What did Apple just show us?

Two events in the space of so many months does beg the question, what could Apple have to show us? The second event in the later part of the year usually focuses on the Mac and this year that was the MacBook Pro.

 Biggest Announcement: The new MacBook Pro

An image of the 2021 MacBook Pro 14" and the MacBook Pro 16"

The MacBook Pro has been a mobile powerhouse for coders and design-centric users for decades. But, is this the case in 2021 as it may have been in 2010? The most recent MacBook Pro was released around 2017 and sure there have been updates, but it seems Apple has been somewhat indecisive over its portable device lineup. How much does the rise of Microsoft’s Surface portfolio have to do with this? Where does the Macbook, Air, Pro, or iPad Pro sit, and has Apple given us a hint of what’s to come with the new MacBook Pro?

The M1 Pro and M1 Max

An image Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

Firstly, I like the fact Apple has started to manufacture their own CPUs, the M1 chip has been fantastic for the previous MacBook, and the newly released M1 Pro and Max versions look to produce 5x the performance of the last MacBook Pro. In addition to the new chips, Apple has added the traditional port set up which sees the return of the SDXC card slot, HDMI port, 3.5mm headphone jack, and the MagSafe 3 port for charging.  Apple has left in three USB‑C ports (although Apple likes to call them Thunderbolt 4) which can be used for charging as well as linking up external devices – #donglelife is dead and I like that a lot.

MacBook Pro Performance Improvements

An image of two Apple MacBook Pros in space gray and silver.

The casing of the MacBook is similar to early 2012, it’s more rounded and from afar with the addition of the ports could look like a MacBook Pro of old. It might look that way but the performance will be staggeringly different. We’re talking about some big numbers here:

  • 21 hours of battery life – that’s equates to 17 hours of constant video playback if you like…

  • MagSafe 3 port that enables a new fast-charging feature providing a 50 percent charge within 30 minutes.

  • 32-Core GPU – This is the first time we’ve seen 32 core GPU in a laptop, yes the first time which is something Apple only did when Steve Job’s was at the helm.

  • MacBooks is capable of moving 50% more air at lower fan speeds. During testing, Apple suggests the fan’s and cooling system is exponentially better now they’re using M1 chips.

  • The 14-inch MacBook Pro has a resolution of 3024-by-1964 at 254 pixels per inch, and the 16-inch model has a resolution of 3456-by-2234 at 254 pixels per inch.

  • Faster SSD drives mean 7.4GB/s.

  • 1080P webcam means you’ll need to look sharper for those Teams meetings too.

  • Apple may have got their bet on iPhone wireless music listening correct but their bet on USB-C and #donglelife they didn’t. Most pros would sacrifice the thickness and weight for adaptability and performance. Apple has listened to their pro network and made a few u-turns here.

Is the MacBook Pro here to stay?

An image of two iPad Pros in colours space gray and white.

The Macbook, Macbook Air, and Pro we’re getting too similar, especially in a world where an Ipad Pro could outrun a lot of laptops. The shift back to a high-performance machine whilst delivering the best usability was key. Our guess is that the Macbook Pro is here to stay but the Ipad could see the end to the Macbook or the Air, it’s hard to see a world where you see much difference in these.

What else was announced at Apple 'Unleashed'?

AirPods (3rd generation)

  • The new HD quality AirPods (3rd generation) look incredibly slick and come with spatial audio, a longer battery life, adaptive EQ, wind noise minimising, pinch sensor, and sweat/rain resistance.

HomePod Minis

  • The HomePod minis have also been updated in appearance with 3 new colour options (orange, blue, and yellow) as well as the standard black and white.