On Oct 30th, 2018, Apple held a keynote event in New York during which they announced three products:
- A new MacBook Air
- A new Mac Mini
- A new iPad Pro with the second generation of the Apple Pencil and a new Smart Keyboard Folio
Here are my 3 main takeaways:
- Apple has not forgotten the Mac
- Apple is hardening the security of new Macs using technology that they developed for the iPhone and the iPad
- Apple is blurring the lines between laptops and tablets by pushing the limits of their iOS platform
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In this episode, I’ll summarise what Apple has announced on Oct 30th, during their keynote event held in New York.
Then, I’ll share my 3 main takeaways.
Now, let’s get on with the new products that Apple announced on Tuesday October 30th, 2018 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, near New-York.
First off, a brand new and transformed MacBook Air.
Two main improvements compared to the previous generation: a retina screen and a touch ID sensor.
For the screen, in addition to having 4 times the number of pixels, the bezels have been reduced, resulting in a 13.3 inch diagonal, compared to 13 inches before.
And Apple engineers managed to make it 10% thinner and lighter than the previous generation thanks to a redesigned chassis and keyboard.
Talking about the keyboard, it’s the 3rd generation of the butterfly technology introduced in 2015 with the 12-inch MacBook and by redesigning the chassis, Apple was able to fit a larger force-touch trackpad.
Like the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, the new MacBook Air has a Touch ID sensor, but unlike the MacBook Pro with TouchBar, the new MacBook Air, well does not have a TouchBar.
This makes it a unique device, because none of the other two laptops that have physical function keys, the 12-inch MacBook and the 13-inch MacBook Pro without TouchBar, none of those have Touch ID.
Personally, this makes the new MacBook Air very attractive as I don’t really see practical use of the TouchBar and I really like the security benefits from having Touch ID on a computer.
And like the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar, it has 2 (Thunderbolt 3) USB-C ports.
For entrepreneurs and small business owners who don’t need a beefy graphics card for heavy duty photo or video editing, this new MacBook Air is, in my opinion the ideal laptop.
Price-wise, it’s the same as the 12-inch MacBook that only has 1 USB-C port and, at this point has the only advantages of being fanless and slightly smaller and lighter: to be precise 2cm (a little bit less than 1 inch) smaller , 300g (10 onces) lighter and 2.5mm (point 1 inch) thinner.
Next up, is a new Mac Mini.
Well, this one was due for an upgrade as the previous model was released about 4 years ago.
On the outside, it now has a space grey finish to make it look more like a pro machine.
But what makes it enter the pro territory is from the inside: it can boast a six-core cpu and can accommodate up to 64 gigabytes of RAM, 2TB of flash storage and optionally a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port.
According to Apple, this new Mac Mini is 5 times faster than the previous generation, and it can now connect natively to USB-C displays while keeping an HDMI port.
You can hook up three 4K monitors (2 over USB-C and one over HDMI) or two monitors, one of which can be a 5K display over USB-C and the other one a 4K display over HDMI
If you have an existing Mac Mini or an old PC with a 4K or 5K display, then the new Mac Mini will give you the best value and is a great alternative to a 4K or even a 5K iMac, at a much more affordable price.
With 16 gigabytes of ram and a 512 Gigabyte SSD, this new Mac Mini is about 600 euros less expensive than a 21inch 4K iMac and 1000 euros less expensive than a 27inch 5K iMac while nowadays you can find a great 27inch 4K display for between 300 and 600 euros.
This means that the Mac Mini is a viable alternative to the standard iMac, not the iMac Pro or the Mac Pro though, this is why Apple did not call it Mac Mini Pro.
Oh, I forgot to mention, the chassis of both the new MacBook Air and the Mac Mini are made entirely out of recycled aluminium, which cuts in half their carbon footprint.
That’s a nice step towards preserving the limited resources that our earth can provide, and must be a nice cost saving for Apple at the same time.
So, that’s it for the Mac announcements during the event and now let’s switch to iOS.
The third device that Apple announced is a new iPad Pro that inherits a bunch of features of the iPhone 10 series
First off, the home button has been replaced by faceID which, unlike the iPhone, works whatever orientation you hold the new iPad Pro AND there is no notch because of the small but still existing bezel around the screen.
And thanks to this front facing camera system, Animoji’s and Memoji’s have come to the iPad for the very first time.
Second, there are two models, an 11-inch and a 12.9 inch.
The body of the 11 inch has about the same dimensions as the old 10.5 inch but because the bezels are smaller, the screen could get slightly bigger.
