Why no Face ID? 14 vs 16-inch thermals? E-cores vs P-cores? M1 Pro vs M1 Max? M2 Predictions? Mac mini Pro? Mac Pro? Why the notch? RAM vs unified memory? Why so many SKUs? AAA gaming? Why no Center Stage? 10-bit panel?
Apple has just announced new blue, orange, and yellow colors for the HomePod mini and — finally! — the 3rd Generation AirPods with spatial audio, Dolby Atmos, water resistance, longer battery life, and MagSafe charging. Here's my live reactions!
Apple has just announced the new M1 Pro and M1 Max 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with mini-LED display — and notches! — HDMI, SD-card, MagSafe, fast charging, 8 performance cores, 2 efficiency cores, up to 64 GB of RAM, up to 32 GPU cores, and 120Hz ProMotion! And these are my live reactions to the event!
Live reaction to Apple announcing the new escalation to their custom silicon for the Mac — M1 Pro & M1 Max for the new MacBook Pro. 2 high-efficiency cores, 8 high-performance cores, 16 or 32 GPU cores, and up to 64 GB of Unified memory. Yeah, this is where you can watch me watch x86 die, Parappa!
The invitations are out. The website is up. The YouTube stream is prepped.
I’m Rene Ritchie. Thanks Curiosity Stream with Nebula for sponsoring, and yes. Finally. Finally — Hit me again! — Apple’s October M1X Mac Event is… a… GO! So hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss my reviews and… punch it Chewie!
The invitation to the October 18, 2021 event shows an Apple logo making the jump into warp space or hyperspace or whatever your fav sci-fi franchise calls it.
I’ll get to the meaning in a minute, but first...
Apple almost always holds events on Tuesdays, not Mondays. The only notable exception is WWDC keynotes, which are always on Mondays, before WWDC runs all week. But Google’s already announced their yearly Pixel event for the Tuesday, rather than stepping on it and splitting attention and coverage, Apple can get out ahead of it by a day, and bleed over into all that coverage. Making Monday an easy win.
Now, back to the invitations. While I usually avoid trying to read invitation tea leaves because Apple marketing never actually tells the graphic design department what’s happening at the event. They just hand them a spec for the visuals. But in this case, I think those tea leaves pretty much read themselves.
Especially when you consider the tagline for the event...
Something that might have been roped, constrained, held back by an old, hot, processor architecture, something that was blowing thermal envelopes but also failing to take advantage of post-big-core advances. A leash. A giant, honking, x86, Intel-inside leash.
A leash so bad even Intel’s latest ads are forced to admit the only differentiation they can currently offer are form-factor gimmicks from vendors… who could just as easily do the exact same thing, and better, with AMD these days… But I digress.
Just like they did with their ultra-low-power Macs back in November, Apple is going to be unleashing their ultra-high-power Pro Macs now. Switching them to custom silicon. Essentially taking them from normal space to hyperspace. From impulse… to warp.
From Intel… to M1… to M1X
Now, yes, because Apple includes an AR experience in the invites, you have the all the usual suspects hype… hyping… virtual and augmented reality — mixed reality, basically. Finally. In other words, the Apple TV-like VR headset or Apple Watch-like AR glasses. And… they’ll probably happen eventually, but like the last year or two, sometimes a cool invite demo is just a cool invite demo.
But unlike previous events, we didn’t get the wicked Apple Park flex from Apple’s senior Vice President of marketing, Greg Jozwiak. He went with the much more classic animation this year. But what a classic.
After last year’s November Apple event, October is a return to their more usual pattern. Now, Apple doesn’t always hold Mac events in October, but more often than not… Mac and iPad events, mostly. But the iPad already had its event back with the iPhone last month. So… the Mac.
