Apple hosted what will almost certainly be its final product launch of the year on Tuesday. Lana Del Rey was on hand for the hipster-centric affair, which was hosted in Brooklyn and designed to showcase Apple’s “made for creatives” products: the new MacBook Air, its new desktop, and the most heavily revamped iPad Pro. Even Jack Antonoff was there.
Maybe it’s because it was wedged between the far more notable iPhone announcements and the end of the year product cycle; maybe it’s because of the bizarre decision to have Lana Del Rey and Jack Antonoff close the morning out performing a depressing piano ballad called How to Disappear, but it was a strangely anti-climactic capstone to Apple’s 2018 product cycle. Here are the five key takeaways.
5. There Was No ‘One More Thing’ Moment
It’s true, while CEO Tim Cook did say ‘one more thing,” to close out the announcement, this was just to rehash the update to iOS 12 which was actually announced yesterday, as well as to bring out Lana Del Ray. And as we said, Lana’s set was depressing as hell. I’m honestly making myself a little sad again just thinking about it.
It was doubly surprising to go through another product announcement without any surprises, given all the rumored hardware that went un-launched in 2018. The main omission was obviously AirPower, which Apple seems to be quietly hoping you’ll forget ever existed.
4. The iPad Pro Seems Like it Slaps
The highlight of the announcement was the iPad Pro, which was no surprise. Apple teased the event as being targeted for creatives, and Tuesday’s reveal was focused on products meant for getting work done. (And of course, if you’re getting work done on a Mac, you’re definitely a creative.)
To lure these aspiring creators in, the new iPad Pro touts facial recognition and a nifty new Apple Pencil that pairs automatically and takes its charge straight from the iPad Pro when connected. It’ll also boast some powerful internal upgrades, mainly the A12X Bionic Chip which should make for graphics are roughly comparable with the Xbox One X.
3. Mac Mini Finally Gets Some Love
Apple also took the opportunity to give the long-neglected Mac Mini some love after ignoring it for more than four years.
It wasn’t particularly groundbreaking. The new Mac Minis will come in a new dark aluminum finish, for example, and boast internal upgrades that will make them run about five times faster than its predecessor, which, as some observers pointed out, is about in line with what you’d expect given Moore’s Law. You’ll need your own monitor, but these new bad boys will start at just $799.
2. New MacBook Air Was Pricier Than Expected
Maybe we read too much into the rumors, but we were expecting a slightly lower price point on the new MacBook Air, which will start at $1,199. That’s a far cry from some of the predictions which had the new Airs starting possibly as low as $799.
It’s the first upgrade the Air has seen since summer of 2017, and will bring about a new Retina Display along with similar battery power and storage capabilities in a slimmer, sleeker package.
Get Ready for More Dongles
One drawback to the otherwise impressive iPad Pro is the fact that by removing the headphone jack, it’s added yet another dongle to the Apple universe of things you need to make sure your products can perform core functions.
Switching to a USB-C port makes a ton of sense, particularly for professionals who tend to use tech peripherals like external hard-drives. But without a headphone jack — and by including only one port — the iPad Pro makes it kind of hard to do multiple tasks simultaneously. Can’t win ‘em all, I guess.
Check out more of our coverage of Apple’s final 2018 hardware announcement.
- Everything to Know About the New MacBook Air
- Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s 2018 iPad Pros
- Apple Updates Its Mac Mini for the First Time in Four Years
- The Pros and Cons of Giving the iPad Pro a USB-C Charging Port
- The MacBook Air Masterfully Makes a $1,199 Laptop Seem Like a Decent Deal
- 2 Big Changes That Would Make the iPad Pro Truly Worth the Money