On Tuesday Apple held another autumn event, updating iPads, MacBook Air, Mac mini and more. While no brand new devices were introduced, the upgrades to these existing devices were significant.
Apple took this opportunity to bring more power and speed to the world of computing, often by bringing us smaller hardware. These upgrades give these devices improved performance and productivity.
All of the items Apple introduced can be pre-ordered now and will be available for sale on November 7.
Apple introduced two new iPad Pro models that bring some similarities from the iPhone X models.These iPad Pros have thinner bezels and no home button, making the most of the display. Like the iPhone XR, the iPad Pro comes with an edge-to-edge LCD Liquid Retina display.
These iPad Pro models also have FaceID that you can use in any direction, portrait, landscape and upside down. FaceID lets you unlock the iPad, log into third-party apps and pay for items with ApplePay just by looking at the screen.
This video from Apple shows some of the improvements made to the new iPad Pro models:
The as with the previous iPad Pro models the new iPad Pro comes in two sizes. The smaller iPad Pro is now 11 in (28 cm), instead of the 10.5 in (26.7 cm) size. Apple expanded the display by removing most of the bezel, but kept the external size of the iPad Pro the same as the previous model (so cases for the previous model may fit this new iPad Pro).
The larger iPad Pro keeps its 12.9 in (32.8 cm) display, but shrinks the case to make it thinner and lighter. Both models measure 5.9 mm thin, with weights of 1.03 pounds (468 grams) for the smaller Pro and 1.4 pounds (633 grams) for the larger one.
Improved portability doesn’t mean the iPad Pro is less powerful. In fact, the new iPad Pro has a new A12X Bionic chip with 10 billion transistors and is faster than 92% of all existing PC computers, according to Apple. The new iPad Pros have 1000x faster graphics performance and can perform 5 trillion operations per second.
Apple has eliminated the iPad Pro’s home button. Using these iPad Pros is similar to using the iPhone X models without a home button — swipe gestures are the same to open and close apps, and switch between apps. Swipe an app icon up and to the right to open a second app in split-screen mode.
The new iPad Pros use a USB-C connector instead of a lightning cable. An advantage is that you can charge your iPhone from the new iPad Pros as charging goes both in and out of the USB-C port. The disadvantage is that you’ll need different charging cables for your iPad Pro and your iPhone (until next year when Apple inevitably will introduce iPhones that come with a USB-C connector).
If you’re looking for a headphone jack on the new iPad Pros, well you’ll be disappointed because they don’t have one. And forget about using the dongle that connects headphone cables to your iPhone, they won’t work with the new iPad Pros because they don’t have a lightning connector. You’ll need to get some Bluetooth earbuds to listen cable-free.
The power of the new iPad Pros brings new possibilities for Augmented Reality (AR) apps. Two app companies demonstrated their apps on the new iPad Pro. 2K Games demonstrated a live-action NBA 2K game with details down to the pinholes in the players’ jerseys.
Adobe demonstrated a full-fledged version of Photoshop on the iPad, by editing a 3 GB image file that would be 9 feet (2.74 m) if printed. They then used an app called Arrow to add AR butterflies that flew around the 3D image.
Both Adobe Photoshop and Arrow for the iPad are coming to the App Store in 2019.
Apple also introduced updated accessories for the iPad Pros. A new Smart Keyboard Folio attaches to the iPad Pro and lets the screen be viewed at two different angles.
A new Apple Pencil attaches to the new iPad Pro models with magnets. The Pencil pairs with the iPad wirelessly and charges while it’s attached. Double-tapping the new Pencil performs functions in apps. In Photoshop, double-tapping the pencil zooms in and out of the image. In Notes double-tapping changes your writing instrument.
The new iPad Pro is available in silver or Space Gray with storage of 64 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB. Prices begin at $799 for Wi-Fi only and $949 for Wi-Fi plus cellular.
The 2nd generation Apple Pencil works only with the new iPad Pro models and is available for $129. The Smart Keyboard is available for $179 for the smaller iPad Pro and $199 for the larger iPad Pro.
A new MacBook Air was introduced, for the first time in many years. This video from Apple demonstrates the new features of the new MacBook Air:
The new MacBook Air retains its wedge shape but is lighter and thinner. This new model has 17% less volume and is 15.6 mm thinner than previous Air. At 2.75 lbs (1.25 kg), the new MacBook Air is lighter than the previous model which was 3 lbs (1.36 kg).
Like the new iPad Pros, the MacBook Air put its bezels on a diet for more screen space. The bezels have been reduced by 50%, increasing the screen size to 13.3 in (33.8 cm).
The new MacBook Air display isn’t just bigger, it’s better too with quadruple the number of pixels 4 million, with 48% more color. For the first time, the MacBook Air comes with a Retina display for sharper images and text.
The MacBook Air doesn’t have the Touch Bar of the more recent MacBook Pro models, but it does have TouchID so you can use your fingerprint to unlock the computer, pay with ApplePay, and enter your password for third-party apps.
The keyboard of the new MacBook Air has butterfly design that is four times as stable as the previous MacBook Air keyboard. The keyboard has an ambient light sensor that adjusts the brightness of the keyboard backlighting based on the light in the room.
The trackpad is 20% larger than the previous model and uses Force Touch so the response will be the same no matter where you tap on the trackpad.
Battery life while surfing the Web is 12 hours. You can watch iTunes movies for 13 hours on the new MacBook Air, according to Apple. (I’m not sure I could actually watch movies for 13 hours straight, but it’s nice to know that if I could do that, I would be able to do it on the new Air).
The new Air comes with two USB-C ports and a headphone jack. It’s available in Space Gray, silver or gold, with up to 16 GB of memory and up to 1.5 TB of storage.
The entry-level MacBook Air comes with 8 GB of memory and 128 GB of storage for $1199.
Apple’s Mac mini computer has been updated to offer much more powerful computing. With quad or 6-core processors, the Mac mini has up to five times faster performance than previous models.
This video from Apple introduces the new Mac mini:
The Mac mini comes with plenty of ports so you can add your own monitor, keyboard mouse and other accessories. If you like to use multiple monitors, you’ll be delighted to know that the mini offers support for up to three 4K displays, or one 5K display and one 4K display.
You can every connect multiple minis for more powerful computing. Apple showed the example of one data center that strung 8000 Mac minis together.
The Mac mini comes in Space Gray with 8 GB of memory, with options up to 64 GB of memory. Storage begins at 128 GB and goes up to 2 TB. Prices start at $799.
Today at Apple
Apple is expanding its free classes at its retail stores with the Today at Apple program. Apple offers over 18,000 classes each week at its retail locations around the world. You can take classes on photography, music, art, design, how to use your Apple products, and more.
In addition to classes, Today at Apple also offers fun programs such as Photo Walks, Sketch Walks and Music Labs.
Search under Sessions in the Apple Store app on your iPhone or iPad for Today at Apple classes near you. You can also find sessions by heading to the Today at Apple at the Apple Store website.
Are you excited by the announcements from Apple? Are you enticed by any of the new products introduced by Apple? Have you taken any classes in the Today at Apple program?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!