New MacBook Air, iPad Pro, Mac Mini, and everything else from Apple’s 2018 fall hardware announcement
Still no mention of the HomePod.
The new iPhones got their time to shine a few months ago, but now Apple is back to announce more products before the close of 2018. We’ll be updating this page with new products and information so check back until the event is over at around noon ET.
Starting with the MacBooks
The event is under way and Apple says 51 percent of Mac buyers are new to the platform and 76 percent are in China. Apple says it has sold 100 million Macs, which is a lot.
Cook is extolling the virtues of the MacBook Air, calling it “the most beloved notebook ever,” which is a strong-but-accurate statement. Now, it’s time for a new one. It will have a Retina display and come in various colors.
The new machines have been “completely redesigned.” The screen how has 4 million total pixels and more colors. The screen now has edge-to-edge glass instead of that monstrous silver bezel like the old model.
The new Air also has TouchID so you can log in with your fingerprint. Some rumors expected FaceID, but that didn’t come to fruition. The TouchID sensor is right in the keyboard and is tied to the T2 security chip, which also prevents software injections during the boot process.
The keyboard is the most current generation Apple keyboard with the butterfly mechanism. The touchpad also got an upgrade—it’s not a “diving board” style anymore that only clicks on one side. Now, it’s a Force Touch design like the MacBook Pro.
If you were hoping to avoid dongles in the new MacBook Air, that dream is dead. You get these USB-C ports to charge and attach accessories. There are three total ports, which is a decided upgrade from the one on the regular MacBook.
You can, however, now go up to 1.5 TB of storage and 16 GB of RAM. The battery now provides 13 hours of iTunes movie playback, keeping with the tradition of the long battery life in the previous MacBook Air.
The new version is also smaller and thinner. It has 17 percent less volume and is very slightly thinner at the skinny end. The new Air weighs 2.75 pounds, which is down from just under 3 pounds in the previous model.
Apple says it developed a whole new alloy to make the aluminum cases on its MacBook Air computers. It’s made from 100 percent recycled aluminum.
iPads ($799 to start for the 11-inch screen, $999 to start for the 12.9-inch screen)
Apple says it has sold 400 million total iPads. It has also outsold every other computer maker, with HP in second place.
The new iPad Pro has a nearly edge-to-edge screen that’s 11-inches on the diagonal instead of 10.5-inches despite staying the same size. The new larger iPad Pro still has a 12.9-inch screen, but the iPad itself is considerably smaller. The bigger model is almost exactly the same size as a standard sheet of paper.
Both iPad Pros are a full millimeter thinner than their predecessors, checking in at 5.9mm total.
One of the biggest new additions is FaceID, which Apple says works no matter what orientation it’s in or whether it’s attached to a keyboard.
The processor inside is the A12X Bionic, which Apple says makes the new iPad faster and more efficient than its predecessor. It has 8 cores, four for performance and four for efficiency. Apple says the iPad Pro is faster than 92 percent of the portable PCs shipped in the past year.
The graphics chip has 7 cores and makes the new Pro 1,000x faster than the original iPad.
The new storage controller allows for up to 1TB of storage.
The Lightning port is gone now and the iPad connects via USB-C. That’s a big deal. It lets you attach it to a display and use it as a computer, and even charge a phone using the iPad’s internal battery.
The new Pencil charges wirelessly and attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro itself. That’s a HUGE upgrade. The Pencil itself is touch-sensitive so you can tap on it to do things like switch modes or brushes.
Apple’s small desktop computer looks a lot like a big Apple TV box. It has a Space Grey case now.
The new Mac Minis are powered with “8th generation” processors with four or six cores, which makes them roughly five-times faster than the previous models. It maxes out at 64GB of memory and uses all-flash storage. There are lots of ports on the back including three Thunderbolt (USB-C) ports, two USB-A ports, and an HDMI.
Apple has been trying to make its stores more into “city squares” where people go and hang out even when they’re not buying anything. Today, Apple announced that it’s expanding its Sessions program, which includes classes on things like drawing, video editing, and photography. Looking forward to the 2020 announcement of Apple cooking classes.
We won’t know for sure what the company has for us until Tim Cook and his pals take the stage, but there are some rumors about what we might see. Here’s a quick rundown of what we expect.
We will finally get a redesigned laptop to replace or refresh the MacBook and MacBook Air lines. The stakes are high with that product.
The new iPad will show up with no home button, very little bezel, and possibly USB-C connectivity instead of the typical Lightning adapter.
A consumer Mac Mini could show up as a companion to the enterprise-specific Mac Mini was got earlier this year.
We will be watching the live stream of the event right here and updating this page with new products and announcements as well as some sarcastic jokes because it wouldn’t be a semi-live blog without them.