Tech

Everything you need to know about the 2018 iPad Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini and MacBook Pro

On Tuesday, October 30th, Apple held a special event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, (Howard Gilman Opera House) in New York City, for the unveiling of the new iPad Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini. Here are all the specs, details and announcements that were discussed at the event.

The redesigned 2018 iPad Pro:

After much anticipation, Apple today launched the completely redesigned iPad Pro that comes without a home button and headphone jack, but is equipped with new features like USB-C port, updated Face ID, smaller bezels and more.

The new iPad Pro is priced at $799 for the 11-inch model and $999 for the 12.9-inch model. The devices are available for preorder starting today and the estimated time of arrival is November 7th.

The 2018 iPad pro is the first Apple tablet to not include a home button. By removing the button, Apple gave the tablet a smooth looking edge to edge display screen that extends vertically to give the user a more immersive experience. Apple is calling the screen “Liquid Retina Display,” which was previously installed on devices like the iPhone XR.

Similar to last year’s model, the metrics of the tablets are at an11-inch display screen for the smaller iPad and 12.9-inch for the bigger option. The size of the bezels are also significantly reduced on all sides, giving the tablet a sleek look.

1) Goodbye headphone jack

The headphone jack has been removed to supposedly make the tablet thinner. If you want to listen to music on your iPad, you can either purchase a wireless pair of AirPods (or any wireless headphones), or you will need to get a USB-C-to-headphone jack dongle that Apple quietly released.

Unfortunately to Apple users, the company decided last month to remove the free dongle from the new iPhones, so don’t bother checking for them in the box. Instead, Apple is selling the new USB-C to headphone jack dongle for $19.99, alongside other dongles. For instance, the USB-C to SD card reader (available at the Apple store for $39), can be particularly useful for designers who want to use photoshop to edit photos from their cameras on the tablet.

Nonetheless, by replacing the traditional port with the USB-C, Apple is trying to create a tablet that will render computer devices obsolete. Now, you can use the new iPad to charge your phone or connect it to a display screen to play movies up to 5k resolution, and more.

“We sold more iPads in the last year than the entire notebook lineup of all of the biggest notebook vendors,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. He adds that the company has sold more than 400 million iPads so far.

“No other device can adapt to your needs the way iPad can,” says Jon Ternus, VP of hardware engineering at Apple.

2) Face Identification tech

Similar to the iPhone X, the new iPad Pros will include Face ID and TruDepth camera setup. The tablets will not have a notch, so the Face ID components will be located in a flat bezel at the top of the tablet. Unlike predecessor models, Face ID on the new iPad will function if the tablet is in a horizontal or vertical position. Face ID on the new iPad will also feature Animojis and Memojis for the first time. The camera is 12 mega pixels.

3) Much faster processor

The processor for the 2018 iPad Pro is powered by the new A12X Bionic chip with an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU.

Apple’s new processor allows the tablet to have a 35 percent faster core performance, which makes it 90 percent faster for multi-core tasks.

The GPU will offer 1TB of built in storage allowing “the iPad Pro [to deliver] Xbox One S class graphics performance in a package that is much smaller,” says John Ternus, VP of Hardware Engineering at Apple.

4) Apple’s new Pencil and Smart Keyboard

Apple is introducing a high-tech Pencil to accompany the iPad for $129. The Apple Pencil has a magnetic connector that attaches to the tablet for wireless charging.

You can wake up the iPad by tapping it with the Pencil which is set to launch Notes on default. There are a few more gestures you can do with the pen like switching between tools and giving actions.

The company is also replacing the outdated Smart Keyboard, which is now called the Smart Keyboard Folio, so that the iPad can sit at two different typing angles according to the user’s preference.

The new keyboard also protects the front and back of the tablet, and will be easier to slide into place. The price of the keyboard increased to $179.

MacBook Air:

The redesigned MacBook Air is ready for preorder to ship on Wednesday, November 7th. The new Mac looks a lot like its predecessor model but will be thinner and lighter. The new MacBook Air weighs merely 2.75 pounds in comparison to the 2.96 pounds of the earlier model. It will include a high-resolution Retina Display screen, two USB-C ports, Touch ID, and a plethora of other features. The MacBook Air is priced at $1,199 and moves up in price according to the upgrades.

In regards to the display screen, the 2018 MacBook Air has the same resolution as the MacBook pro, but with a full retina display and a 13.3-inch screen that stretches to the edge of the enclosure. The sizes of the bezels are 50 percent slimmer, making the computer more portable. The bezels are black, and are sand blasted to give it a glossy look.

The new MacBook air is equipped with a “3rd generation” butterfly keyboard, which reduces key travel time, increases dust resistance, and reduces noise for those who hate clicking sounds. Essentially, it’s been fine-tuned to fix some of the big issues that plagued the initial and follow-up runs of past MacBook Pro models.

For the first time, the device will be made of 100 percent recycled aluminum. The touchpad is massive, and is now called a Force Touch. There are two USB-C port with magnetic connectors (thunderbolt-enabled) and a headphone jack. 

The MacBook Air will also come with Touch ID for secure login, using the same T2 chip from last year’s MacBook Pro and iMac Pro Models. In this model though, the Touch bar is missing. This will likely be a bonus for most consumers who found the MacBook Pro Touch Bar a waste of space.

The laptop combines an 8th Gen intal dual-core CPU with integrated graphics, up to 16GB of RAM, and 1.5TB SSD. One of two USB-C/Thunderbolt can also be used to power an external 5k display or connect an eGPU external graphics enclosure.The base model contains an 8GB Ram, a 1.6GHz Core i5, and a 128GB SSD. It’s on sale for $1,999 starting today.

The Mac Mini:

During the event, Apple also announced the Mac Mini which got its first makeover since 2014. Apple is providing the Mac Mini with a quad-core 8th Gen Intel processor instead of the 4th Gen Intel Core i5 processor used in the 2014 model. The Mac Mini also has an option that goes up to six-core Intel Core i7 versions.

The Mac Mini will have flash storage up to 2TB of space, and will support up to 64GB of RAM. Apple is also introducing the T2 security chip. There are four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI, Ethernet, and two USB-A ports in the rear.

In terms of the external look, the Mac Mini looks similar to its predecessor model in 2014. However, for the first time, Apple is creating the device using 100 percent recycled aluminum, and will give it a grey space “finish”. 

It is worth noting that the aluminum Apple is using to produce the device is recycled leftover from Apple’s production of other aluminum products.

The 2018 Mac Mini is priced at $799, and will be available on November 7th. The base model will come with a quad-core Intel i3 processor 8GB RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage. There are more upgrades available for an i7 processor and a 64gb of ram.

MacBook Pro announcement:

Even though today’s event was focused mostly on the iPad and the MacBook Air, the company also announced an updated MacBook Pro set to be launched next month that will include AMD’S Radeon Pro Vega graphics chip. To put this into perspective, the previous MacBook Pro model was equipped with the Radeon Pro 560X and the new graphics chip will give 60 percent better performance for 3D design, music composition and other tasks.

AMD’S Vega graphics chip was initially introduced to Apple’s iMac Pros last year. However it is the first time being introduced in a laptop model. The new Radeon Pro Vega 20 and Pro Vega 16 will offer “cool and quiet operation,” which means it’s charge efficient as well.

You’ll be able to purchase the 15-inch MacBook Pro including either the Radeon Pro Vega 20 or Radeon Pro Vega 16 on November 14th. The price is yet to be announced.