Apple event: Unveiled MacBook Air And New iPad Pro

The Silicon Valley firm decamped to Brooklyn to launch new iPad Pro, ‘100% recycled aluminum’ Air and revamped Mac Mini


What was announced
New MacBook Air

The MacBook Air sees its first significant update since 2015, adding a 13.3in Retina Display with thinner bezels all round, as well as a thinner and lighter body made from 100% recycled aluminum.

The new laptop has Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner, Force Touch trackpad, new keyboard from the MacBook Pro and two Thunderbolt 3 ports for power and connectivity. It ships with an eight-generation dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and is Apple’s new entry-level laptop.

New Mac Mini

Apple’s smallest desktop was updated for the first time since 2014. It has 4 and 6-core eighth-generation Intel processors, up to 64GB of RAM and four Thunderbolt 3 ports bringing it up to parity with Apple’s other laptops and iMacs.

New iPad Pros

The iPad Pro has seen its most significant update since 2015, with a new all-screen display.

The new 11in version fits a larger screen in the same sized body as the previous 10.5in iPad Pro, while the 12.9in version has shrunk in size around the same screen dimensions.

Both tablets have Apple’s Face ID face recognition system, USB-C ports instead of Lightning ports and support a new Apple Pencil stylus and folio keyboard accessory.

Both tablets have Apple’s new A12X Bionic chip, which the company says is up to 90% faster than the last version, and faster than 92% of mobile PCs sold in the last year.



Tim Cook and Lana Del Rey. photo credit: Justin Lane/EPA

That’s it! Cook runs down the updates and says goodbye. But first: “We’ve always believed deeply in the power of creativity to change things … what better way to celebrate that creativity, than with an amazing musical performance.”

No U2 here: Cook introduces Lana Del Ray to do a couple of piano numbers. Because Apple are prudes, she’s banned from naming her new album, “Norman Fucking Rockwell”, onstage.


Lana Del Rey with pianist Jack Antonoff. Photo Credit: Justin Lane/EPA


And finally, Apple has confirmed it’s shipping iOS 12.1 today, introducing pre-announced features including group Facetime, dual SIM support with eSIMs, and more emoji.


Price: The 11 inch iPad pro starts at $799 for 64GB of space, with the 12.9-inch model starting at $999 for the same storage.

The current 10.5 inch Pro also sees a price cut to $649.


John ends the session with video number seven, another advert for the iPad Pro.


Sian, who is in charge of developer relations, comes on stage to show some of the apps that developers are making.

AutoCAD is bringing its desktop-class rendering engine to the iPad; DJay Pro can now mix up to five times the video clips, and there’s an Assassins Creed mobile game that’s running at 120fps.

We get more detail from 2K Games, as Greg Thomas comes up and announces NBA 2K Mobile for the iPad Pro. It’s a basketball game.

And Adobe’s Jamie Myrold re-announces the iPad version of Photoshop and shows an augmented reality design tool, Project Arrow.


Now we get the standard bit where Apple pretends that people use Augmented Reality. The iPad is good for Augmented Reality, apparently.



Definitely not a stylus … the Apple Pencil. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

There’s also a new Apple Pencil, which connects to the side of the iPad Pro with a magnet, charges wirelessly from it, and pairs automatically. It’s also got a button, of sorts – tapping twice on the side of the pencil changes modes.


Get ready to buy new cables: the new iPad Pros have USB-C replacing the lightning connector. That makes it more capable as a computer – and even lets it charge an iPhone – but no-one likes having to replace all their plugs if they just use it as a charging cable.


It can handle up to 1TB in storage capacity, apparently.


The new iPad Pros have a new chip at their heart: the A12X Bionic, a tablet-class bump to the iPhone XS’s A12. It’s got 10bn transistors. That sounds like a lot of transistors!

“These iPad Pros are faster than 92% of all portable PCs sold in the last 12 months,” John says. That’s an impressive claim.

The graphics performance has doubled compared to the last generation – apparently delivering “Xbox One S-class graphics performance”, matching Microsoft’s console.


