Apple unveils powerful new MacBooks, cheaper music subscription

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Apple showcased new, redesigned models of its MacBook Pro laptops, along with several new audio products and a cheaper Apple Music subscription, at an overnight online event.

Two new MacBook Pros, one with a 14-inch display and the other with a 16-inch display, will be powered by the new M1 Pro chip, continuing Apple’s move away from Intel-designed processors. Apple said the new chip delivers 70% faster processor performance and double the graphics performance of the M1 chip of current Macs and iPads.

Newer MacBook Pro models return a number of features previously removed from devices, including HDMI ports and MagSafe charging.Credit: Provided

Users also have the option of controlling either machine with an even more powerful chip called M1 Max, which doubles graphics performance and memory bandwidth compared to the M1 Pro.

The MacBook Pro’s chassis has been completely redesigned to replace the controversial Touch Bar with traditional function keys, flip a full-size HDMI port and SD card reader, and introduce a new MagSafe charging port. There are also three Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. Laptop screens are Mini-LEDs with a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz, and feature an iPhone-style notch at the top that houses a 1080p FaceTime camera.

The laptops will ship next week and start at $ 2,999 and $ 3,749 respectively in Australia. Models with the M1 Max start at $ 4,349.

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On the audio front, Apple introduced a new $ 6 per month subscription called the Apple Music Voice Plan. With it, users can access the entire library of songs, albums, playlists and stations, but they can only play music using the Siri d voice assistant. ‘Apple on Apple devices including AirPods, iPhones, Macs, Apple TVs, and HomePod Mini speakers. The standard Apple Music subscription, which lets you browse the library on devices and provides access to advanced features like music videos and lossless audio, costs $ 12 per month.

New AirPods were also unveiled, with the third generation keeping the one-size-fits-all plastic design but borrowing the look and shape of the AirPods Pro with a shorter stem and a pinch-off force sensor for control. The new Buds support Dolby Atmos spatial audio, have longer battery life, and will sell for $ 279.

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