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Apple Reveals New 14″ and 16″ MacBooks, AirPods, And Music Streaming Plan

On Monday, Apple held their “Unleashed” virtual event, and unveiled a number of new and updated products. The belle of the ball was the new MacBook Pro laptops that use M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, which the company couldn’t help but fluster over.

According to Apple, the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips help by providing more CPU and GPU cores, faster graphic processing, increased memory bandwidth and unified memory, and are a major step up from Apple chips.

The MacBooks will come in two screen sizes – 14-inch, which will retail for about $1,999; and 16-inch, which will retail for a hefty $2,499. Those are incredible jumps up from previous versions, such as the MacBook Pro 13″ ($1,299) and the MacBook Air ($999).

The MacBooks see increases in features such as battery life (21 hours, which is disappointingly only up one hour from the MacBook Pro 13″) and graphics. They will also have denser screens, an HDMI port, and an SD card slot – which many are happy to see return. The MacBooks will also utilize a MagSafe magnetic connecter.

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Apple also made several additions to the keyboard. TouchID has a ring that allows for easier unlocking, and the power button will have a fingerprint sensor. Webcam capabilities have also been dialed up a notch, with an 1080p FaceTime camera, far superior to the 13″‘s 720p scopes.

However, those who are prone to drops, beware: the laptops will be heavier than previous versions, with the 14-inch coming in at 3.5 pounds and the 16-inch weighing 4.7 pounds.

Apple’s third-generation AirPods will go for around $179 – $50 more than their second-generation AirPods, but still $70 less than the AirPod Pros. The AirPods (which also utilize MagSafe along with the case) are sweat and water resistant, have greater battery life than prior versions, and possess “spatial audio.”

As NBC News notes, Apple’s add-ons, such as the AirPods, have since become some of the tech titan’s biggest holiday sellers – which could be a solid reason for Apple junkies to pre-order them now in order to avoid any potential shortages.

The AirPods, like the MacBooks, are now available to pre-order and will be made available in-store starting on Oct. 26.

Apple also announced a $4.99 monthly subscription for Apple Music titled “Voice Plan.” That makes it $5 less than either Apple’s regular music subscription plan or Spotify’s subscription cost. However, as with anything cheaper, there are limitations. CNBC reported that users can only access the “Voice Plan” through Siri, and that it doesn’t have spatial audio.

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According to Digital Music News, in a survey that was conducted in Jan. 2021, the most popular streaming platform among all U.S. adult age demographics was YouTube, with Spotify decently behind in second (the only category that possessed a close margin between YouTube and Spotify was adults 18-34).

Meanwhile, Apple Music sat in fifth place among all demographics, while not standing out in any particular bracket, either. Perhaps the lower-cost plan could help them make up some ground in the music streaming industry.

Apple’s $99 HomePod Mini speaker (An Alexa-style device), which was unveiled around this time last year, will now come in new colors – orange, blue, and yellow. The new editions will be made available sometime in November.

Previously, the only colors the HomePod Mini speaker came in were white and dark grey. This continues Apple’s age-old tactic of re-releasing older products in newer colors.

Last year, Apple obliterated Wall Street estimates for their holiday 2020 quarter. They fetched a record total of $111.4 billion, well above the projections of $103.3 billion. That was also up 21% from the same quarter in 2019. Suffice to say, it’s not unreasonable to expect Apple to once again break the bank.