Apple event summary: MacBook Pro 2021, AirPods 3, HomePod mini and all the big news
Apple announced a bunch of new products at the Apple Event, including two new MacBook Pro 2021 models and two new chips in the M1 Pro and M1 Max. The goal is to provide a quantum leap in performance for those on the fence about ditching Intel, and Apple is making a pretty strong case to do just that.
Apple also announced the AirPods 3, which deliver a new design, longer battery life and enhanced sound quality for $179. And the company unveiled a new Apple Music Voice plan for $4.99 a month along with new HomePod mini colors.
Here's everything announced at the Apple event:
MacBook Pro 2021 (14 inch) (from $1,999): While pricey, the new 14-inch MacBook promises serious power with your choice of a M1 Pro chip and M1 Max chip. The M1 Pro offers a major speed boost over the M1, especially in terms of graphics performance, while delivering long battery life.
Other highlights include a mini-LED display, MagSafe charging, HDMI and SD Card slot and a 1080p camera. Alas, there is a notch.
MacBook Pro 2021 16-inch (from $2,499): The new 16-inch MacBook Pro has a 16.2-inch display so you get more room than the previous model. Like the MacBook Pro 14-inch, there's a 6-speaker sound system. You get up to 64GB of unified memory, which is a first for the Mac and up to 21 hours of battery life.
AirPods 3 ($179): The regular AirPods haven't seen an update in two years, so we're glad to see Apple offer a new design with shorter stems and improved touch controls with a new sensor. You also get Spatial Audio support for music and longer battery life that's 6 hours with the earbuds and up to 30 hours with the case.
Apple M1 Pro chip: The new M1 Pro chip has a 10-core CPU with 8 high-performance cores and 2 efficiency cores along with up to 32GB of unified memory. You get 70% faster CPU performance versus the M1. There's also a 16-core GPU (up from 8 cores before), which delivers up to 2x graphics performance.
Apple M1 Max chip: The M1 Max is the super chip with up to 400 GB/s of memory bandwidth (vs 200 GB/s for M1 Pro). And you get up to 64GB of unified memory, double the M1Pro. There's a 10-core CPU but even more powerful graphics with a 32-core GPU.
HomePod mini ($99): Now comes in three bolder colors in yellow, orange and blue and release date is November. You still get 360-degree audio in a compact design. You just bring your iPhone to the HomePod mini to hand off the audio.
Apple Music Voice Plan ($4.99 per month): The new Apple Music Voice Plan is designed exclusively for Siri and gives you access to 90 million songs, tens of thousands of playlists and hundreds of new mood and activity playlists for a reasonable price.