We did one of these threads for Google’s Pixel 3 Event and it was well-received. I figured it would also make sense to do it for Apple’s October Event. If you’d like to watch the presentation, it’s available on Apple’s website.
Apple updated the Macbook Air, Mac Mini and iPad Pro at this event. Here are my hot takes on all three.
Macbook Air: One of the best computers of all-time gets an update
The Macbook Air is up there with the 2015 Macbook Pro as some of the best laptops ever made. It was the first Apple laptop to implement SSD and felt blazing fast because of it.
The model has aged incredibly well. As a matter of fact, this post is being written on my Mid-2012 Macbook Air. The keyboard is great and for my day-to-day tasks it still works well. However, it can only run a limited number of games. Also, retina screens have ruined me so I can see every pixel.
What’s great is Apple has largely kept what is great about the computer intact. It has the same wedge design that makes it easy to fit in a backpack. It has an updated processor, new retina display, more battery life and is 17 percent lighter than the previous model.
The new Macbook Air uses Apple’s 2018 butterfly keyboard, which has a bit more travel (or so they say) than the 2017 model and is a lot more reliable. I’m indifferent, but know some will be extra critical. Also, there is no TouchBar model—thank goodness!
What about ports? The MagSafe, SD card, Thunderbolt 2 port and traditional USB ports are gone. The 2018 model contains 2 USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports and a headphone jack. This is the same configuration as the low-end Macbook Pros. While I think the loss of ports in a professional lineup is a shame, it is a fair adjustment for the mid-range models.
Despite how good I think this update is, I am confused about Apple’s positioning here. I fully expected the Macbook lineup to simply replace the Air. There seems little reason to purchase a Macbook. Sure the screen is about an inch smaller, but it cost more and is slower than the new air.
There’s also a ton of similarities when comparing the new Air to the low-end Macbook Pro. Perhaps you’re trading a bit of graphics power and screen brightness for less weight and more battery power. I’d be curious to see a comparison.
OK, final thought—I can see this Macbook Air aging just as well or better than the previous generation Macbook Air. As dissapointed as I was with the updated Macbook Pro, Apple did a solid job with the new Air!
Mac Mini makes a comeback
Apple updated it’s Mac Mini for the first time since 2014. The new computer comes in Space Gray and has 4-and 6-core configurations. It can be customized to have up to 64GB RAM and up to 2TB storage. The new Mac Mini also includes Apple’s T2 chip for additional security.
What’s not to like here? The Mac Mini is a computer many love. There is no Mini trashcan or radical redesign. Apple took what was working and updated the specs.
Also, I love this product shot of the Mini internals with the T2 chip.
Perhaps the only deterrent is that the new Mini did receive a price bump. It now starts at $799 instead of $499. Even with that, it seems to be well-received. It’s a versatile, affordable Mac computer.
iPad Pro loses Touch ID, gets a spec bump
Like many, my main interest in this event was around the new iPad Pro. Many expected them to have reduced bezels and do away with the home button and Touch ID in favor of a larger screen and Face ID. They did just that.
I’m not sure how I feel about Face ID. The conspiracy theorist in me says it is feeding some sort of government database so they can identify people in airports. I’m sure most will love the feature though.
The iPad pro gets a new processor—the A12X Bionic and Next-Generation Neural Engine. One thing that stuck out to me was the claim that this chip is more powerful than 90 percent of laptops sold last year.
That’s a really incredible claim. If true, it:
- Throws a ton of shade at Intel whose current generation i7 lineup is considered the top of the line for most laptops.
- Makes me wonder if we’ll see these processors replace Intel in Macs sometime in the near future.
- Seems like an incredible value considering the base cost of the iPad Pro is $799.
But does a tablet really need that kind of power? Maybe for AutoDESK and AutoCAD? It certainly doesn’t seem that mobile games require that kind of power. The nature of the App Store itself dissuades a lot of AAA titles from appearing on iOS.
- There’s a new Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) for $129
- There’s a new Folio Keyboard for $179
- The iPad Pro now has a USB-C connector
I rarely say this, but I am disappointed that the iPad Pro is not smaller or lighter than the previous models. I’ve realized that the iPad Mini is probably dead and want to replace my iPad Mini 2.
I was hoping that the new iPad Pro would be smaller and lighter and could replace my Mini. Unfortunately not. It is slightly taller and narrower than the previous one and weighs 1.03 lbs. It’s almost the exact same size and weight as the 9.7-inch iPad.
While it seems like a device with amazing potential. I don’t think I’ll be purchasing a new iPad Pro.
Unrelated to the product itself, but I strongly dislike how scrolling vertically on the iPad Pro product page forces the user to scroll horizontally.