Of course, with no home button, the new iPad Pro has FaceID, replacing TouchID. Unlike on the iPhone, it works in portrait and landscape mode, though, which is nice


The new iPad Pro


The New iPad Pro. Photo: Apple


New iPad Pro Photograph: Apple


New iPad Pro Photograph: Apple


The hard edges make it look a bit like the first-generation iPad, which is a nice callback, but everything else is different.

The screen, as with the iPhone XR, is now branded as the “liquid retina” display. But on the smaller model, the 10.5in screen is now 11in, thanks to the loss of the home button.

On the larger iPad Pro, the 12.9in screen stays the same, with the device itself shrinking.



Here we … here we … here we iPad Pro!!!! Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

The new iPad Pro! It’s got hard edges, no home button, thin bezels all around, and still features a camera nubbin making it hard to place on a flat surface.

Tim introduces John, from the iPad division.

The iPad Pro is first up. “Today we’re announcing an all-new iPad Pro, and it’s going to push what you can do on [an] iPad or on any computer even further.”

Cue video six, showing the new iPad Pro.


The iPad Pro is first up. “Today we’re announcing an all-new iPad Pro, and it’s going to push what you can do on [an] iPad or on any computer even further.”

Cue video six, showing the new iPad Pro.


Right, back to the expensive stuff: iPads.

“A magical piece of glass that transforms instantly to whatever you want it to be,” Cook says. “But you might not know that we’ve sold more iPads in the last year than the entire notebook line-up of all of the biggest notebook manufacturers,” he adds. “This makes iPad the most popular computer in the world.” I… guess?


Apple holds classes and talks in its stores and has nice looking shops in cool places, we learn from Ahrendts. There are another 60 classes that the company is launching today, she says, like a video creation class and a kids photography lesson.

They also run on 100% renewable energy, which I think we knew before but is good. Back to Tim.


Tim’s back, and now he’s talking about Apple’s stores. So we get a rare appearance from Angela Ahrendts, head of retail, to talk about them.


Base config is $799, with an Intel Core i3, 8GB memory, and 128GB storage. (So, I was wrong about the lack of Intel.) It’s also available from November 7, and also 100% recycled aluminum on the outside.


On memory, the Mac Mini can be specced up to 64GB of RAM, and they all begin with all-flash storage, supporting up to 2TB at max.

They also come with the T2 security chip, which enables the same Apple Pay and video encoding as the laptops – no TouchID though, for fairly obvious reasons.

Outputs: 2x USB-A, 4x USB-C, HDMI, Ethernet, and power.

This is a small, fast, desktop, that’s being sold as a modular addition to any workflow – Apple even suggests stacking three or more together to achieve really intensive tasks.


Apple’s smallest and cheapest computer, the Mac mini was considered dead by some, but no. Tom Boger, the head of Mac product marketing, comes out to talk about the new version.


Tom Boger speaks about the new Mac mini. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

It’s “space grey”. It starts with a 4 core processor and can be upgraded to a 6 core processor. Interestingly, Apple hasn’t said the word “Intel” in this section, which is unusual and suggests that we may not be seeing normal Intel chips here.


And Tim is back, introducing video number five, and the second Mac to be bumped today: the Mac Mini.


Specs and price! 8GB memory, an Intel i5 clocked at 1.6GHz and 128GB of internal storage, from $1199, on sale today and shipping 7 November.


And now video number four, repeating what we already knew.

The three finishes – black, grey and gold – do look quite pretty next to each other though.



Still pretty slim – and now, apparently, greener. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Recycling! All the tin on the motherboard is from recycled material, and 35% of the plastic is post-consumer. And, now, the aluminum alloy in the shell is also made from 100% recycled aluminum.

That, apparently, reduces the carbon footprint by 50% and makes it “the greenest Mac ever”.


The USB-C ports are, Grove says, Thunderbolt compatible, unlike the MacBook.

On battery life, the company is promising “12 hours of wireless web browsing” and “13 hours of iTunes Movie playback”.

And on size, the new machine is 17% smaller by volume than its predecessor, 10% thinner and weighs 2.75lb, compared to the previous model’s 3lb.


