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Apple Event: Here Are The Major Highlights & Annoucements

...everything from the Macbook Pro to M1 Pro, M1 Max, AirPods and Apple Music Voice Plan

On Monday, Apple held its second and likely last hardware event of the fall. “Unleashed” saw the company spend about an hour talking about updates to its Mac and Music product lineups.

After the by-the-numbers affair that was the iPhone 13 event, Monday’s presentation was a more exciting thing to watch, thanks in large part to the first significant refresh to the MacBook Pro in five years. Here’s everything the company announced at the event.

MacBook Pro

The new Apple Macbook Pro (2021)
The new Apple Macbook Pro (2021)

Unsurprisingly, the redesigned MacBook Pros were the star of the show, and there’s a lot to unpack between the two new 14- and 16-inch models. As expected, both laptops represent a return to form for the MacBook Pro line. Apple has replaced the Touch Bar with a standard set of function keys, as well as added MagSafe, an SD card slot and an HDMI port. New to both computers are 120Hz ProMotion displays. The 14-inch model will run its screen at 3,024 x 1,964, while the 16-inch variant has a 3,456 x 2,234 panel. Each also has an iPhone-style camera notch that is likely to be divisive.

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Additionally, you can configure both models with Apple’s new, more powerful M1 Pro and Max chips (more on them in a moment). All those new features come at a cost, with the 14-inch base model and 16-inch base model set to start at $1,999 and $2,499 respectively. You can pre-order both computers today, with general availability to follow on October 26th. In the meantime, macOS Monterey will land the day before on October 25th.

M1 Pro and M1 Max

Apple announced two new M1 chips: the M1 Pro and M1 Max, which will be featured in the 2021 MacBook Pro laptops
Apple announced two new M1 chips: the M1 Pro and M1 Max, which will be featured in the 2021 MacBook Pro laptops

At the heart of the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros are Apple’s new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Both feature 5nm 10-core processors made up of eight high-performance cores and two high-efficiency units. Where they differ from one another is in terms of potential video and memory performance. The M1 Pro comes with up to 16 GPU cores and can support up to 32GB of RAM with 200 GB/s of bandwidth. The M1 Max, meanwhile, tops out at 32 graphics cores and double the RAM and memory bandwidth. In practice, Apple claims the chips are 70 percent faster than its previous M1 SoC and offer up to 1.7 times faster performance than competing CPUs from Intel and AMD. They should also make short work of the company’s updated Final Cut and Logic suites.

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AirPods

New Apple Airpods 2021
New Apple Airpods 2021

Going into Monday’s event, we were confident Apple would update its “basic” AirPods. But other than an AirPods Pro-like design, we weren’t expecting them to get many new features. So what we saw today was a surprise. While you won’t find ANC on the updated AirPods, they do include support for Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking and Adaptive EQ. The latter allows the AirPods to adjust the low and mid-range frequencies of audio in real-time. Other notable specs include IPX4 sweat and water resistance and up to 30 hours total of battery life with help from the included charging case.

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You can pre-order the new AirPods starting today for $179. They’ll begin shipping on October 26th. For those who want to save some money, Apple has discounted the second-generation AirPods to $129.

Apple Music Voice Plan

Apple Homepod Mini in variant colors
Apple Homepod Mini in variant colors

Alongside the third-generation AirPods, the company announced a discounted Apple Music plan. It will only set you back $5 per month but the catch is you can only control the service through Siri. Apple pitched the plan as the ideal complement for the HomePod mini. Speaking of Apple’s diminutive smart speaker, it will be available in three additional colors — yellow, orange and blue — starting in November.

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