Apple Announces New MacBook Air, iPad Pro, Mac mini and More

November 1, 2018 •

iPad Pro

On Tuesday, October 30, Apple took the stage in New York City to announce updates to an entire range of their products. iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, MacBook Air and Mac mini all received marked upgrades on their predecessors. Additionally, iPad Pro received an updated full version of Photoshop for on-the-go usage. These updates were long rumored, but until announced on stage the details were still a mystery.

Apple Hardware Updates

Apple hardware updates have been shoved into the fall months in previous years, but the MacBook Air and Mac mini haven’t seen substantial updates in years.

MacBook Air

With the biggest update since Steve Jobs first launched it, the MacBook Air is receiving an updated Retina screen that matches the rest of the MacBook lineup. The new screen brings better screen technology to the Air, alongside the MacBook 12″ and the MacBook Pro lines.

It also means there are no current generation Apple laptops that feature any ports other than USB-C. This squarely puts any Apple laptop buyer into a dongle-required situation. Aside from the frustration of the USB-C requirement, the MacBook Air now includes Touch ID, like the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

Touch ID allows users to log into the computer with a fingerprint. If using a password locker app, like 1Password, you will be able to log into individual websites with just a fingerprint as well.

The all-new MacBook Air starts at $1,199 with 128GB SSD, 1.6GHz Dual-Core Processor and Touch ID. It is available for order now, with delivery and in-store availability on Wednesday, November 7.

iPad Pro with Apple Pencil

iPad Pro is completely updated with a new form factor. A new edge-to-edge screen is made possible by removing the Touch ID button in favor of the iPhone X-line inspired Face ID. The popular tablet now features flat edges, reminiscent of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s.

The all-new design has cut 25% volume out of the device. Cramming an 11″ Liquid Retina screen into a chassis that is only 5.9mm thin and smaller surface area than the 10.5″ model. The new A12X Bionic chipset is markedly faster than the previous iPad Pro, helping drive the new full version of Photoshop that launched for the iPad on stage as well. This amounts to 35%-95% faster CPU performance, depending on the last.

But, buyer beware, there is no longer a headphone jack. With the switch from Lightning port to USB-C, the headphones that came with your iPhone 7, 8, X, or XS will not work either. Go ahead and buy the $10 USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack dongle, when you buy the new iPad Pro.

iPad Pro starts at $799 for 64GB with WiFi capabilities. Apple Pencil is available for $129. Both devices are on order now, with delivery and in-store availability on Wednesday, November 7.

Mac mini

The Mac mini received its first update in more than four years. A completely refreshed internal spec list should get you excited, if you are into that kind of thing. The Mac mini has never really been targeted at the consumer market. It can be utilized as a completely stand alone Mac, assuming you also buy a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and the necessary cables to connect it all up. Most commonly, you will find a Mac mini running a server somewhere, sometimes even linked together.

Mac mini boasts new eighth-generation 6-core and quad-core processors. The new I/O includes Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), HDMI 2.0, and optional 10Gb ethernet. A new all-flash storage hard drive is configurable up to 2TB. This all combines for up to 5x faster system performance and thanks to new fan technology, the tiny package has twice the airflow.

Mac mini is available starting at $799 with 8GB of RAM, 128 SSD, and 3.6GHz quad-core Core i3 processor. It is on order now, with delivery and in-store availability starting November 7.