Apple launches new MacBook Pros with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips

First major redesign for company's flagship laptops since October 2016

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Apple launched its latest MacBook Pro laptops - powered by the company’s in-house M1 Pro and M1 Max chips – and new AirPods on Monday as the US tech company looks to diversify its product range and attract more professional users.

Available in 14-inch and 16-inch screen sizes, the new MacBooks offer longer battery life, faster processing, brighter display, better graphics and advanced machine learning capabilities, the company said in announcing the first major redesign for the laptops since 2016.

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said the "game-changing" new laptop has "no equal" and is the "best Pro notebook" Apple has made.

Apple's latest products were announced at the company’s live streamed "Unleashed" event, the second major product launch of the year for Apple, which last month unveiled its newest iPhone 13 series, Apple Watch 7 and new iPads.

After infuriating its creative customer base when it dropped most ports in earlier models, the new Mac notebooks once again will have an HDMI socket and an SD card slot.

The computers will also feature a 1080-pixel FaceTime camera, following years of complaints about the dismal performance of many of Apple's forward-facing laptop cameras.

A new sound system supports spatial audio, which is engineered to create a three-dimensional cinema-like experience.

The Pro lineup also marks the return of MagSafe charging, another feature customers had demanded after Apple phased it out in 2016.

A fast charge feature also comes to the devices for the first time, charging up to 50 per cent in 30 minutes, the company said.

Apple, which introduced its own M1 chip in November last year to reduce its products’ reliance on Intel chips, also launched the advanced versions - M1 Pro and M1 Max.

The central processing unit in the new chips delivers a performance up to 70 per cent faster than the M1, Apple said, making tasks like compiling projects in Xcode – an ecosystem created by Apple for app development - much faster.

The graphics processing unit in M1 Pro is up to two times faster than the M1, while the M1 Max is up to four times faster, Apple said.

“M1 has transformed our most popular systems with incredible performance, custom technologies and industry-leading power efficiency,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies.

“With massive gains in CPU and GPU performance, up to six times the memory bandwidth … and other advanced technologies, M1 Pro and M1 Max take Apple silicon even further."

The new MacBook Pro models are available to order from Monday on the company's website and in the Apple Store app. They will be available in select Apple Store locations and authorised resellers from October 26.

In the US, the new 14-inch MacBook Pro model starts at $1,999 and goes up to $2,499. The 16-inch MacBook Pro model starts at $2,499 and goes up to $3,499.

The new models will ship with macOS Monterey, the latest version of the Apple’s desktop operating system, which will be available as a free software update from October 25.

The computers are housed in an aluminium case that optimises internal space.

“The thermal design enables MacBook Pro to deliver phenomenal performance while staying cool and quiet. And because of the efficiency of Apple silicon, the fans never even have to turn on for most tasks users perform every day,” the company said.

Apple also announced the third generation of AirPods that have an extended battery of up to six hours of listening time alone and up to 30 hours of total listening time with the charging case, Apple said.

“We are excited to introduce the next generation of AirPods, featuring unrivalled sound … spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, along with seamless interaction between Apple devices," said Mr Joswiak.

Updated: October 19, 2021, 6:53 AM