Today’s Apple Event was a mixed bag.
New MacBook Pros with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips were predictably the biggest and most exciting announcement today. Additional HomePod Mini Colours, on the other hand, hardly seemed worth mentioning.
Colourful HomePod Minis didn’t really warrant the time it took to introduce them. Bringing the price down, or offering discounted multipacks would have been much more interesting news.
The cheaper Siri-only Apple Music subscription option was totally unexpected, maybe a little weird, and I’m not sure what to make of it. Are they expecting Siri-only users to play less music than those using the Music app? Or is Siri intending to wilfully misinterpret requests, and play cheaper tracks instead? I would love to see Apple’s analysis leading to this product launch.
The updated AirPods announcement was slightly less yawn-inducing than the colourful HomePod Minis, but not by much. I haven’t tried any of the AirPods yet. Spatial audio sounds interesting, as does greater water resistance, but for now I’m sticking with my waterproof, open-ear AfterShockz Aeropex for all-day comfort and battery life.
New MacBook Pros
The biggest news today was of course the new MacBook Pro lineup with upgraded Apple Silicon M1 Pro or M1 Max chips. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on one of these. My current 2018 15” MacBook Pro i7 feels perpetually sluggish despite its 32GB memory. This is likely due to the overbearing endpoint security software running on it; but in 2021 I feel there’s no excuse for occasional multi-second keyboard lag in Terminal.app.
I can’t believe they removed the touch-bar. I’m not a huge fan of the touch bar but I’m still a little disappointed that they gave up on it as I’m sure there must a way to make it work better. The new notch in the screen certainly looks weird, but it does free up a little extra screen area by moving menus higher up and out of the way, so probably a worthy compromise.
These new MBPs look a little uglier and a little more rugged than the previous generation. All the connectivity options are bound to be useful for some, though for my purposes most of the ports will gather dust and are likely to be used very rarely. Regardless, I’m personally gagging for a faster machine for work, and the performance of these beasts sounds multiple orders of magnitude better. In the end that’s the most important feature. £2,999 for a 16” model with M1 Pro, 32GB RAM, and 1TB storage, sounds oddly reasonable in this light.