Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) just wrapped up its second big event of the fall. This first was September’s annual iPhone event, where the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR were unveiled. However, the company still had plenty of hardware left to show off. And it did so today in New York, in a showcase focused on creativity. Here’s everything you need to know about the final Apple event of 2018.
New iPad Pro With Face ID, USB-C
Apple has been expected to make a big move with its iPad Pro line. The company’s prosumer tablets are facing a new Surface Pro 6 from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). And earlier this month, Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google took the wraps off the new Pixel Slate. Google’s 12.3-inch tablet has an optional keyboard cover, runs Chrome plus Android apps, and is aimed squarely at the iPad Pro.
Today Apple responded.
Like the iPhone, the new iPad Pro loses the Home button. As a result, it gets smaller bezels, but they’re still big enough that no notch is needed for its TrueDepth camera and Face ID support (in both landscape and portrait). It uses the same Liquid Retina Display technology as the iPhone XR. Power is provided by Apple’s A12X Bionic chip that the company claims makes the new iPad Pro fast than 92% of all portable PCs. Apple is pushing the iPad Pro as having graphics capabilities that rivals game consoles. Showing off its power for creative professionals, Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) demonstrated Photoshop running on the new iPad Pro, as well as Project Arrow — the company’s new augmented reality app.
In an iPad first, the new iPad Pro ditches Apple’s proprietary Lightning port for USB-C, including they ability to output video to a 5K display and support for a wider range of accessories.
The previous 10.5-inch model remains the same total size but gets an 11-inch display. The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro has the same size display as the previous model, but the total size shrinks to “basically the same size as an 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper” while getting 15% thinner.
Also announced was second generation Apple Pencil stylus. It attaches to the new iPad Pro magnetically and automatically recharges wirelessly. A new Smart Keyboard Foleo was also introduced and also attaches magnetically.
The new iPad Pro will be available for pre-order today (shipping next week), with prices starting at $799 for the 11-inch model and $999 for the 12.9-inch model. The current 10.5-inch iPad Pro will remain for sale, at $649.
Apple’s Mac sales have been slumping and a big part of that is the company’s apparent lack of attention to its entry-level models. The MacBook Air and Mac Mini — the most affordable Apple laptop and desktop, respectively — were ancient, with specs that were years out of date.
At today’s Apple event, the company finally took the wraps off modern replacements.
Describing the MacBook Air as “the most beloved notebook ever,” Tim Cook took the wraps off its new MacBook Air. The replacement to Apple’s entry-level laptop finally gets a high resolution, 13.3-inch Retina display. Bezels are 50% smaller, and new color options for the 100% recycled aluminum case include Gold. The processor is an 8th-generation Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Core i5. RAM now maxes out at 16GB and storage at 1.5TB. It also features two USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) ports, though it loses native support for legacy USB devices and ditches its SD card slot. Apple added Touch ID support in the keyboard and went with a bigger, Force Touch trackpad. Battery life on Wifi remains at 12 hours (13 hours of watching video).
The new MacBook Air is 17% smaller and a quarter-pound lighter, but its price is going up, starting at $1,199 (versus $999 for the older model).
The new Mac Mini looks the same as before (other than a Space Gray finish), but now using 8th generation Intel desktop CPUs with quad-core and six-core options. Apple says it is up to five times faster. RAM capacity increases to 64GB, solid state storage maxes out at 2TB and the new Mac Mini gets a ton of ports: four USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), a pair of legacy USB 3.1 ports, HDMI and Ethernet. The new Mac Mini is stackable, and starts at $799 (previously $499).
The new Macs are available for pre-order today, and in stores starting November 7.
With the new iPad Pro models, new Macs and the recently released new iPhones, Apple is going into the holiday sales season with a strong new product lineup. Now it’s a waiting game to see if the upgrades are enough to fend off rivals — and to find out if price hikes for the new entry level Macs are going to scare off budget-conscious shoppers.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.