Oct 18, 2021 - Technology

Apple debuts updated AirPods, faster MacBook Pro laptops

The new MacBook Pros feature higher-end Apple-designed chips, magnetic charging cables and more ports.
Photo: Apple

Apple on Monday announced an updated MacBook Pro lineup featuring higher-performance chips, faster screen refresh rates and the return of MagSafe magnetic charging cords. It also introduced redesigned AirPods wireless headphones that feature a new, water-resistant design and spatial audio.

Why it matters: The move is the latest step in shifting the Mac from Intel chips to Apple-designed processors.

Details:

  • The MacBook Pro comes in 14-inch and 16-inch models, featuring either the M1 Pro or M1 Max processors that Apple introduced on Monday.
  • Apple has brought back the physical row of function keys, dumping the Touch Bar, a small touchscreen that Apple had included on the MacBook Pro in recent years. There's an HDMI port to connect to displays and TVs as well as an SD card reader, the MagSafe charging port and a headphone jack.
  • The 14-inch model starts at $1,999, while the 16-inch version starts at $2,499. Pre-orders start today and the new laptops will be available next week.

Between the lines: Apple's new MacBooks bring together a variety of hardware features that Apple has added to other products in recent months, including a mini-LED display similar to the latest iPad Pro and the faster ProMotion screen refresh found on the latest iPhones.

Our thought bubble: The first crop of laptops with Apple-designed chips kept the prior designs but won praise for performance and battery life. With the new MacBook Pros, Apple adds a fresh design and aims to show its chips can also power the types of machines used by creative types doing intense photo and video work.

Meanwhile: As for the new AirPods, they will be available starting next week for $179, while the previous design remains in the lineup for $129.

  • Apple is also adding a cheaper $4.99-per-month Apple Music plan for those willing to exclusively use their voice to access their tunes.
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