All the Latest Announcements from Apple
By Sadira Sittampalam
Apple’s latest event had a lot of exciting announcements for its AirPod 3, a Macbook Pro in the M series, an all new “Voice” subscription for Apple Music which is set to compete with the other streaming music platforms and some new colours for the HomePod Mini. In this article I will highlight all the new features that have been added to these products and how they compare to old Apple products and how they will compete against Apple’s competitors.
The AirPod 3 has been redesigned to look more like the AirPod Pro, with the ends being much shorter and the earpiece slightly adjusted. As opposed to the older models of the AirPod, this version will come with spatial audio support and water resistance. This means that these AirPods will be a good option for people who exercise and work out outdoors, for a much cheaper price point than the AirPod Pro.
What exactly is spatial audio though? Well it is essentially like virtual surround sound, making the audio feel a lot more dynamic and 3d - almost like you are in a movie theatre. If you have ever listened to 8D music videos on youtube, it is similar to that experience. The AirPods 3 will also have adaptive equaliser (EQ), which essentially adjusts the audio based on the shape of your ear. This feature used to be only available for the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.
The AirPods 3 should also have a much longer battery life, with Apple citing that it will last for up to six hours on a single charge. However, this number goes down to five hours if you have spatial audio enabled. When it comes to talk time, they will last for a good four hours and the charging case should also supply up to 30 hours of charge. Comparing this to the AirPods Pro, they last upto only 4 and a half hours on a single charge (five if you disable noise cancellation and transparency mode). Even the case is only said to last for 24 hours of charge. The third generation Air Pods also come with the same H1 chip as the AirPods Pro which means that they probably have similar capabilities when it comes to connecting to devices.
Overall, the AirPods 3 seem to add a lot of value to the standard AirPod series at a reasonable price point. However, the AirPods Pro are still superior in terms of a lot of specifications.
MacBook Pro (2021)
One of the biggest reasons that this Apple event is so exciting is because Apple is finally upgrading the MacBook Pro in a big way. The new laptops will come in a 16 inch model but also a 14 inch. It will also be equipped with the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. The M1 Max will give the new MacBook a sizeable improvement in graphics performance - upto 4 times its predecessor! Meanwhile, the M1 Pro chip will be around 2.5 times better than its predecessor. These chips use a new type of silicon, which is reported to make the MacBook a lot more power-efficient. Apple doesn’t often talk about its battery, but it has made claims that the battery will last a lot longer (more than twice the usual amount) in a lot of tasks including video editing.
There will also be a new Mini-LED backlight based display which is the same display as the 2021 iPad Pro. This screen has 1,000 nits of sustained brightness that allows for much more vivid colours. It also benefits from supporting HDR at a higher brightness as well as better local dimming. Apple has added in adaptive refresh rate technology which goes all the way up to 120Hz refresh rates.
Additionally, they are also including a six-speaker sound that will also include spatial audio. Even their in-built mics will have studio-quality mics. The webcam will also record in 1080p, which will support video conferencing, with Apple also improving the quality to support low light performance up to twice its predecessor. It seems that from these improvements, Apple is really trying to cater to the new content-creation generation, where everything from the videoing to the editing can be done on the MacBook itself.
One of the most controversial features of the old MacBooks was the inclusion of the Touch Bar. In this new MacBook, Apple has finally decided to get rid of the Touch Bar while also adding a number of additional connection options which includes HDMI, three Thunderbolt 4 ports, MagSafe and an SD card slot. The MagSafe is the magnetic charger which can now charge up to 50 per cent in 30 minutes. However, as with all MacBooks, the price does offer a double take. The MacBook Pro starts at $1,999 for the 14 inch model, while the 16 inch model starts at $2,499.
This update isn’t very significant as Apple didn’t actually change anything other than the colours. They introduced some fun colours into the mix with blue, yellow and orange to compete with the rather plain space gray and white.
Apple Music Voice Plan
The Apple Music Voice Plan is a new type of subscription for Apple Music which has been designed around the power of Siri. This new subscription is being offered at a rate of $5 a month, which is being offered at this rate to compete with the other music streaming platforms. However, this means that the only way you can access music is through Siri.
But what does that mean exactly? Well, by using Siri as the only way you can access Apple Music, it means that you can only listen to music through Apple’s own devices. So, if you have any devices that are made by Apple’s competitors, they won’t be able to play Apple Music. The Voice Plan also doesn’t let you access any music videos or lyrics. It also doesn’t provide high quality sound formats such as lossless or spatial audio. If you want to access those features, you would have to subscribe to Apple Music’s $10 a month individual plan or its $15 family plan, which is considerably pricier. This service is expected to come out later this year.
Apple Music and Spotify have both been the top music streaming services in recent years, however, Spotify has been slowly gaining more and more subscribers than Apple Music over the last few years, most likely due to its competitive prices.