When Apple released the M1 processor, they first brought it to the Mac Mini, the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Pro. We knew this was just the first step in a new era of Apple computing. At today’s event, they introduced new products, including a new iMac and new iPad Pros. They, too, have the M1 processor, which effectively ushers in a new era for Apple and computing.
Tim Cook kicked off the Apple event by excitedly stating, “What a great day of announcements.” He then pulled the curtain to reveal that the new hardware included AirTags, a new purple iPhone, Apple TV 4K, iMac, iPad Pro, and more. Stating, “We can’t wait to get these new products into your hands,” he proceeded to dive right in.
Apple formally announced the long-awaited AirTag. AirTags expand the Find My ecosystem and provide a private and secure way to locate various items. AirTags, which will be available in single or four-pack sets, is Apple’s take on the increasingly popular location products.
As Apple notes:
Whether attached to a handbag, keys, backpack, or other items, AirTag taps into the vast, global Find My network and can help locate a lost item, all while keeping location data private and anonymous with end-to-end encryption.
Each round AirTag is a small, lightweight disk. Each features precision-etched polished stainless steel and is IP67 water- and dust-resistant. That means you can put an AirTag pretty much anywhere and not worry about the elements damaging it.
I have a location device connected to my keys, wallet, and several other devices I frequently misplace. I love being able to use these tags to find the objects I misplace. My current product works, but I’ll be moving to AirTags. Why? To put it simply, AirPods. You see, setting up AirTags is the same basic experience as connecting AirPods to your mobile device. To set one, up users simply bring an AirTag close to their iPhone. It will connect immediately connect and, from there, users can assign a unique name to that AirTag. It is quick, simple, and seamless.
But while the setup experience is simple, the technology within the new device promises a more powerful experience than similar products can achieve. They include:
- U1 Chip: Each AirTag is equipped with the Apple-designed U1 chip using Ultra-Wideband technology, enabling Precision Finding5 for iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 users. This advanced technology can more accurately determine the distance and direction to a lost AirTag when it is in range. Precision Finding fuses input from the camera, ARKit, accelerometer, and gyroscope as a user moves. It then will guide them to AirTag using a combination of sound, haptics, and visual feedback.
- Find My Network: If AirTag is separated from its owner and out of Bluetooth range, the Find My network can help track it down. The Find My network is approaching a billion Apple devices. It can detect Bluetooth signals from a lost AirTag and relay the location back to its owner, all in the background, anonymously and privately.
- Lost Mode: Users can also place AirTag into Lost Mode and be notified when it is in range or located by the vast Find My network. If someone finds a lost AirTag, they can tap it using their iPhone or any NFC-capable device and be taken to a website that will display a contact phone number for the owner if they have provided one.
- Security: AirTag is designed from the ground up to keep location data private and secure. No location data or location history is physically stored inside AirTag. Communication with the Find My network is end-to-end encrypted. Only the owner of a device has access to its location data, and no one, including Apple, knows the identity or location of any device that helped find it.
- Even More Security: AirTag is also designed with a set of proactive features that discourage unwanted tracking, an industry first. Bluetooth signal identifiers transmitted by AirTag frequently rotate to prevent unwanted location tracking. iOS devices can also detect an AirTag that isn’t with its owner and notify the user if an unknown AirTag is seen to be traveling with them from place to place over time.
As Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPhone Product Marketing, states,
We’re excited to bring this incredible new capability to iPhone users with the introduction of AirTag, leveraging the vast Find My network, to help them keep track of and find the important items in their lives. With its design, unparalleled finding experience, and built-in privacy and security features, AirTag will provide customers with another way to leverage the power of the Apple ecosystem and enhance the versatility of iPhone.
AirTags will be available beginning Friday, 30 April
Apple TV 4K
The Apple TV has long been described as one of Apple’s “hobbies.” Today, Apple took their hobby to a new level and introduced a new Apple TV 4K. High frame rate HDR with Dolby Vision means an even better picture than ever. But the new Apple TV offers much more than an excellent picture. Apple’s A12 Bionic chip translates to faster graphics performance, video decoding, and audio processing. And the all-new Siri remote (see below) makes it easier than ever to find the content you want.
As Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing explains,
Apple TV 4K is in a category of its own, leveraging a deep integration of Apple hardware, software, and services that delivers a massive upgrade to any TV for the very best cinematic experience. With the A12 Bionic and the all-new Siri Remote, Apple TV 4K lets customers enjoy their favourite shows, movies, and more in the highest quality, with simple and intuitive controls. And of course, Apple TV 4K offers easy access to Apple services, along with thousands of apps on the App Store for even more entertainment options.
The new Apple TV will be available for order on April 30th and will ship sometime in the latter half of Map. It will have an MSRP starting at $179.
All New Siri Remote
The Apple remote is one of the weaker aspects of the current Apple TV. Thankfully, the new Apple TV also introduces a new remote. Made from a single piece of aluminum, it has a touch-enabled click pad with five-way navigation, a power button that controls the TV’s power, and a Siri button that sits along the side in a dedicated location makes it even easier to activate. The outer ring of the clickpad is touch-sensitive and supports gestures that turn it into a jog control for even more control.
The new Siri Remote will have an MSRP of $59 when it ships in the latter part of May; pre-orders will open on April 30th.
I recently purchased an M1 MacBook Air. I cannot believe how fast it is. And while we expected Apple to bring the M1 chip to the iMac today, many of us were surprised when Apple announced an entirely new design for the beautiful all-in-one Apple desktop.
Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, observe:
M1 is a gigantic leap forward for the Mac, and today we’re excited to introduce the all-new iMac, the first Mac designed around the breakthrough M1 chip. With its striking design in seven stunning colors, its immersive 4.5K Retina display, the best camera, mics, and speakers ever in a Mac, and Touch ID, combined with the amazing performance of M1 and the power of macOS Big Sur, the new iMac takes everything people love about iMac to an entirely new level.
Gone are the days when Apple offered one, two, or, at times, three finish options. The new iMacs come in a range of bright colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver. That will be fun in a dorm room, but, at least for me, most of the finishes fall short of the professionalism I try to bring into my workspace.
The new iMac is a complete redesign. In fact, it actually looks like a large version of the iPad Pro when used with Apple’s Magic Keyboard. It is incredibly thin, with a single sheet of glass with a large, colored chin.
By using the M1 chip, Apple was able to reduce the size of the logic board. The new processor architecture also meant they needed just two small fans to keep the machine cool. The result? the new iMac is just 11.5mm thick, and the overall volume is 50% less. At 24″, the new iMac sits right between the current 21″ and 27″ models, but it is only slightly bigger than the current 21″ model. It has a 4.5K True Tone display and much, much more.
The new iMac’s camera bumps up the resolution to 1080p. It works with the company’s new image signal processor that is built into the M1. That means video calls will be better than ever. [You couldn’t get this to market DURING the lockdown when we really needed them, Apple???]
But there’s more. Apple claims the new iMac has the best mic system they have ever put into a Mac. The studio-quality three-microphone array promises clearer calls and voice recordings. Moreover, the mics are located in such a manner as to “reduce feedback from the rest of the system, while directional beamforming allows them to ignore the background noise better and focus on a user’s voice. As a result, conversations are more natural, and recordings are crystal clear.”
The new iMac also has a new six-speaker system. Apple claims it the best sound system they have ever put into a Mac. I believe them but will let them explain the new system in their own words,
[iMac] has two pairs of force-cancelling woofers placed side by side for an impressive bass response, while reducing unintended vibrations. Each pair is balanced with a high-performance tweeter. The result is a six-speaker sound system that produces amassive sound stage with strong, articulate bass and crystal-clear mids and highs. All of these speaker innovations, coupled with advanced algorithms, enable iMac to support spatial audio when video with Dolby Atmos.
On the back, there are four USB-C ports. Two of them are Thunderbolt ports that deliver support for up to a 6K Display.
The new iMac also has a magnetic power cable, and the power adapter now has an ethernet cable for even faster speeds.
All that is amazing, but the real magic happens thanks to the M1 chip. With the M1 chip, the computer will wake up almost immediately, and apps will almost instantly launch. (Think iPad Pro but even faster.) M1 iMacs are up to 85% faster than the previous 21.5″ iMac models and have GPU performance up to 2x faster than the previous model.
A new Magic Keyboard comes in a variety of colors and offers support for Touch ID. The Magic Mouse is also available in colors that match the new all-in-one. The new iMac can be pre-ordered on April 30th and will ship in the latter half of May for a base MSRP of $1299.