For the 12.9 inch screen, it’s the body that gets slightly smaller than the previous generation 12.9 inch iPad Pro, again, thanks to having smaller bezels.
And in addition to the size, the shape of the side is now flat, a bit like the iPhone 5S, if you have one or see what I mean.
What remains to be seen is whether these smaller bezels will be OK and not generate undesirable scrolling or action when manipulating the iPad Pro.
Besides their outside look, these new iPad Pros get a beefed up version of the processor introduced in the new iPhone 10S, 10S Max and 10R, called A12X Bionic.
During the keynote, Apple claimed that, with this new processor architecture, the new iPad Pro is more powerful than 92% of traditional notebooks sold by other computer manufacturer.
That’s a pretty bold statement!
To illustrate this, Adobe was invited on stage to show off the latest version of Photoshop for iOS which they called “the real photoshop” as it’s apparently equivalent to the desktop version of Photoshop.
Now before I talk more about this demo, I have to talk about the last piece of hardware unveiled at this event, the second generation of the Apple Pencil.
It’s not fully circular anymore but it has one flat face that is useful for three reasons:
First, it can magnetically attach itself to the flat side of the iPad Pro and charge wirelessly, a bit like when the AirPods get back into the charging case.
Second, there is no removable cap and no lightning connector anymore.
And third, it supports a tap gesture on the flat face, allowing to quickly switch between the pen tool to the eraser tool in the Notes app for instance.
This means that this new, second generation Apple Pencil is only compatible with the new iPad Pro, which itself does not support the first generation Apple Pencil.
So, if you plan to buy the new iPad Pro, you’ll need to buy a new Apple Pencil too if that’s your thing.
OK, lets go back to the Photoshop demo on the new iPad Pro.
A 3 gigabyte file with I don’t remember how many hundreds of layers was edited live on stage using the pencil.
And using the new tap gesture capability, the lady who did the demo showed how to zoom in and out between the pixel view to the fully zoomed out view, with a double tap on the pencil.
And it was incredibly fast.
The other demo showed on stage was for an extremely realistic basket ball game where each spectator was animated individually and you could even see the sweat on their skin of the basketball players.
It was almost like watching a real basketball game on TV. Really impressive.
Another thing that changed with the new iPad Pro is that the lightning port is gone.
It has been replaced by a USB-C port allowing to connect the iPad Pro to an external display or a digital camera natively over USB-C.
And Apple has even introduced a charge out capability.
In other words, using a USB-C to lightning connector, you can now charge your iPhone from the battery of the new iPad Pro.
No need for a battery pack for a quick refill of your iPhone battery.
Finally, a new keyboard has been unveiled, and it’s called the smart Keyboard Folio, which attaches itself magnetically to the back of the iPad Pro.
Unlike the previous generation of smart keyboard, it provides 2 viewing angles while typing and protects both the front and the back of the iPad Pro
For people who don’t need macOS, this new iPad Pro is a serious option, with a similar price tag as for the 12 inch MacBook or the new MacBook Air, when adding the pencil and the keyboard.
Now here are my 3 main takeaways from the event
- Apple has not forgotten the Mac
- Tim Cook seemed genuinely excited to announce new Mac hardware.
- Let’s not forget that app developers still need a Mac to run Xcode, the official coding environment for both iOS and macOS apps
- Apple is hardening the security of the new Macs using technology that they developed for the iPhone and the iPad.
- Both the new MacBook Air and the Mac Mini have now a proprietary chip, called T2.
- It’s main function is to securely store encryption keys and to make sure that there is no tampering during the boot process.
- This chip already equips the latest generation of MacBook Pros, as well as the iMac Pro and on the latest laptops, the T2 chip can disconnect, at the hardware level, the microphone and the camera when the lid is closed
- Apple is blurring the lines between laptops and tablets by pushing the limits of their iOS platform.
- The new iPad Pro is truly remarkable
- For gamers, it’s clearly entering game console territory
- Creative professionals will enjoy the new Apple pencil combined with desktop-class applications and connectivity
- And everyone else will be able to interact with the iPad Pro, the same way that they do if they have an iPhone 10, 10S, 10S Max or 10R
And you, did you watch the keynote?
What do you think about those new products?
Please let me know by leaving a comment below.
Thank you for listening and if it’s the first time, welcome to the Macpreneur tribe.
I sincerely appreciate you taking the time listening to this episode and until next time, I’m Damien Schreurs, wishing you a great day.
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