UPDATED with more details: Apple headed to the Big Apple to unveil its latest gadgets in time for the holiday season, unpacking a new generation of skinnier and more capable iPad Pro tablets, and updates to the MacBook Air and Mac mini during a press event in Brooklyn.
Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage to enthusiastic response from the audience at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He notes Apple has always been about creating tools that unleash people’s creativity (a claim Apple is underscoring with its choice of venue).
“At Apple we love how people use our products to create truly wonderful things and put them out into the world. This has been our mission from the very beginning,” Cook said. “We always believed deeply in the power of creativity to change things, to push the human race forward. And it’s such a great honor for us to be a part of what people create every day, all around the world.”
Cook began Apple’s product news with the venerable Mac, which he said has reached a milestone — with an active installed base of 100 million Macs. He unveiled with an update to the MacBook Air, which boasts a new Retina display with four times the resolution of its predecessor (more than 4 million pixels). The new design of the MacBook Air takes the display to the edge of the bezel, with 13.3-inch display.
The new MacBook Air boasts TouchID, a fingerprint sensor built into the keyboard, which allows consumers to unlock the device and make a purchase through Apple Pay with the touch of a finger; an enhanced speaker system 25% louder; an eighth-generation Intel Core i5 processor for more performance,;and two Thunderbolt 3 connectors for charging the device and connecting gadgets.
The laptop is even more portable, with 13% less volume than its predecessor, and it’s 10% thinner. It even shed a quarter of a pound, weighing in at 2.75 pounds. And, it’s greener: the enclosure is made from 100% recycled aluminum. Prices start at $1,199, and it’s available starting November 7.
“Here’s another small but mighty Mac our users have been waiting for, and here it comes,” notes Cook as he introduced a video that highlighting the long-anticipated update to the Mac mini.
The new Mac mini desktop computer comes in space gray, and was touted as an “absolute beast” on the inside, delivering five times faster performance. The new, compact desktop computer comes with more powerful processors (with quad- and 6- core processors), more memory (up to 64 gigabytes), and double the storage capacity (up to 4 terabytes). It boasts more connectors, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports, an HDMI Video connector and support for 10 gigabit Ethernet.
The device, which is getting a test run at Paramount on the set of Rocket Man, is available next week, at prices starting at $799. It’s also available on November 7.
Cook sought to polish the image of the iPad, calling it “a magical pieces of glass that transforms instantly into anything you want it to be.”
Seeking to counter perceptions of waning consumer interest sales (an inference one might reasonably draw from five years of declining sales), Cook notes that Apple has sold 400 million iPads, making it the most popular tablet in the world “by far.”
This year, Apple has sold 44 million iPads — more than the combined sales of rivals’ notebooks, Cook said.
The new generation of the iPad Pro boasts a new, larger Liquid Retina display, which is Apple’s brightest and most color-accurate. The new display pushes to the edge of the tablet, allowing the original 10.5-inch iPad Pro to retain the same dimensions, but boast a larger, 11-inch screen. The larger 12.9-inch iPad Pro will get a bit thinner, shrinking to the size of an 8 1/2- by 11-inch piece of paper, and shaving 25% of its bulk. Both tablets are 5.9 millimeters in thickness.
The tablet now supports FaceID, the same facial recognition technology used on iPhone X to unlock the device, log in to favorite apps and pay for something with ApplePay. The technology is enabled by a new camera, tucked into the bezel, that recognizes the user’s face to securely unlock the device (and create Animojis). FaceID replaces the home button, and uses the same gestures to used on the latest generations of iPhone.
iPad Pro boasts an enhanced A12X bionic processor, which affords a jump in performance and greater energy efficiency (Apple says it’s capable of editing photos or creating 3D models faster). A seven-core enhanced graphics chip delivers the kind of performance that rivals Microsoft’s Xbox One video game console. The tablet also comes with four speaker audio, with woofer and tweeter pairs in every corner, for better sound.
The combination of enhanced chip and camera also supports augmented reality applications.
A second-generation of Apple Pencil attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro; it automatically pairs with the tablet and charges wirelessly. A new folio keyboard (of the variety popularized by Microsoft’s rival Surface Pro) magnetically attaches to the iPad Pro, and can be angled for desktop and lap use.
Prices for the new 11-inch iPad Pro start at $799, and the 12.9-inch starts at $999. They’re available on November 7. The Apple Pencil will set you back more than a No. 2 led pencil (it retails for $129), and the keyboard is available for $179, for the smaller iPad Pro, and $199 for the larger tablet.
Lana Del Ray performed music from her latest album, Norman Fucking Rockwell, which was produced with Jack Antonoff.
“I can’t tell you the name of the upcoming record that me and Jack made,” said Del Ray before she performed, saying Apple asked her not to use profanity onstage. “But the first song is the last song recorded, ‘How to Disappear.’ “
This is the second major product announcement from Apple this fall. The company introduced the new lineup of its iPhones in September. The product lineup is in time for the holiday season, where it will face competition from tech rivals Amazon, Google and Facebook, which already have introduced new hardware.