Apple’s second fall event, tagged “Apple Unleashed”, happened on Monday October 18 and everybody and their uncles have been talking about the exciting series of updates released at the event.
Unlike its September event that opened with drone-captured California landscapes in the company of live music, this recent event opened in a small garage with instrumental music, composed from a combination of simple sounds from the Mac, AirPods and HomePod.
Apple released two new Macbooks: the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) and MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021). The tech company went further to silence its critics with the two biggest surprises of the day: two new M1 chips—the Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max—which will power the new MacBooks and promise tremendous performance improvements over the silicon chips in previous MacBooks.
In a beautiful transition between Tim Cook and Zain Lowe, Apple also revealed the Music Voice Plan, a new subscription category for Apple Music that allows users to seamlessly use Siri with Apple Music.
The tech giant also introduced AirPods 3 and some new HomePod mini colours.
And in a move that looks like a joke but isn’t, Apple wants to sell its users a microfibre cleaning cloth for $19. But that’s Apple doing what it does best.
Here is a detailed list of everything that was announced.
Apple Music subscription plan
Apple is undoubtedly bullish on music and how its users experience sounds. The fall event started off with the introduction of Apple Music Voice Plan, a new subscription offering that allows users to seamlessly enjoy Siri with Apple Music.
Siri will now have custom playlists dedicated to various moods and settings and featuring several notable artists. The new Voice Plan will allow subscribers to listen to their favourite music at an affordable price.
This feature will kick off in 17 countries before expanding to more regions. As you might have guessed, no African countries are included in the kick-off regions.
The new Voice Plan will begin at just $4.99 a month, which is way lesser than the individual and family plan that are $9.99 and $14.99 respectively.
New colours for Apple HomePod Mini Smart Speaker
Aesthetics—that’s the simplest way to describe this update. Even though Apple won’t be giving us colour variations in Mac, as demanded by lots of users, it has added new colours to the HomePod. They are now available in orange, yellow and blue.
Airpods 3 was one of the most anticipated products on the list, and it was launched with new features. It has the same design as the AirPods Pro and is loaded with spatial audio along with new low-distortion drivers, with sweat and water resistance.
It has a battery life of over six hours and arrives with MagSafe and wireless charging. The new AirPods selling price starts at $179 and will be available from next week.
M1 Pro And M1 Max Chips
Earlier in this article, we called these updates the two biggest surprises of the night. We didn’t get just one horsepower processor; we got two. Apple is generous and we appreciate that.
These two processors are like the SSC Tuatara of computer chips; they are, by far, the strongest and fastest processors from Apple—and from any company—to date.
These two chips power the newly released Mac.
New 14″ and 16″ MacBook Pros
In our review of iOS 15, we mentioned that Apple is listening to its users now more than ever. And that’s evident in this new update. The new Apple Silicon-powered MacBook Pros, in 14″ and 16″ variations, have a lot of the things people want. Some things they want them to add and some they want them to bring back.
There are more ports (HDMI and SD card reader), MagSafe charging, real function keys and no-touch bar, along with what they promise is blistering speed with extreme energy efficiency.
The two devices come with a 1080p camera, studio-quality mics, more powerful sound system, and large beautiful Mini-LED displays. Some critics likened it to a notebook with a superman ability.
The price starts at $1,999 for the 14-inch and $2,499 for the 16-inch. The basic models come as standard with the M1 Pro, 16GB of Unified Memory and a 512GB SSD. The 16-inch comes with the 10-core CPU instead of the 8-core in the 14-inch.
“It looks like Apple intentionally released simple iPhone upgrades to lead their competitors on. Intel did their social experiment ads and capitalised on the inefficiency of Apple; then Microsoft had their event boasting about how they have built the best PC in Surface Studios, combining a cool form factor,” Dumebi Iwuchukwu, design lead at Big Cabal Media, and of course an Apple fanboy, said in his unusual slack rants.
“Now Apple has blown them out of the water with better chips. The 64gb video memory is the most futuristic innovation from Apple so far; plus all these happened amidst a global chips shortage.” he reluctantly concluded.
The prices of the two devices go up as their specs thicken. For instance, there’s an addition of $500 on 14-inch for the M1 Max with 24-core GPU; 32-core GPU adds $700. You can jump up to 32GB of Unified memory but for another $400, and there is a range of SSDs available, 2TB, 4TB, and 8TB for a whopping $2,400 more.
The fully specced out 16-inch comes in at $6,099.
Insane. At this point, we’ll have to agree with Dumebi that Apple has blown its competition out of the waters with these updates, or can you tell us what can beat this in the world?