Apple is known for its lavish, buzz-filled product announcements that often come from its headquarters in California. But this week, the tech giant tried something new, heading to Brooklyn to take the wraps off its latest gadgets, just in time for the holidays.
“It is so great to be in New York,” exclaimed Apple CEO Tim Cook, kicking off Tuesday’s event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Early buzz – and the choice of venue – suggested a big announcement involving Apple Music or iTunes, but the day was all about devices. Any new Apple product always makes a splash, and Cook wasted little time getting started, unveiling a long-awaited update to the MacBook Air. The biggest change to the company’s signature laptop is the inclusion of a rental display – a feature Apple fans have been clamoring for. Other new features include improved speakers, a larger trackpad, and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. But the change getting the most attention is the increased portability. The MacBook Air is now 10 percent thinner, and it takes up 17 percent less volume in your backpack or briefcase. It also weighs in at quarter-pound less than previous models – just 2.75 pounds. It starts around $1,100, making it the most affordable MacBook with a retina display.
The Mac Mini desktop computer is also getting a facelift, its first since October 2014. The new version ditches the raw aluminum look for a Space Gray finish and a number of new ports – including HDMI 2.0, two USB 3 ports, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, a headphone jack and — for an extra $100 — a 10-gigabit Ethernet port – all for just $800.
The other big update to a signature product was the new iPad Pro. Like the iPhone 10, it will now feature Face ID, meaning there’s no home button, just a larger screen. It also drops the headphone and lightning connections in favor of the more universal USB-C, which Apple hopes will encourage multimedia users to make the iPad a go-to device for content creation. It’s also twice as fast as the previous model and has the ability to hold up to a terabyte of data.
All three devices received plenty of cheers from the standing-room-only crowd at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. But how will consumers respond to the upgrades? We’ll have to wait and see, but not for too long – everything is now available for pre-order, and they’re scheduled to start shipping on Nov. 7, just in time for the holidays.
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