Fresh off unveiling a raft of new iPhones, tech giant Apple has peppered us with high-performance once again. In a characteristically secretive event entitled simply ‘Unleashed’, Apple dropped a MacBook Pro-sized bombshell and the fallout is still being felt. Big upgrades, new hardware and some handy additions to accessorise them with, the Apple Unleashed event didn’t disappoint. Here is everything you need to know about the latest reveal.
New MacBook Pros
The biggest announcement of the night came by way of Apple’s flagship laptop. Two new MacBook Pros were unveiled, each taking advantage of the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets, delivering greater returns, a better camera, the best audio system ever in a notebook and more importantly, some powerhouse performance.
“We set out to create the world’s best pro notebook, and today we’re excited to introduce the all-new MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max — a game-changing combination of phenomenal performance, unrivalled battery life and groundbreaking features,” Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing said. “The all-new MacBook Pro adds a breathtaking XDR display, more ports like MagSafe 3, an advanced 1080p camera and a sensational six-speaker sound system, all in a stunning new design. The new MacBook Pro simply has no equal and is by far the best pro notebook we’ve ever built.”
According to Apple, the M1 Pro and M1 Max revolutionise the MacBook Pro experience, marking a big 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 for unparalleled performance with best-in-class performance per watt and industry-leading power efficiency,” Apple said.
Specifically, M1 Pro 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. Apple claims this delivers up to 70 per cent faster CPU performance than M1, and up to 2x faster GPU performance. There is also up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth with support for up to 32GB of fast unified memory.
A sight for sore yes, both the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models feature a Liquid Retina XDR display for the first time. Apple confirmed that this display uses the same mini-LED technology seen on the iPad Pro, delivering up to 1,000 nits of sustained, full-screen brightness. For creatives, the new boost means that you can enjoy P3 wide colour gamut with support for 1 billion colours to craft a smoother gradient. ProMotion technology also comes to the Mac on this new display, featuring an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz.
As mentioned, both models come with a larger display than the previous generation, with the 16-inch model taking centre stage. The larger of the two new beasts, this laptop offers an expansive 16.2-inch display with 7.7 million pixels, the most ever on a Mac notebook. Best of all, the display features even thinner borders and extends up around the camera to provide users with even more room for their content.
Camera & Audio
According to Apple, the new MacBook Pro comes with a 1080p FaceTime HD camera — the best ever in a Mac notebook. The brand claims this addition will double resolution and low-light performance. “The camera system taps into the powerful image signal processor (ISP) and Neural Engine of M1 Pro and M1 Max for computational video that enhances video quality — so users appear sharper with more natural-looking skin tones,” Apple said.
On the audio front, the new MacBook Pro cops a high-fidelity six-speaker sound system from two tweeters. The sound system also supports spatial audio for the first time, meaning you can enjoy a movie in Dolby Atmos without needing a soundbar or a cinema trip.
Aside from the obvious, the big boost for current MacBook users is to the connectivity. Both models feature three Thunderbolt 4 ports to connect high-speed peripherals, an SDXC card slot for fast access to media. There is also an HDMI port for conveniently connecting to displays and TVs, and an improved headphone jack that supports high-impedance headphones.
Pricing and Release Date
Customers can order the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models from today, and they will be available beginning Tuesday, 26 October. The new 14-inch MacBook Pro model starts at AUD$2,999, while the 16-inch MacBook Pro model starts at AUD$3,749.
Taking a look at the next generation of Airpods, you’d be forgiven for thinking not much has changed. However, the world’s most popular wireless headphones have been subject to a few cheeky upgrades that should excite audiophiles around the globe. Apple announced today that the third generation of Airpods will feature an all-new design, longer battery life, and breakthrough audio qualities.
Design & Performance
The new design of AirPods is lighter than the previous model, with the stem shortened for a more subtle appearance. In exciting news for both gym junkies and those who enjoy singing in the rain, the new AirPods are resistant to both sweat and water, with an IPX4 rating for both the earbuds and the charging case.
Described as optimising the listening experience, the new AirPods include Adaptive EQ that tunes sound in real-time based on how the headphones fit in the user’s ear. The Adaptive EQ is powered by computational audio and tunes the sound to account for what could be lost in variances in fit. Additionally, the new AirPods come equipped with spatial audio that creates a three-dimensional cinema-like experience. With improved dynamic head tracking, users can enjoy a more immersive experience when listening to music, watching videos or communicating on a Group FaceTime call.
The 3rd generation of AirPods will offer an extra hour of battery life over previous generations, with up to six hours of listening time and up to four hours of talking time. Just five minutes of charging time will provide roughly an hour of battery life, and with four additional charges in the case, consumers can expect up to 30 hours of total listening time.
These third-generation earbuds are available to preorder now for AU$279 and will begin shipping next week.
New HomePod Mini
Apple has unveiled three bold new colours – yellow, orange and blue – for their smart speaker, the HomePod mini. Bringing a room to life with its renowned audio quality, the new look HomePod minis will add unique flavour on the visual front, giving users more ways to express their personality and style.
With 7-Day Complimentary AppleCar+ included, you can pick up a new HomePod Mini today for AU$149.
Apple Voice Plan
Ever heard of Apple Voice Plan? Nah, us neither, but apparently it’s a game-changer. Designed to be the most affordable subscription plan to its Apple Music streaming service, Voice Plan costs just USD$4.99/month, which is half the price of the previous version subscription. There is a catch, however. Voice Plan only works with Siri voice commands, meaning you can’t open the app to search for music. While that might not sound ideal for users, it’s a great addition for homes with multiple HomePod or HomePod mini speakers. With a reduced price tag, you can bet Apple is banking on a slightly older market for this one.
New M1 Pro and M1 Max Chipsets
Honing in on the new performance chipset, Apple gave us a bit more information about the new processors at the Unleashed event. M1 Pro and M1 Max are the next-generation versions of Apple’s M1 chipset. Significantly more powerful than previous options, the M1 Pro reportedly has a 70 per cent faster CPU and twice the GPU speed, alongside 32 GB of RAM.
Final Cut Pro & Logic Updates
With added boosts to the chipset, Apple’s video and audio production software got a big boost, which the brand was happy to elaborate on. Specifically, Final Cut Pro comes with innovative new features that allow editors to create tracked motion graphics and edit Cinematic mode videos recorded on iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. The app takes advantage of the new M1 Pro and M1 Max, giving video editors support for seven streams of 8K ProRes at full resolution — over 230 million pixels — and export ProRes video over 5x faster than before. On the Logic side, the addition of spatial audio headlined some small upgrades.
“The world’s most creative people use Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro and the Mac to make the memorable movies, TV shows, online videos, songs and soundtracks that we all enjoy,” Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing said. “With the combination of powerful new features in Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, and the unprecedented performance from the MacBook Pro powered by the all-new M1 Pro and M1 Max, pros will be able to push the limits of their creativity like never before.”
When are the new Apple MacBooks releasing?
According to Apple, both the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook models are available to pre-order now with initial shipping beginning Tuesday, 26 October 2021.
What is M1 Pro and M1 Max?
M1 Pro and M1 Max are the next-generation versions of Apples M1 chipset. Significantly more powerful that previous options, the M1 Pro reportedly has a 70 per cent faster CPU and twice the GPU speed, alongside 32 GB of RAM.