Apple has just concluded its October 2021 event, with updates to Apple Music, AirPods and the MacBook Pro lineup. Catch up on all the details on the event here.
Apple has introduced a new cheaper Apple Music subscription plan alongside some other Apple Music updates and also released the HomePod Mini in new colours.
Apple Music Voice Plan
The new Apple Music plan is the cheapest plan on offer with Apple Music, priced at £4.99 per month for 1 person. The other options include:
Unlike other Apple Music plans, the Voice Plan can only be used via Siri. Users get a customised in-app experience based on music preferences and a section called Just Ask Siri which allows users to learn about optimising Siri.
Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio will not be supported on the Apple Music Voice Plan.
The new plan will be available in 17 countries later this Fall (Autumn).
New curated playlists for Apple Music
Apple is adding lots of new curated playlists for Apple Music subscribers, including new mood and activity playlists.
For Voice Plan users, some of the new playlists can be accessed with commands such as:
The HomePod Mini has previously only been available in White and Space Grey. Alongside these existing colours from November, HomePod Mini will be also available in the following colours:
The price of HomePod mini is £89 ($99 in the US). It will ship in November.
Apple’s first new product announcement of the event was a new instalment in its AirPods range: the 3rd Generation AirPods.
An all-new design, with deeper bass
The new AirPods feature a sleek design with a new custom driver and high dynamic range amplifier that produce deeper bass and higher frequencies. An acoustic mesh surrounds the microphone, preventing interference from atmospheric noises such as wind, making calls with AirPods 3rd Generation crisper.
Adaptive EQ, Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos
Computational audio technologies allow AirPods 3rd Generation to have Adaptive EQ and Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking – features already found on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. The Adaptive EQ tunes sound in real time depending on how the AirPod fits into the user’s ear. Spatial audio makes sounds feel more immersive by making a three-dimensional theatre experience, paired with Dolby Atmos technology.
Enhanced Battery Life
The new AirPods 3rd Generation has an extra hour of battery life compared to previous generations, providing up to 6 hours listening time and 4 hours talk time. Five minutes of charging provides an hour of battery life, and with the magnetic charging case fully charged, users can enjoy around 30 hours of battery life in total.
Much like AirPods Pro, AirPods 3rd Generation provides protection against sweat and water, suitable for outdoor use.
Pricing and Availability
AirPods 3rd Generation will retail at £169 in the UK ($179 in the US) and is available to order today from the Apple Store App. They will be released on Tuesday, October 26.
Apple announced that the two new MacBook Pro models will be shipping with two new Apple Silicon chips, named the M1 Pro and the M1 Max.
The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips has seen an architecture overhaul, with the M1 Pro delivering up to 200GB/s of memory bandwidth and the M1 Max up to 400GB/s. In addition, the Pro chip supports up to 32GB of unified memory, with the Max chip up to 64GB. Both chips are engineered with the 5 nanometer process, allowing the Pro chip to have 33.7 billion transistors, with the Max chip having 57 billion.
The Pro chip has a 10-core CPU (8 high-performance and 2 high-efficiency cores), delivering up to 70% faster CPU performance than the normal M1 chip. M1 Pro has a 16-core GPU (8 more than its predecessor) with 5.2 teraflops processing power. This results in the Pro chip having 2 times faster GPU performance than the M1. The chip also is capable of powering several displays as well as multiple streams of 4K and 8K ProRes video. The Max chip has a 32-core GPU with 10.4 teraflops of processing power, giving the chip 4 times faster GPU performance than the M1.
Both chips have industry-leading performance per watt, delivering phenomenal performance at a lower power consumption rate compared to other PC chips.
Two new MacBook Pro models were announced, in 14-inch and 16-inch configurations. Both have the same features and capabilities, with some differences in performance. You can purchase either model with either the M1 Pro or M1 Max chips.
The new MacBook Pro models have an advanced thermal system, allowing more cool air to circulate its interior, reducing the need for cooling fans. This helps the system operate smoother and quieter, even at peak performance. The 16-inch model is 16.8mm thin and weighs 4.7lbs, while the 14 inch is 15.5mm thin and 3.5lbs light.
Connectivity and Charging
The new MacBook Pros will feature a wide range of ports, including 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports, a new HDMI port, a SD Card slot, a headphone jack (with support for high end headphones) and MagSafe compatibility. With the M1 Pro chip, you can connect up to two external ProXDR displays, while with the Max chip you can connect up to 3 ProXDR displays and a 4K TV, while still having ports to connect AirPods Max and a high end camera for example. All without any cables.
The new models will feature thinner bezels, including the notch from iPhone and iPad to maximise screen space. As a result, the 16 inch model has a 16.2 inch display and the 14 inch has a 14.2 inch display. The 16 inch model has a higher pixel density, accruing to a figure of 7.7 million pixels (3456×2234). The 14 inch has 5.9 million pixels (3024×1964). Both models will feature ProMotion technology, with adaptive refresh rates of up to 120Hz as well as a Liquid Retina XDR Display. The displays have a sustained brightness of up to 1000 nits, peaking at 1600 nits with a 1,000,000:1 constant ratio for HDR capability.
Camera and Audio
The front-facing FaceTime camera system has has its resolution doubled to 1080p for a clearer image, coupled with a wider angle lens and computational audio technology.
The MacBooks also feature enhanced audio systems, with better microphones. Both models have a six-speaker audio system featuring four noise-cancelling subwoofers, allowing up to 80% more bass. Dolby Atmos technology also features on both models for a deeper immersive audio experience.
Performance Boosts and Battery Life
The 16 inch model with the Pro and Max chips has 2 times faster CPU performance compared to the Core i9. In terms of graphical performance, the 16-inch with the Pro chip is up to 2.5 times faster than the MacBook Pro predecessor, with the Max chip having up to 4 times better performance. Machine learning performance is also faster than before. The 14 inch model (which also is configurable with the Pro or Max chips) also sees boosts in CPU, GPU and ML performance. Both models also have enhanced SSDs.
Battery life for both models is also increased, with the 14 inch delivering up to 17 hours of video playback on a single charge, while the 16 inch gets 21 hours. The new models also support fast charging, allowing users to charge their MacBooks up to 50% in 30 minutes.
Pricing and Availability
The new MacBook Pro (14-inch, M1 Pro) starts at £1,899, with the highest spec model (16-inch, M1 Max) coming in at £3,299. Various configurations and customisations are available on the Apple Store website or via the app. Both models are available to order now, shipping Tuesday, October 26.