Apple revealed a slew of new products including its slimmest MacBook Air, most powerful Mac mini and new iPad Pro with face recognition security at its October press conference in Brooklyn, New York.
It came just 7 weeks after their last press conference which was focused on new iPhone models. Whilst Apple could have unveiled all its new products in September, they prefer to host separate events so that they don’t cannibalise their own press coverage.
The New York location and introductory videos had a common theme, that Apple devices are for creative people of which New York has a rich culture.
Some bloggers speculated that the New York location was selected to combat the undercurrent of resentment by some loyal Apple fans towards Apple, that they have become a West-coast elitist brand
CEO Tim Cook came bounding on stage smiling and laughing with the exaggerated emotion of a daytime TV soap actor. He was joined by a series of Apple executives as they each introduced the new products.
The MacBook Air laptop has had a complete design overhaul. It has been targeted towards the size-conscious slim and light market, its chassis has been streamlined so that it’s now 10 percent thinner, it measures just 1.54 cm (.61 inches) at its thickest point. At 1.24 kg (2.75 Ibs) it’s almost 50% lighter than last year’s model.
The screen has had an overhaul too. It now features a Retina display with 2560 x 1600 resolution so now more detail can be shown on screen at once.
It has been a recent trend by laptop manufacturers in their quest to make bezels thinner to leave no room for a webcam at the top, so they place it at the bottom where it takes unflattering video of nostrils. Apple boasted that the Air’s bezels are now 50% thinner and yet they have been able to retain the webcam in the top bezel.
It has a Touch ID fingerprint sensor for improved system security. This works with the internal T2 Security Chip to password protect the Mac, provide file, webcam and microphone security and allow you to make online payments with a single touch. It also gives Siri AI functionality.
The Mac Mini for too long has been the neglected step child of the Apple family. It has now received its first update since 2014.
It was originally aimed at entry level Mac users who wanted to jump into the Mac ecosystem without paying a premium, it quickly became a firm favourite for its robustness.
The new Mac Mini’s diminutive size hides a powerful performance boost. It comes with either a quad or 6-core Intel processor, fast SSD storage and up to 64GB of RAM. It also has an array of ports including four Thunderbolt 3 ports, providing it with fast connectivity with next-generation add-on hardware.
The only real negative is that it doesn’t have a graphics card, instead it uses the Intel UHD 630 graphics which are integrated on the main processor. This is underpowered for any productivity work such as 4K video editing or complex graphics production and certainly cannot be used for games. A separate graphics card in an external enclosure can be purchased to help, but this negates the concept of it as being an all-in-one compact computer if you are having to use two boxes.
Apple’s premium tablet, the iPad Pro, has received a major redesign. Replicating the change in the iPhone X, the Home button has been removed and the bezels have been reduced so now there is a larger screen size. Unlike the iPhone X there is no unsightly notch protruding down from the top of the screen to hide the camera and sensors, as these are beautifully hidden in the bezel.
It uses Face ID for user authentication and for creating Animoji, animal faces that replicate your facial movements, and Memoji, caricatured-styled versions of yourself.
The bespoke Apple lightning port has been jettisoned for the industry standard USB-C which will allow it to connect to a larger range of external hardware, should Apple allow it.
The 3.5mm headphone jack has been removed so you can either use it with a wireless Bluetooth headphones or use traditional wired headphones as long as you buy an adaptor.
The internals have received a major power boost with the A12X Bionic processor which Apple says give it the graphics performance of a dedicated home console, the Xbox One S. The iPad Pro comes in a 10.5 and 12.9 inch models.
All the new hardware will be available in the UK on 7 November.