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Apple launches new MacBook Air, iPad Pro and Mac mini

Apple has unveiled upgrades to some of its most popular product lines with a brand-new MacBook Air, iPad Pro and Mac mini launched in New York on October 31.

2018 had already been a big year for Apple with the launch of three new iPhones, a new base-model iPad, iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, and these new products round out a stack of new offerings from the tech giant.

Macbook Air

MacBook Air (2018) announced by Apple

Apple has launched an upgrade to its most popular laptop with an all-new MacBook Air featuring a 13-inch Retina display, Touch ID and “all-day battery life”. The announcement is welcome news for students, casual users and anyone who doesn’t have the spare cash for Apple’s brilliant but stunningly expensive higher models.

The tech giant’s newest laptop is just 15mm thick and weighs just 1.2kg. The body is made of 100 per cent recycled aluminium and sports a large Force Touch trackpad, plus two Thunderbolt-enabled USB-C ports. And guess what? It has a bloody headphone jack, people!

Given Apple’s base-model MacBook has for some time featured a slim design not dissimilar to the original MacBook Air, we were keen to see what design would set the new laptop apart from its bigger brother. While there isn’t a dramatic visual distinction from, say, an older MacBook Pro, the wedge-shaped body will feel familiar to fans of the original Air.

The new Air comes with a T2 Security Chip, Thunderbolt 3, a third-generation keyboard, stereo sound, a built-in FaceTime HD camera, a three microphone array and faster SSDs. Touch ID means you can now unlock your Air and use Apple Pay without entering a password, which is neat.

In terms of power, an 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor and 16GB of RAM should keep casual to moderate users rather happy, while power users will likely still crave the performance of Apple’s Pro model.

“Unlike any notebook that’s come before or since, MacBook Air has become the most beloved notebook,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the launch.

“It’s time for a new MacBook Air; one that takes the new MacBook experience even further in a way that is important to our customers.”

Pricing and Availability

The new MacBook Air starts at $1849, so it’s still a pretty hefty investment – but expect budget prices from Apple at your own peril. It’s available for pre-order now via the Apple website and will show up in store throughout Australia on November 7.

iPad Pro

iPad Pro (2018) announced by Apple

Following the launch of the new base-model iPad earlier this year, all eyes turned to the Pro lineup as pundits and punters alike tried to predict what Apple would bring to the table. And, as is par for the course these days, many of the rumours and leaks were on point.

The new iPad Pro comes with an 11 or 12.9-inch Liquid Retina display bordered by slimmer bezels, which have cut down on real estate thanks to the intriguing omission of a fingerprint sensor. Yep, looks like you better get used to Face ID.

At 5.9 millimetres thin, it’s the thinnest iPad yet and one Apple hopes will rejuvenate declining sales.

The device also ditches the Lightning connection, which is a headache given Apple kept the Lightning port on its three new iPhones; even if you own the latest products from the tech giant, you’ll still have to juggle multiple dongles, cables and chargers.

The new iPad Pro offers up to 1TB of storage and an A12X Bionic sensor, and was co-announced with a redesigned Apple Pencil that can easily attach to the device and charge magnetically.

“We’ve now sold well over 400 million iPads, making it the most popular tablet by far. No one else is even close,” Cook said.

“But what you might not know is we’ve sold more iPads in the last year than the entire notebook line-up of the major manufacturers […] We expect the iPad will maintain its position as the leading tablet.”

Pricing and Availability

The new iPad Pro starts at $1229 for the 11-inch model and $1529 for the 12.9-inch, while the top model costs a whopping $2869. It’s available for pre-order now via the Apple website and will show up in store throughout Australia on November 7.

Mac mini

Mac mini (2018) announced by Apple

It’s back! The beloved Mac Mini is in the spotlight once again with a much-needed performance boost thanks to quad and six-core processors, T2 security chip, up to 64GB memory and all-flash storage.

“Mac mini is loved by customers for its ability to be used in incredibly diverse environments — from casual desktop use, to live professional performances, to multiple Mac mini computers powering through video renderings and compiling software code, to racks of thousands in giant app build farms — anywhere a small but mighty Mac is needed to get the job done,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

“Mac mini customers are going to flip over the new Mac mini. It has more than five times the performance, up to 6-core desktop-class processors, the Apple T2 Security Chip, faster memory up to 64GB, high‑performance all-flash storage, and is packed with advanced ports including four Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A, HDMI video, audio and Ethernet up to 10 Gbps.

“All of this power is packed into the same-sized enclosure as before, perfect for customers updating or creating all‑new installations where Mac mini is the ideal solution.”

Apple claims the new Mac mini delivers up to five times faster performance than its predecessor, news that will be welcome those who were fans of the original for its combination of power and portability. Also, like the iPad Pro, it’s made with 100 per cent recycled aluminium.

Pricing and availability

The new Mac mini starts at $1249 and is available for pre-order. The product will appear in store from November 7 in Australia.

About the author

Andrew is Techly’s Editor. Loves: weird gadgets and the Collingwood Football Club. Hates: olives and cardboard boxes.

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