Apple has announced hardware updates for the MacBook Air and iPad Pro, both of which can be ordered starting today direct from Apple.
It’s not often we see Apple lower its prices, but for the new MacBook Air it’s done exactly that. Prices start $100 lower at $999 for the 13-inch laptop, which gets your a 1.1GHz dual-core Core i3 processors, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Pay $1,299, and that configuration is upgraded to a 1.1GHz Core i5 and a 512GB SSD. Upgrading to a Core i7 and 16GB of RAM pushes the price up to $1,649.
Apple claims the new MacBook Air delivers up to twice the CPU performance and 80 percent more GPU performance, while also offering 25 percent more volume, twice the bass output, a three microphone array, FaceTime HD camera, a new Magic Keyboard, T2 Security Chip, Touch ID, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and it runs macOS Catalina out the box. Battery life is rated at up to 12 hours.
As for the new iPad Pro, Apple is claiming it’s now faster than most Windows PC laptops thanks to its use of the A12Z 64-bit chip with eight-core GPU and embedded M12 coprocessor. Features include an 11-inch and 12-inch edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display with ProMotion for a 120Hz screen refresh, 12MP Wide and 10MP Ultra Wide cameras, five “studio-quality” microphones, four automatically orientation-adjusting speakers, and a LiDAR scanner.
The scanner exists to offer owners “a whole new class of AR experience” as it’s able to measure “the distance to surrounding objects up to 5 meters away, works both indoors and outdoors, and operates at the photon level at nano-second speeds.” It also allows the Measure app to be much more accurate.
One other feature we’ve all been hearing about has also been confirmed: Apple added trackpad support to iPad for the first time. This will impact all of Apple’s iPad apps, including Safari, Photos, Notes, and the iWork suite to name but a few. There’s also a new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, which includes a backlit keyboard and trackpad, as well as a “smooth angle adjustment.” Even though the new iPad Pro is available to order today, we’ll be kept waiting for the keyboard until May.
The 11-inch iPad Pro is priced from $799, while the larger 12.9-inch model is $999. Both base models include 128GB of storage.
Finally, Apple announced that the Mac mini has been made better value for money by doubling the amount of storage it ships with. The $799 model now includes 256GB of storage, while the $1,099 model increases to 512GB.