Just over a month after Apple's first big fall hardware event, where it announced the iPhone 13 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 7, and two new iPads, the Cupertino tech giant has just held another one. This second hardware event — titled "Unleashed" — was dedicated primarily to Apple's new and improved line of MacBook Pros and the hardware that drives them, as well as new third-generation AirPods (and some new ways to interact with Apple Music).
Here's what you need to know.
There are brand-new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros
Apple's biggest announcement: two new redesigned MacBook Pros that take advantage of the company's new M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets (see below) and have larger, more edge-to-edge displays, complemented by bezels that are 60 percent thinner than before. Each display is Liquid Retina XDR and supports ProMotion (120Hz refresh rate), both firsts for a Mac.
There are a few other big differences with the new Pros. They lose the controversial Touch Bar and replace it with a row of physical function keys. They have a lot more port options (meaning you likely won't need any adaptor); there's a new MagSafe charging port, two USB-C ports, a HDMI port, a SD card slot and a 3.5mm jack that supports high-impedance headphones. Apple also improved the speaker systems and microphones, and gave the new Pros a 1080p webcam (but there's now also an iPhone-esque notch on the display).
The 14-inch Pro starts at $1,999 and the 16-inch Pro starts at $2,499. They come in either space gray or silver. Both are available for preorder now and will ship next week.
Meet the 3rd-Generation AirPods
Apple also announced its third-generation AirPods at the event. They look pretty identical to the existing AirPods Pro and have some of the same features, including support for spatial audio with dynamic head tracking and adaptive EQ, but lack the active noise-cancellation. They do have the best battery life of any AirPods to date, at six hours per earbud. And they have a built-in magnet so they work better with a MagSafe charger (although this won't impact the charging speed). These third-generation cost cost $179, are available for preorder now — and will ship next week.
In addition, Apple has reduced the price of the second-generation AirPods from $159 to $129.
New M1 Pro and M1 Max chips pack crazy power
Apple also revealed the next-generation version of its M1 chipset that powers its new super-strong computers. There are actually two options: the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. Both new chipsets are significantly more powerful than the previous M1 chipset: the M1 Pro has a 70% percent faster CPU, 2x faster GPU and supports up to 32GB of RAM; the M1 Max adds to that by having twice memory, twice as fast GPU and supporting twice as much RAM (up to 64GB).
With these new powerful chipsets, the new Pros will be able to support up to four external monitors.
The HomePod Mini comes in new colors
Apple announced that its $99 smart speaker, the HomePod Mini, will be available in three new colors — orange, blue and yellow — on top of the existing white and space gray colorways. These new HomePod Minis in new colorways will be available to order starting in November.
There's a new Apple Music subscription tier called the "Voice Plan"
Finally, Apple used the event to reveals the most affordable subscription plan to its Apple Music streaming service yet. It's called the "Voice Plan" and costs just $4.99/month, which is half the price of the previous version subscription. But there's a catch: the Voice Plan only works with Siri voice commands — you can't open the app to search for music — and it's really optimized for homes with multiple HomePod or HomePod mini speakers.