In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Apple unleashed a whole bunch of shiny new gadgets to add to our Christmas wish list. But, as always is the case with Apple, there’s a lot to unpack from the announcement dump. We got new MacBook Pros, AirPods 3 and the star of the show, the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Here’s everything announced during Apple Unleashed.
These bad boys are finally here.
We have a completely re-imagined MacBook Pro powered by the also new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. These are the first pro chips designed for the Mac.
Available in 14- and 16-inch models that bring back the MagSafe charging connector, a built-in SD card reader, a dedicated HDMI port and the removal of Apple’s much-maligned Touch Bar. We also have three Thunderbolt 4 ports, thank the lord.
Head over here to read more about the MacBook Pro range, including availability and Australian pricing.
Apple Unleashed Made Chips The Focus
These chips took centre stage on Tuesday.
Apple spent a lot of time telling us that the M1 Pro and M1 Max revolutionise the MacBook Pro experience. It seems they might do just that – they mark a huge step forward in the transition to Apple silicon on Mac.
MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max applies a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture to pro systems for the first time, featuring fast unified memory and increased memory bandwidth, which basically means badass performance with more than decent power efficiency.
This features a powerful up to 10-core CPU with eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency cores, along with an up to 16-core GPU. The M1 Pro delivers up to 70 per cent faster CPU performance than M1, and up to 2x faster GPU performance. M1 Pro also delivers up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth — nearly 3x the bandwidth of M1 — and supports up to 32GB of fast unified memory.
The Max, meanwhile, has been touted as the world’s most powerful chip for a pro notebook.
M1 Max features the same 10-core CPU as M1 Pro, and doubles the GPU with up to 32 cores for up to 4x faster GPU performance than M1. It also has up to 400GB/s of memory bandwidth — 2x that of M1 Pro and nearly 6x that of M1 — and up to 64GB of fast unified memory.
We were hoping for this during Apple’s California Streaming event it held in mid-September. While California Streaming gave us four new iPhone 13 models – the iPhone 13, Mini, Pro and 13 Pro Max – as well as two rad iPad models in an entry-level device and a redesigned iPad Mini, it didn’t give us the third-gen AirPods.
And they delivered. During Apple Unleashed, we got the first major design change we’ve seen since the original AirPods were released in 2016.
The third generation of AirPods feature spatial audio to deliver a 3D-like audio experience, but they don’t come with noise cancelling.
Although upgraded, they’re still lightweight and contoured and Apple has left these tipless.
We break down the AirPods a little more over here.
HomePod Mini Additions
Apple threw a minor curveball out there today with a small HomePod Mini update. You can now get them in three new colours: blue, yellow and reddish-orange.
The tagline is: “You’ve never heard colour like this”.
It seems like Apple is trying to make Siri behave more like the Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa. Siri has always been a useful assistant, but having the bot control more of the home’s activities isn’t something you associate with Apple.
Apple Unleashed Some Software Updates
Apple also updated Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro with new features targeted at creatives. Apple says these new features take full advantage of the power and performance of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips in the all-new MacBook Pro.
Pretty powerful, indeed, is the ability to play seven streams of 8K ProRes or colour-grade 8K HDR video with the new Liquid Retina XDR display — which is a first for any notebook.
Final Cut Pro also introduces a new Object Tracker that uses machine learning to automatically detect faces and objects, and match their movement to create “cinema-quality” titles and effects on any Mac.
Logic Pro, Apple’s pro music creation software, now comes with a complete set of tools for authoring spatial audio music — allowing anyone to mix and export their songs in Dolby Atmos for Apple Music. And musicians can use up to 3x as many plug-ins for recording on the all-new MacBook Pro with M1 Max.
New Subscription For Apple Music
Apple Music has also been assigned more Siri. Cook added one more way to subscribe to Apple Music on Tuesday morning, which was through a Voice Plan.
“Siri now responds to requests to play specific music, such as for dinner parties or to fall asleep,” Apple says.
Basically, it’s a lite subscription, coming in at $5.99, the new Voice Subscription joins the existing Individual Plan and the Family Plan. The Apple Music Voice Plan will be available later this spring. Here’s more.
And there we have it – everything announced during Apple Unleashed while you were asleep.