And since we’ve already gotten those ultra-low-power M1 Macs — the MacBook Air, the entry-level MacBook Pro, and the entry-level Mac mini, well… that just leaves the real Pros. And the M1X
Where M1 had 4 high efficiency cores, 4 high performance cores, 7 or 8 graphics cores, and 16 neural engine cores, M1X is rumored to have just 2 high efficiency cores but a whopping 8 high performance cores, an even more whopping-er… 16 to 32 graphics cores, and maybe more neural engine cores as well.
Where M1 offered 8 to 16 GB of RAM and up to 2 TB of storage, M1X could offer 16 to 64 GB of RAM and up to 8 TB of storage. And just the idea of all the unified memory feeding all those graphics cores.
And possibly ProRes hardware accelerators, like the A15 offers for the iPhone Pro? That would basically turn M1X into a portable afterburner box. Comping through pro workloads like Jaws… like Jaws on Hulk serum.
Likewise, where M1 offered two thunderbolt controllers for 2 full-speed USB4 ports, M1X should offer enough for 3 full speed USB4 ports, HDMI, SDXC, and hopefully MagSafe pass-through for Ethernet on the power brick.
And we should see it in a new 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro, with miniLED displays like the new iPads Pro. Basically, MacBooks Pro XDR — extreme dynamic range. And I’ve got a whole entire preview ready for you on that, and I’ll link to it in the description below the like button.
Also, maybe a new, pro-level Mac mini, with pretty much the exact same specs. Of course, I’d also love a new 32-inch iMac and a matching, new 32-inch prosumer-level Cinema Display from Apple to go with it, but the iMac sounds more like a 2022 product and the display… just a dream at this point. But a nerd can always dream.
There are also rumors we might see AirPods 3 as well. Which… have honestly been rumored for every event since last year. They’re supposed to have a more AirPods Pro-like design, if not feature set. And we could well see them. But Apple hasn’t spent a second of event time on AirPods since the original pair was announced back in 2016, not the AirPods 2, not the AirPods Pro, not even the AirPods Max. So, what could be a big enough deal about the AirPods 3 that Apple would add them to the stream? Let me know what you think in the comments.
I’ve been using an Apple Watch all day, every day, for over half a decade now. But, I’m keenly aware that many of you may not even have an Apple Watch yet. So, for you, it might be about what the new Apple Watch Series 7 can do for you and your life, and if that’s finally enough for you to get one. Where, for those of you like me, it’s all about what it can do better… how it can make our lives even better.
With Series 7, that includes a bigger, more informational, more accessible screen and faster charging system in general. For time and schedule keeping, a brighter, easier-to-glance at always-on mode. For fitness and health tracking, especially the extreme kind, a more crack-resistant display, and dust-and-debris resistant casing. For notification and communication, a built-in keyboard. And, yeah, GIF/GIFs! For fashion, or just plain fun, a minor rainbow of new aluminum colors. Still starting at $400 bucks.
And it all comes together to create an experience that’s… light years beyond the original… even if it’s still not quite where I want it to be. Let me explain!
New designs. Flat designs. 14- and 16-inch displays. Mini LED displays! M1X Apple Silicon. 2 efficiency cores. 8 performance cores. Up to 32 Graphics cores. Up to 64 GB of RAM, 8TB of SSD. Maybe. Probably… no Touch Bars, but MagSafe, HDMI, and SD Cards.
Right now, I’m going to go through all the most recent reports, and not just recapitulate or regurgitate them for you, but dive into all the little details about what these new MacBooks will actually, really mean for Pros!
Midnight. Starlight. Green. Blue. Red. Aluminum. And Nike. Gold. Silver. Graphite. Steel. And Hermes. Brushed and Space Black Titanium. 20% larger display. 70% brighter always-on display. 40% smaller bezels. 1mm bigger cases. 41mm and 45mm cases. Not square but round. Rounder even. Bigger tap targets. Bigger text. Or more text. QuickPath Keyboard. New contour face. New Duo modular face. More crack resistant. IP6X dust resistant. Still WR50 water resistant. And 33% Faster charging.
