It was just over a month ago that Apple took the wraps off the iPhone 13, Apple Watch series 7, and several new iPads. Turns out the company had lots more to reveal this fall. Enough to hold another event in October. Here’s everything Apple just announced at its Unleashed event, including a dramatically redesigned MacBook Pro 16-inch, an all-new MacBook Pro 14-inch, powerful new M1 Pro and M1 Max processors, and the latest version of its popular AirPods true wireless earbuds.
M1 Pro and M1 Max processors
Before getting to details about the new MacBook Pro models, a quick word about Apple’s processor strategy. The company is in the process of moving all its computers and laptops from Intel processors to custom Apple chips. This process began last November with the launch of the M1 processor, a custom Apple ARM-based design featuring four high-speed cores, four high-efficiency cores, an integrated GPU (with either seven or eight cores), and 16-core Neural Engine.
I bought a 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro and it continues to blow me away with its performance, and battery life.
At its Unleashed event, Apple took the wraps off its next generation M1 Pro processor. The latest Apple-designed processor improves on the M1 with twice the transistors for up to 70% faster performance and two times the graphics performance of the M1. The new chip supports up to 32GB of unified memory, double what the M1 could handle. It offers up to 10 CPU cores and up to 16 GPU cores.
The company also unveiled the M1 Max. This one ramps up memory support to 64GB. It also features 10 CPU cores, but supports up to 32 GPU cores for four times the graphics performance of the M1. That’s up to 10.4 Teraflops of GPU performance in a laptop.
Key features of new MacBook Pros
The stars of the Unleashed event were two new MacBook Pro models that feature those powerful new processors. Each shares some key features, regardless of size.
The Touch Bar, the OLED touchscreen strip that never really caught on, is gone. However, Apple brought back some old favourites that many MacBook Pro users have been clamouring for.
MagSafe charging is back, after relying on USB-C charging for the past several years. Users can still charge using a USB-C port if they wish, with three USB-C ports on tap (Thunderbolt 3/ USB 4 supporting 40 Gbps data speeds). Those ports can also be used for DisplayPort video to drive two external monitors at 6K resolution—three 6K monitors in the case of the M1 Max. In addition, an SD card slot is back. Rounding out the port selection is HDMI and a 3.5mm audio jack. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 cover off wireless connectivity.
Each new MacBook Pro is now equipped with an advanced thermal design that moves 50% more air.
The displays are seriously upgraded, Liquid Retina XDR displays with True Tone and P3 wide colour range. Bezels are much smaller (60% less at the top), and the displays use advanced mini LED panels, with ProMotion. local dimming, and refresh rates up to 120 Hz. Brightness is 1000 Nits sustained, and up to 1,600 Nits peak brightness.
Also upgraded is the MacBook Pro webcam, which now features 1080p resolution. It’s housed in a notch that the menu bar wraps around for maximized screen space. A new four-element lens with wider aperture and a larger image sensor improve slow light performance. A premium sound system uses six speakers (two tweeters and four woofers) and supports spatial audio. A three-mic array makes for greatly improved video conferencing and studio-quality audio capture.
Next generation SSDs are up to twice as fast as those found in current models.
14-inch MacBook Pro
Perhaps the most hotly anticipated new MacBook in years, the 14-inch MacBook Pro is an all-new design. This model gives power users who value portability an option that has a little more screen space to work with than the traditional 13-inch MacBook Pro. With a choice of an M1 Pro or M1 Max processor, it also offers a performance upgrade without having to move to the flagship 16-inch MacBook Pro.
The 14.2-inch display has a resolution of 3024 x 1964 pixels (254 PPI).
The new 14-inch MacBook Pro is 15.5mm thick, and weighs 3.5 pounds (1.59kg). It offers battery life of up to 17 hours of video playback.
16-inch MacBook Pro
The 16-inch MacBook Pro has been the largest laptop in Apple’s lineup since its debut in November, 2019, when it replaced the 15-inch MacBook Pro. It gets a slightly larger, 16.2-inch display with a resolution of 3456 x 2234 pixels (254 PPI)
The largest Apple laptop is 16.8mm thick and weighs 4.7 pounds (2.13kg).
Like the 14-inch model, the 16-inch MacBook Pro can be configured with either an M1 Pro or M1 Max processor. Battery life is rated at up to 21 hours of video playback.
3rd generation AirPods with Spatial Audio
There is no true wireless earbud lineup that is more popular than Apple’s AirPods. The third generation of AirPods feature support for spatial audio. They also get a physical re-design with sweat and water resistance, a new contour design, and drivers with adaptive EQ. Battery life is increased to six hours on a charge.
Other notable announcements
Apple also announced that Apple Music is getting an upgrade, with Siri-compatible play lists.
The streaming music service also gets a new, voice-only tier (coming to Canada later this fall) for half the price of a standard Individual plan.
HomePod Mini will available in new colours in addition to the existing Space Grey and White, making Apple’s Siri-powered streaming music streaming even more decor-friendly
MacBook Pro availability and pricing
Apple says the new M1 Pro and M1 Max-powered MacBook Pro models will begin shipping next week, along with the new AirPods. MacBook Pro pricing will vary depending on display size and configuration. You’ll be able to find the new MacBook Pros and new third generation AirPods at Best Buy once they’re released, along with the full range of Apple products from the Apple TV to the Apple Watch.