M1 iPad Pro
The big surprise for many of us during the Apple event was the announcement of the new iPad Pros. We expected these new tablets to have the speedy Bionic 14X. That would have been a significant leap forward, but Apple shocked us all by putting the M1 chip we’ve seen in Macs into the new iPad Pros. That means faster iPads than ever.
The M1 chip yields a 50% faster CPU than the prior iPad Pro while the 8-core GPU offers 40% faster graphics performance than before. That’s particularly amazing when you realize that the iPad Pro it replaces was already a speed demon.
The new iPad Pro has a ProMotion display, four speakers, and support for the latest gaming controllers. There’s even a new 2TB storage option for those who need that much local storage. Although, to be fair, I’ve actually been purchasing devices with less onboard storage thanks to my growing reliance on cloud storage.)
Other small but impactful changes contribute to the raw power and amazing experience the new iPad Pro will deliver. For example, the new M1 iPad Pro supports Thunderbolt with USB 4 support. That makes it the fastest, most versatile port Apple has ever put into a mobile device. The new port also translates to seeing speeds of up to 4x faster when using a wired connection. There is also support for 5G connectivity. In the U.S., the new iPad Pro will support mmWave 5G, the fastest 5G connectivity currently available in some US markets; outside the US, the iPad Pro will support sub-6GHz 5G.
The M1 iPad Pro is something I would have loved to have this year, as I spent eight to twelve hours on Zoom each day. The new tablet has built-in studio-quality microphones, a LiDAR Scanner, improved HDR, and a better image signal processor. The TrueDepth Camera (selfie camera) is now a 12-megapixel Ultra-Wide camera with a 120-degree field of view. This allows the company to introduce a new feature they are calling “Center Stage.” Center Stage keeps you in frame as you move about and automatically pans, so you stay in frame. This is a huge benefit that will make the new iPad Pro an ideal device for video conferencing.
As expected, the 12.9″ version has an entirely new display that has been given the moniker “Liquid Retina XDR display.” With more than 10,000 LEDs, the new display is brighter and sharper than ever before. (The prior model, no slouch itself, had just 72 LEDs.)
The new iPad Pro is 6.4mm thick and weighs 1.5lbs and; of course, it works with Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard, which, itself, received an update and now comes in white.
The 11″ M1 iPad Pro will start at $799, while the 12.9″ iPad Pro will start at $1,099. Pre-orders will open on April 30, and the device will ship in the latter part of May.
And then there is the new iPhone. Nothing substantial has changed, but your prayers have been answered if you have ever longed for a purple iPhone. Same iPhone, new color… keep moving… nothing to see here.
UPDATE: We have received information on the availability of the new iPad Pro and purple iPhone 12 from AT&T:
- iPad Pro: AT&T customers will be able to order the new iPad Pro, featuring the breakthrough M1 chip and 5G, beginning on Friday, April 30 at 8 a.m. ET.
- iPhone 12 in Purple: AT&T customers will be able to pre-order iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini with 5G in purple on Friday, Apr. 23 at 8 a.m. ET, with availability on April 30 at 8 a.m. ET.
- Purple iPhone 12 & iPhone 12 mini Offer: We’re extending our current offer for the iPhone 12 lineup to the new purple finish. Both new and existing customers can get the new iPhone 12 for up to $700 off with trade-in and new iPhone 12 mini for $0 with trade-in, with a 30-month installment plan on an eligible AT&T unlimited plan.
- iPad Pro Offer: Well-qualified customers can get the new iPad Pro on a 0% APR 30-month installment, with $0 down. After that, pricing is $33.34 per month for the 11 inch model and $43.34 per month for the 12.9 inch model. AT&T makes it easy for you to add the iPad Pro to one of our current Unlimited plans for an additional $20 a month. Plus, you’ll get 5G access included at no extra cost.
- 5G Access: The latest iPad Pros, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini can access AT&T’s nationwide 5G network, as well as ultra-fast 5G+. These devices are also equipped to take advantage of our C-Band spectrum, which we plan to start deploying later this year.
- FirstNet Ready: The latest Apple devices will also be FirstNet Ready, which means first responders can use them to tap into the power of FirstNet – America’s public safety network.