incredible.”
Time for Apple’s Phil Schiller to hit the stage.
“It is the new gold standard.”
13-inch and 15-inch sizes in Silver and Space Grey. “It is simply the thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro that we have ever made.”
26 per cent less volume, around 25 per cent lighter. This thing is tiny! The 15-inch is similar: 20 per cent smaller. 1.35kg for the 13-inch, 1.8kg for the 15-inch.
A trackpad that’s twice as big as the previous generation, with Apple’s awesome Force Touch trackpad. The keyboard is “all new”, as well, with the same fancy butterfly switches as the 12-inch MacBook.
That new function key area looks sexy. It’s a Retina display, it’s multi-touch and responds to gestures and taps.
“We call it Touch Bar.”
Touch Bar is, of course, contextual and will show you different things in Safari to when you’re on the desktop and want to adjust volume and brightness.
Touch ID is coming to the Mac, courtesy of a secure T1 chip, integrated into the power button — which is now covered by sapphire crystal.
Apple’s Craig Federighi is up on stage to show off Touch ID in action.
System controls are all still there, guys. You can breathe. There’s even a new dedicated Siri key.
You just know someone is going to find a way to put ads on that touch bar. Somehow. #appleevent
— Michael Flarup (@flarup) October 27, 2016
4:40AM: And yes, it’ll bring up formatting controls, and emoji.
“As I type… pumpkins… here in the bar…”
It’s the kind of thing that would work really well for photo adjustments in Lightroom — but so would that massive new trackpad, which is equally touch sensitive?
This is probably the most useful use of the Touch Bar, changing the functions of the function bar.
Fast user switching to a different account using the Touch Bar is a good idea. And useful if you share your Mac.
Even Terminal and Xcode both support Touch Bar.
Now, display. “The display in the new MacBook Pro is the best we’ve ever put in a Mac.” 67 per cent brighter.
Every 15-inch MacBook Pro gets a quad-core Intel Core i7, DDR4 memory, and AMD’s Radeon Pro GPUs based on the new energy-efficient Polaris chipset. Flash storage, of course.
Both the 13-inch and 15-inch have four Thunderbolt 3, USB-C connectors. Any one of the four ports can be a charging port — that’s really cool. Each port can be power, USB, Thunderbolt, video out over HDMI (with an adapter), and so on.
LG has a 5K display that works over Thunderbolt 3. Ooooooh.
We’re getting a demo of the Touch Bar again.
I get that the Touch Bar is cool, but I don’t get why I couldn’t tap and swipe and pinch on the big massive trackpad instead.
Oh, and this is an upgrade to Final Cut Pro X, by the way! Which is in high demand from some creative types I know.
Now we’re getting a demo of how Photoshop works on the MacBook Pro from an Adobe pro.
All I want to know is if the new MBP will support 64GB RAM. C'mon, Apple.
— Asher Langton (@AsherLangton) October 27, 2016
The Touch Bar is also going to revolutionise DJ software, apparently.
Unexpected deep bass DJ set being performed on the Touch Bar alone right now. I’m in.
Microsoft is bringing Touch Bar support to its Office family of apps, by the way.
And that seems like about it on the MacBook Pro. Looks gorgeous! But I’m not sold on the Touch Bar, not yet.
I do like how small and lightweight it is.
And now, a Jony Ive-voiceover video about the MacBook Pro’s design from top to bottom. It’s strange he’s not here: maybe he’s busy working on Apple’s next big thing?
10 hours of battery life for both the 13-inch and the 15-inch. And there has been a lot of evolution in Apple’s notebooks in the last 25 years.
The MacBook Pro is responsibly built, too.
Apple is also making a 13-inch version of the MacBook Pro with actual function keys and only two Thunderbolt 3 ports, as a replacement for the 13-inch MacBook Air. That’s… weird. That’s a weird thing to do.
5:20AM: Starting at $US1499 for the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro. $US2399 to the cheapest 15-incher. We’re capping off the presentation with an ad! As is Apple tradition. And it was a good ad.
Apple’s Tim Cook: “We couldn’t be more excited about having our best product line ever.”
5:25AM: And that’s a wrap, guys! What do you think about the new MacBook Pro? Let us know in the comments below.