Apple Releases New MacBook Air, Mac mini and iPad Pro
 October 31, 2018 by Jack Anderson

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On October 30, Apple introduced new products in their probably final keynote of the year, setting up their product line ready for Christmas.

Ten years ago, on January 15, 2008, Steve Jobs introduced a laptop that became without any doubt the single most iconic laptop ever. Jobs opened the keynote by stating that there was "something in the air." A few minutes later, he started to make a comparison of the usual suspects, as he would often do. The year before, he had gone through the most well-known (smart)phones at the time, before introducting the iPhone. This time, he would start by talking about laptops and how big they most were. Until he famously took an office envelope and took out of it a brand new category of Apple laptops: the MacBook Air, marking the end of the bulky laptops era.

In the last decade, the MacBook Air became by far the most well-known Apple laptop. But unfortunately, the iconic laptop suddenly started to fade away, technically speaking. People were still fans of the laptop, which kept having a lower price point throughout its history. Apple kept innovating, but the innovation was solely kept for high-end laptops, such as the MacBook Pro or the new MacBook - an ultraportable laptop. Many felt that there was no longer an Apple laptop that would fit their needs. The MacBook Pro would be too expensive and not really needed for most tasks, while the MacBook would be too expensive for such a low-performance laptop. Hence the MacBook Air clearly filling a gap, but unfortunately, it had become too old. The biggest problem being the very poor screen quality. The laptop had a resolution of 1,440 x 900 pixels, which is far from being a so-called Retina Display. As a comparison, the latest iPhone Xs Max features a resolution of 2,688 x 1,242 pixels for a 6.5-inch screen versus a 13.3-inch for the MacBook. You get the point. Working on a current generation MacBook Air was clearly not a great experience, screen-wise.

So, after a very long time, Apple finally decided to revamp the MacBook Air. Apple's CEO Tim Cook started off by saying that the number one request from customers was a Retina Display. The new MacBook Air will feature four times more pixels as the previous one. The new native resolution is 2,560 x 1,600 pixels.

Here is the new MacBook Air:

But the company did not stop there, here are some of the new features of the iconic laptop:
- 48% more colors.
- A new TouchID button.
- A new keyboard with butterfly mechanism.
- A 20% larger trackpad with Force Touch.
- 25% louder speakers, with twice more bass.
- 2x Thunderbolts 3 ports (USB-C).
- An 8th generation Intel Core-i5 CPU (Dual Core).
- Up to 16 GB of RAM, with default configuration at 8 GB.
- A 60% faster SSD.
- Same 12 hours battery life.
- 10% thinner.
- 17% less volume overall, thanks to a thinner bezel.
- 2.75 pounds (a quarter pound lighter.)
- Made with 100% recycled aluminum.
- Support of "Hey Siri."

Here is a more in-depth video on the new laptop:

The only concern is that the pricepoint of the MacBook Air is now higher. If the consumer upgrades the configuration with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage, the laptop suddenly costs $2,000. At that level, would the consumers then favor the MacBook Pro instead?
But this is only a short-term question, as the price of the new MacBook Air will surely go down in the following years.

Apple also introduced an updated version of their Mac mini desktop computer:
- The computer starts with 4-cores CPU (up to 6.)
- 8th gen Intel CPU.
- Up to 64 GB of RAM.
- 4x faster SSD.
- Up to 2 TB of storage.
The new Mac mini starts at $799.

Here is a video about the new Mac desktop:

Finally, the one of the biggest announcements was the introduction of the new iPad Pro. As usual, Apple learns and implements innovations from other products throughout their portfolio. This time, the iPad Pro is getting influence from the iPhone X, with the removal of the home button and the inclusion of Face ID, a drastic move that is also a great opportunity to both reduce the footprint of the device (12.9-inch model) and increase the size of the display (11-inch model.)

Here is the new iPad Pro:

Here are the changes to this latest iteration:
- Removal of the home button.
- Implementation of FaceID.
- FaceID is working in both portrait and landscape modes - a feature that we say will probably be implemented as well in the next iPhone, come next year.
- Liquid Retina Display.
- The 10.5-inch screen is now increased to 11-inch, with the same footprint as the original 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
- The 12.9-inch screen is staying the same, but the footprint of the device is reduced, making it much more interesting for consumers who want a big screen.
- The iPad Pro is 15% thinner, making it very, very thin, while still keeping its all-day battery life.
- A12X Bionic CPU.
- 8-core CPU.
- 7-core GPU.
- 35% faster single core.
- 90% faster CPU (multi core.)
- 1,000x faster graphic performance.
- USB-C connector that allows plugging external cameras or charging an iPhone, as an example.

Check out this introduction video of the iPad Pro:

The iPad Pro comes with two renewed accessories as well, that will not be compatible with previous models (how come we are not surprised?)
First, the Smart Keyboard has been renamed the Smart Keyboard Folio and now allows for two different screen orientations.
Second, the Apple Pencil has been redesigned in a very clever way. The electronic pencil now attaches magnetically to the now flat side of the iPad and not only this but charges and pairs wirelessly. This means that there is no need to connect the pencil to the connector of the iPad itself, which felt definitely like a big risk each time.

In some recent benchmarks, the iPad Pro becomes almost as powerful as a 15-inch MacBook Pro, which is a real milestone to be celebrated. But at the same time, what is almost sad is that there are two key elements that drastically slow down the iPad. I am talking first about the fact that there is no possibility to use a mouse or a trackpad. Using our fingers will never be as fast as using a mouse/trackpad pointer. But in order to do that, one thing needs to be considered as well, and this is my second point. iOS. iOS is currently limiting the efficiency of the consumers of the iPad Pro. As an example, using an iPad Pro to create Websites is virtually useless. The processor could be as giganticly fast as possible, it won't change the fact that a simple activity such as editing a Webpage's code is slow as hell. There is no possibility to create apps with Xcode and that seems logical. But as with everything, one day, all of that will be resolved. The question is how. And my view is that iOS and macOS must continue to converge, until one day, running applications will have a similar user experience. And we'll get there. In the meantime, here is the video of the entire event:

 Comments (1)

By CryptoGirl on 2019-08-07 17:25:02 ET
The gold MacBook Air for me, please.

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