Eight takeaways from Apple's October event, including MacBook Pro launch

Cupertino-based company launched new MacBook Pros, AirPods and HomePod minis

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Apple launched new MacBook Pro laptops, AirPods and HomePod minis at an online event on Monday.

This was the company’s second major product launch event of the year.

Last month, the most valuable company in the world, rolled out its latest iPhone 13 series, Apple Watch 7 and new iPads.

US venture capital firm Loup Ventures expects the devices announced during these two events to account for up to 50 per cent of Apple's revenue over the next 12 months.

Here are eight takeaways from the “Unleashed” event that was streamed live on various platforms.

Easy being green

Apple’s new MacBook Pros come in an enclosure made of 100 per cent recycled aluminium. They also use reprocessed rare earth elements in all magnets used in various components.

Both models are built with 35 per cent or more recycled plastic and all of the packaging wood fibres are from “responsibly managed forests or recycled sources,” the company said.

Apple unveils new MacBooks and AirPods

Apple unveils new MacBooks and AirPods

“MacBook Pro remains free of harmful substances … is manufactured using even more renewable energy and meets Apple’s high standards for energy efficiency,” it added.

Faster chips

Apple introduced its own M1 chip in November last year to avoid Covid-induced supply chain disruptions and reduce its products’ reliance on Intel chips. The next-generation chips — M1 Pro and M1 Max — are being used in its latest laptops, which they say are the “most powerful and capable chips” they've ever produced.

Using the latest 5-nanometre process technology, the new chips contain 33.7 billion transistors — more than two times the amount in M1.

Consumers can expect better performance per watt, increased power efficiency, enhanced memory bandwidth and capacity.

The central processing unit in the new chips is reportedly up to 70 per cent faster than M1, so tasks like compiling projects in Xcode — an ecosystem created by Apple for app development — are much faster than before.

While the graphic processing unit in the M1 Pro is up to two times faster than M1, the M1 Max is up to four times faster, the company said.

AirPods lost and found

Apple’s latest third-generation AirPods will now be included in the Find My network enabling users to keep track of their belongings. This network includes iPhones, iPads and Mac computers, offering proximity view in the Find My app and Lost Mode, as well as uncoupling alerts and sounds.

They also come with a new skin-detect sensor that determines if AirPods are in the ear, in a pocket or on a table and stops the playback when they are not in the ear, saving battery life, which can be limited.

Siri, play millions of songs

Later this year, Apple's new Music Voice Plan will allow subscribers access a catalogue of about 90 million songs and hundreds of playlists for $4.99 per month -- though it may not be available in your country.

If available, just tell Siri to start your plan and music can be accessed across all of your Siri-enabled devices, including HomePod mini, AirPods, iPhone and CarPlay.

A one-time, seven-day free preview with no auto-renewal will be offered to non-subscribers who request music through Siri so you won't have to yell at Siri when you are charged on day eight.

HomePod minis like a rainbow

The HomePod mini, which was designed to pair with Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and various other streaming stations, will be coloured yellow, orange and blue — starting at $99.

The company said HomePod mini will send any information to Apple servers only after “Hey Siri” is recognised locally on the device or the user activates it by touch to ensure the security and privacy of users’ confidential information and Apple devices.

“Requests are not associated with the user’s Apple ID, nor is personal information used for Apple’s advertising purposes or sold to other organisations,” Apple said.

Do you know the way to Monterey

Apple’s latest desktop operating system, macOS Monterey, will be available as a free software update from October 25, which was designed with improved productivity in mind.

It also ensures more robust security protections, including hardware-verified secure boot, runtime anti-exploitation technologies and fast encryption for files.

MagSafe makes it return

New MacBook Pros come with MagSafe 3 technology that Apple ditched about five years ago and moved to USB charging on its new laptops.

It features an updated design and supports more power into the system, the company said.

This move will let the company to create an ecosystem of accessories for easy attachment and faster charging, industry experts stated.

“The magnetic connection is strong enough to resist most unintended disconnects, but if someone trips on the cable, it releases so your MacBook Pro stays put,” Apple said on its website.

Prices and availability

The new MacBook Pro models with M1 Pro and M1 Max are available to order from Monday on the company’s website and on the Apple Store app.

Units will also be in select Apple stores and authorised resellers from October 26.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro model starts at Dh8,499 and the 16-inch MacBook Pro model starts at Dh10,599.

Updated: October 19, 2021, 2:47 PM