Here’s Everything Apple Announced During Its MacBook Event

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Here’s Everything Apple Announced During Its MacBook Event
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Photo: Apple

Despite a seemingly endless string of leaks leading up to it, Apple still managed to pack a few surprises into its fall 2021 “Unleashed” MacBook event on Monday.

With the iPhone announcements behind us, Apple plowed ahead into Mac-land, delivering both the long-rumored announcements of its new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros alongside surprises like new HomePod Mini colors and a cheaper Apple Music plan.

Here’s everything Apple announced.

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Photo: Apple

Apple has a new three-tiered, Siri-powered “Voice Plan” for Apple Music. The name pretty much says it all—for $5 a month, you can subscribe to get access to solely voice-powered access to Apple’s extensive music library, which will now featured new-and-improved playlists and genre listening options alongside lyrics pages, music videos and personalized listening recommendations.

In addition to the most basic tier of the plan, Apple is keeping the $10/month plan with access to the usual features like lossless and Spatial Audio, and for $15 a month you’ll get a family plan that will enable users to stream from Apple Music on up to six devices.

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Photo: Apple

The HomePod Mini still priced at $99, but wait—now there are colors!

The HomePod Mini first launched in a conservative white or space gray, but the “bold new colors” revealed at the event let you add some personality to your house with blue, orange, and a fun marigold yellow. Announcing new colors for the HomePod Mini right after announcing the new Siri-powered Voice Plan for Apple Music feels like a massive *hint hint* from Apple—wouldn’t it be nice to pair new voice-powered music options with these fun new devices?! Maybe!

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Photo: Apple

Apple’s long-awaited third-gen AirPods are finally here, and they look (slightly) different from the last-gen. To put a finer point on it, the new AirPods haven’t really changed much, design-wise; while a shorter stem and a curvier aesthetic put these closer to the AirPods Pro, visually speaking, at the end of the day these are still your basic white earbuds. What separates the new ‘Pods from the Pros is the lack of silicone eartips and active noise cancellation.

The new AirPods pack new features like Adaptive EQ and Spatial Audio but active noise cancellation is, for now at least, reserved for the pricier earbuds. The new AirPods’ $179 price tag also makes them more expensive than rivals that do feature ANC, which is a funny choice, but you do you, Apple.

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Photo: Apple

To go along with its powerful new MacBook Pros, Apple debuted two powerful new chips on Monday that take its already impressive M1 processor to the next level.

The M1 Pro packs a 16-core GPU, which Apple says promises up to two times faster graphics performance than the M1; offers up to 200 GB/s of memory bandwidth with support for up to 32GB of unified memory; and utilizes 5-nanometer process technology to pack in 33.7 billion transistors—more than twice the amount in M1.

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Photo: Apple

The M1 Max takes things up another notch. Delivering up to 400 GB/s of memory bandwidth—twice what the M1 Pro is packing and nearly six times that of M1—and support for up to 64GB of unified memory, Apple has humbly crowned this “the most powerful chip ever built for a pro notebook.”

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Photo: Apple

Bells and whistles aside, we all know everyone really came here for the MacBook Pros: They’re here, they’re huge, and they have a notch after all.

Valiantly stunting on last year’s 13-inch model, Apple’s new 14-inch MacBook Pro is 15.5mm thin, 3.5 pounds and comes without a Touch Bar, replacing that abomination design element with actual, physical function keys once again.

In addition to running on Apple’s powerful new chips, the new Pro also gets a miniLED screen, the iPad Pro’s ProMotion display with an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz, and a new 1080p webcam to make your work Zoom calls dazzling. Then there are alllllll the ports: an HDMI port, three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SD card slot, and a MagSafe charging port, which means Apple’s magnetic charging is officially back.

The 14-inch version starts at $1,999, and promises a battery life of up to 15 hours.

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Photo: Apple

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is, in a word, enormous, at 16.8mm thick and a hefty 4.7 pounds. Like the 14-inch version, the large Pro is available with either the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip, and has all the same ports so you don’t have to sacrifice connectivity either way.

Price-wise, this model starts at $2,499, is available for preorder now and is expected to start shipping Oct. 26.

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Photo: Apple

Although Apple didn’t say it out loud during the event, we finally have a release date for macOS 12, also known as Monterey: You’ll be able to install it Monday, Oct. 25.

Like its predecessor, Big Sur, Monterey is Apple’s latest attempt at streamlining its operating systems, which means it pairs with the newly-released iOS 15 like a fine wine. The new OS will let you AirPlay content from a Mac for the first time, and features new features for desktop that are already available on iOS, including Focus profiles to limit notifications and help you ramp up productivity and Shortcuts, Apple’s automation app.

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