Apple Unveils New Colorful HomePod Mini’s, AirPods & New MacBook 14 & 16 Inch Models

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Apple has unveiled a number of new products including new HomePod mini’s, AirPods, new chips and two new MacBook Pro’s at its second launch for 2021. 

 The company showcased the products at an event on Monday called “Unleashed”

Apple Home Pod 

Apple introduced HomePod mini in three bold new colours – yellow, orange, and blue giving users more ways to express their personality and style in any space. 

At just 3.3 inches tall, HomePod mini offers the intelligence of Siri, and smart home capabilities, with privacy and security built in. 

Its seamless integration across Apple’s products and services make HomePod mini a smart speaker for anyone with an Apple device. 

Siri can recognise the voices of up to six different household members, tailor music and podcasts to their preferences, and respond to personal requests, like reading their messages, reminders, notes, and calendar appointments, or making and answering phone calls.

HomePod mini will also be available in white and space grey, with colour-matched details throughout, including the tinted touch surface, mesh fabric, volume icons, and woven power cable. 

The new HomePod mini will be available in November at a retail price of £89.

AirPods 

Apple’s third generation of AirPods featuring spatial audio, delivering advanced features and a magical experience in a new contoured design was also unveiled on Monday. 

Featuring the H1 chip with an Apple-designed acoustic system, the new AirPods use computational audio to deliver breakthrough sound with Adaptive EQ. 

Users can enjoy spatial audio featuring Dolby Atmos in Apple Music, movies, and tv shows, along with dynamic head tracking, across Apple devices. 

The new AirPods are resistant to sweat and water, and feature a force sensor for easy and intuitive control of music and phone calls. 

The new design of AirPods is lightweight and contoured, sitting at just the right angle for comfort and to direct audio into the ear. The stem is shorter than the previous generation and features the same intuitive force sensor as AirPods Pro for media control.

A new skin-detect sensor accurately discerns if AirPods are in the ear — versus in a pocket or on a table — and pauses playback when removed.

The extended battery life enables up to six hours of listening time1 and up to 30 hours of total listening time with the convenient charging case. 

The AirPods (3rd generation) are available to order starting today, and in stores beginning Tuesday 26 October for for £169. 

M1 Pro and M1 Max

Apple today announced M1 Pro and M1 Max chips for the Mac. Scaling up M1’s transformational architecture, M1 Pro offers amazing performance with industry-leading power efficiency, while M1 Max takes these capabilities to new heights. 

Apple says the CPU in M1 Pro and M1 Max delivers up to 70 percent faster CPU performance than M1, so tasks like compiling projects in Xcode are faster than ever. The GPU in M1 Pro is up to 2x faster than M1, while M1 Max is up to an astonishing 4x faster than M1, allowing pro users to fly through the most demanding graphics workflows.

M1 Pro and M1 Max introduce a system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture to pro systems for the first time. The chips feature fast unified memory, industry-leading performance per watt, and incredible power efficiency, along with increased memory bandwidth and capacity. 

M1 Pro offers up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth with support for up to 32GB of unified memory. M1 Max delivers up to 400GB/s of memory bandwidth — 2x that of M1 Pro and nearly 6x that of M1 — and support for up to 64GB of unified memory. 

The efficient architecture of M1 Pro and M1 Max means they deliver the same level of performance whether MacBook Pro is plugged in or using the battery. M1 Pro and M1 Max also feature enhanced media engines with dedicated ProRes accelerators specifically for pro video processing. M1 Pro and M1 Max are by far the most powerful chips Apple has ever built.

Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies says M1 has transformed Apple’s most popular systems with incredible performance, custom technologies, and industry-leading power efficiency. 

“No one has ever applied a system-on-a-chip design to a pro system until today with M1 Pro and M1 Max.  With massive gains in CPU and GPU performance, up to six times the memory bandwidth, a new media engine with ProRes accelerators, and other advanced technologies, M1 Pro and M1 Max take Apple silicon even further, and are unlike anything else in a pro notebook.”

MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max

The two new model Macbook Pro’s comes in 14.2-inch and 16.2-inch screen sizes, and use miniLED panels which allows for improved color reproduction. The screens also have 24% thinner borders on the side and a 60% thinner border at the top with a notch. 

The new MacBook Pro also features a sLiquid Retina XDR display, a wide range of ports for advanced connectivity, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, and the best audio system in a notebook.

Apple has omitted the Touch Bar, the touch-screen strip introduced with the 2016 redesign and replaced it with a new circular fingerprint scanner and larger physical function keys. 

Apple has also restored three ports that users missed after they were removed five years ago: the HDMI port, an SD card slot and MagSafe charging.

The displays also include ProMotion, a feature that allows the screen refresh rate at 120Hz to reach higher levels for a smoother overall experience. Apple has also added a 1080 progressive-scan video-chat camera, improving a component that users of earlier MacBook Pros have found subpar. The microphones and speakers were upgraded as well.

M1 Pro and M1 Max in the MacBook Pro is 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 for unparalleled performance with best-in-class performance per watt and industry-leading power efficiency.

Apple says the new 16-inch model can reach up to 21 hours of battery life when watching video, while the smaller 14-inch model has 17 hours. The products also support a new fast-charge feature, which can quickly juice the laptop’s battery to 50% from zero.

The new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro come with macOS Monterey, the latest version of Apple’s desktop operating system. 

FaceTime includes new audio and video features that make calls feel more natural and lifelike, and new Continuity tools like AirPlay to Mac enable Apple devices to work even better together. Live Text and Visual Lookup bring new intelligence features to surface useful information, 

Safari includes powerful tab organisation with Tab Groups, and the ease of automation comes to the Mac with Shortcuts. Coming later this fall, SharePlay will enable Mac users to have shared experiences together through FaceTime, and Universal Control will make it easy for users to work effortlessly across their Mac and iPad.

The new MacBook go on sale Monday and is due to hit stores next week, starting at  £1,899 for the 14-inch model and £2,399 for the 16-inch model. 

Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options, and accessories are also available

Apple Music Voice Plan 

Apple also introduced Apple Music Voice Plan, a new subscription tier for Apple Music designed around the power of Siri. 

The Apple Music Voice Plan offers subscribers access to the service’s catalogue of 90 million songs; tens of thousands of playlists, including hundreds of brand new mood and activity playlists, personalized mixes, and genre stations; as well as the award-winning Apple Music Radio — all through Siri for £4.99 per month.

Apple also updated Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro with powerful new features for creative professionals, and optimisations that take full advantage of the power and performance of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips in the all-new MacBook Pro.

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