The vast majority of iPhone owners still don’t have an Apple Watch. So, while I’m sure many of you high order bit Apple nerds are weighing whether or not to upgrade, I’m equally sure many, many more of you Apple casuals are debating whether or not to buy in for the first time.
So here’s the new deal:
The screens are bigger now. 20% bigger than the Apple Watches 4 to 6 and SE, and 50% bigger than the Apple Watches 0 to 3. Part of that comes from a very slight, like 1mm increase in case size, from 40 and 44mm to 41 and 44mm, but also a second Thanos snapping… a re-snapping… of the bezels by almost half again.
That, along with some layout tweaks, means more complications for some watch faces, like a new Modular Duo, but also more text for your mail and messages. Or, optionally, bigger text if your eyes prefer that. Bigger buttons and tap targets too in many apps, like 20-50% bigger in some cases.
Big enough for a QuickPath Keyboard, which were third-party only… intermittently… before now. Type or swipe, it’s up to you.
It’s not enough to make the Watch fully independent yet, no matter how much I see beseeching Amenadael, but it’s another tiny little step in that general direction.
The display is brighter now too. Well, not peak brightness for the regular display but regular brightness for the always-on display. 70% brighter for when you need to glance at your wrist all surreptitious like. It just makes the watch work even better as, you know, a watch.
The display itself is stronger now, not in terms of scratch resistance, but crack resistance. So it’s much less likely to break if you smash it into something. Also IP6X dust resistance and still rated up to 50mm for swim proofing. So if you hike or ride or work outside, your watch will be safer than ever.
There’s no 5G or even fully independent LTE yet with the cellular option. And while the system-in-package, or SIP, has gotten some improvements, especially in the display drivers and power management areas, the CPU is the same A13-derived dual core engine as last year.
Battery life is also the same as it has been for the last few years, because Apple continues to spend whatever efficiency budget they have on new and improved features. But there is a new USB-C to Watch charging system will let you power up 33% faster now. That’s like 8 minutes for 8 hours of sleep tracking, or 45 min for over 14 hours of regular activity. So whether you’re snoozing or using, you’ll get more quicker.
You can get the aluminum model in midnight, which is an Indigo black, Starlight, which is silver with a shot of gold, a deep green, tealish blue, or rosey red, starting at $400 for the 41mm Wi-Fi.
Or the Nike version in Midnight or Starlight, with exclusive faces a sport loops, for the same price.
If you don’t want to pay that much for an Apple Watch, you can still get the SE version, which doesn’t have the always on display or health sensors like ECG and Pulse Oxymeter, starting at $279, or if you just want to dip your toe… or wrist… into the Apple Watch waters, the Series 3 starting at $199. But, at that point, unless you really can’t justify the extra 80 bucks over the multi-year lifespan of the watch, get the SE… but really get the Series 7. It’s just so much more better useful, which isn’t grammar but is 100% facts.
If you want to go higher end, you can get the gold, silver, or space black stainless steel versions, typically for a few hundred bucks more, and brushed or space black titanium for typically another hundred bucks more on top of that. Depending on which exact band you pair it with.
If you’re ultra serious about your Apple Watches, you can get the silver or space black stainless steel versions with Hermes straps. Those typically start at over a grand.
New 14-inch MacBook Pro. New 16-inch MacBook Pro. M1X Pro-level Apple silicon. Maybe M2X? Maybe Mac mini Pro? Maybe iMac Pro? Maybe all the Pro. It’s the next major Apple Event. The… Apple Event Pro! And it’s coming our way as soon as this month.
New 14-inch MacBook Pro. New 16-inch MacBook Pro. M1X Pro-level Apple silicon. Maybe M2X? Maybe Mac mini Pro? Maybe iMac Pro? Maybe all the Pro. It’s the next major Apple Event. The… Apple Event Pro! And it’s coming our way as soon as this month.!