Bad news for some, though, as Grove reveals that the MBA has the same third-generation keyboard as the current generation MacBook Pros do – one which with serious questions over its long-term reliability that still haven’t been answered.


Another major update: the new MBA has TouchID, and Apple’s secure computing chip, the T2.

And the trackpad is replaced with the newish Force Touchpad, which dispenses with physical motion in favor of haptic feedback.

Cook introduces Laura Grove to talk about the new model in more detail.

“We’ve made the display better in every way. The familiar aluminum bezel… is gone. The new sleek design takes the screen glass to the edge of the border.”

The 13.3” screen has more than 4 million pixels, Grove says, with 48% more color. It’s a straight 4x update to the older screen in terms of pixel density.

There’s still a webcam at the top of the screen, she adds, a side-swipe at the PC laptops that have moved it to the bottom for space reasons


Cook introduces Laura Grove to talk about the new model in more detail.

“We’ve made the display better in every way. The familiar aluminum bezel… is gone. The new sleek design takes the screen glass to the edge of the border.”

The 13.3” screen has more than 4 million pixels, Grove says, with 48% more color. It’s a straight 4x update to the older screen in terms of pixel density.

There’s still a webcam at the top of the screen, she adds, a side-swipe at the PC laptops that have moved it to the bottom for space reasons.


The new MacBook Air … looks a lot like the old MacBook Air. Two USB-C ports on the left, one headphone jack on the right, and a retina screen are the only visible differences from the previous version.



Air-raising … Apple announces a new model of their popular laptop. Photograph: Apple

“Now, it’s time for a new MacBook Air. One that takes the MacBook Air experience even further in the ways that mean the most to our customers. And of course, what we all want in a MacBook Air is a retina display.

“And I’m incredibly excited today to introduce a whole new MacBook Air, with a retina display and a whole lot more.”

Cue video number three …



The world is home to 100m Macs. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

The Mac is doing well, Cook says. There’s 100m Macs out there being used, and 51% of Mac buyers are buying their first one – rising to 76% in China.

Cook is also proud of macOS, “the soul of the Mac”. He shows off macOS Mojave, the latest version of the software.

“Customers love their Macs,” he says, “and they especially love one Mac in particular… the MacBook Air.”


“The Mac has become one of the world’s most essential creative tools,” Cook says, before introducing another video of people, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anna Wintour, and Kermit the Frog*, using Apple products. Lots of videos today.

*not technically a person?



Tim Cook ❤️ NY. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

And we’re off, with a quick video show


For the iPad Pro, the change will be significant, as Apple attempts to dance the line between thin-and-light tablet and computer replacement without merging its iOS mobile operating system with its macOS desktop operating system.

Embracing USB-C will be key, as the Guardian’s Samuel Gibbs said:

Apple will hope the that refreshed iPad Pro with greater PC-like capabilities, including the versatility of the USB-C connector, will boost sales of the tablet against growing competition from Windows 10 2-in-1 hybrids such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 tablet that aim to perform both tablet and laptop duties.

But in many ways, an update to the long-favorite MacBook Air is more crucial. The Apple laptop has become the default purchase for many Apple-using businesses but is now long in the tooth. Although not as ancient as the Mac Mini, which is still using components from 2014.

ing a lot of New Yorkers using Apple product giving way to Tim Cook and a banner reading “❤️NY” – and a lot of applause, seemingly more for New York than Apple itself.

“We’re here today to talk about our most creative products,” Cook says, “and of course, that all starts with the Mac.”


Apple CEO Tim Cook with an iPad, a product that is still important to the company – but not important enough to hold the launch at the Steve Jobs Theater in California Photograph: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

As Gibbs said:

Despite its popularity, the MacBook Air was last updated in early 2015 with fifth-generation Intel Core chips with 8GB of RAM made standard in 2017, and is still on sale with those old components.

Ever since the introduction of the new 12in MacBook in 2015, Apple has been expected to either drop the MacBook Air from sale or update it.

Rumours predict that the MacBook Air will see a redesign with an improved screen and newer seventh or eighth-generation Intel Core chips bringing it into line with Apple’s other computers.



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