Apple used its Brooklyn event yesterday to offer significant updates to its iPad Pro, Mac Mini and MacBook Air lines, helping round out its product lineup for the holidays.
What's new: In revamping the Mac Mini and MacBook Air, Apple breathed new life into 2 popular product lines that had suffered from not seeing significant refreshes in some time.
- The new iPad Pro, meanwhile, takes its design cues from the latest iPhones, replacing the home button with gestures and Face ID for authentication. (The new iPad Pro also does away with the headphone jack, though the Air still has one.)
- Apple also released an update to iOS 12 that adds support for promised features including new emoji, group FaceTime and dual SIM cards in the latest iPhones.
The big picture: Beyond the specific updates, we noticed three larger trends...
1. Things are getting more expensive
- Apple had let the Mac Mini and MacBook Air languish for a while now. While fans of these products now have freshly updated gear, the products are more expensive than the ones they replace.
- This isn't that uncommon for Apple. It often raises the prices slightly when it makes a significant update to a product line and later brings down the cost alongside more modest updates.
2. Apple is betting big on USB-C
- Apple is known for betting on 1 key technology when it comes to connectivity and, for now, USB-C is that technology.
- The new iPad Pro replaces the Lightning connector with a more versatile USB-C port while the MacBook Air replaces older USB ports with 2 Thunderbolt ports (think USB-C with a few added capabilities).
- Of the new products, only the Mac Mini offers both traditional USB and the newer USB-C ports.
- The big question: Would Apple ever ditch the Lightning port on the iPhone? Doing so would add consistency, but mean incompatibility with lots of existing iPhone add-ons. (Because the Lightning connector is proprietary, Apple also gets a nice stream of revenue by getting a cut from every authorized accessory, which it would likely lose out on if it moved to USB-C.)
3. Recycle, recycle, recycle
- Apple is using recycled aluminum for the new Mac Mini and MacBook Air casing.
- No, that doesn't mean it's turning Coke cans into computers. Rather, it's taking shavings from the aluminum used to make other products and refashioning them into the exterior housing of these products. It's still a win for the environment.