Apple Announcements Recap: New MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, HomePod, and More
Apple made a few rare January product announcements this week, introducing updated 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, an updated Mac mini, a full-size second-generation HomePod, and a new Unity band for the Apple Watch in honor of Black History Month. Apple also revealed that iOS 16.3 will be released next week.
A recap of Apple’s announcements is available below for those looking for a quick overview of all the new products introduced this week.
The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are available with Apple’s latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips for up to 20% faster performance and up to 30% faster graphics. Laptops can be configured with up to 96 GB of RAM, up from a maximum of 64 GB previously. Other new features and improvements include Wi-Fi 6E, an upgraded HDMI 2.1 port with support for an 8K external display, and an extra hour of battery life.
The new MacBook Pros have the same design as the previous-generation models released in 2021. The laptops can be pre-ordered now from Apple’s online store, with first customer deliveries and in-store availability starting on Tuesday, January 24. starts at $1,999 for the 14-inch model and $2,499 for the 16-inch model.
Apple also updated the Mac mini with new M2 and M2 Pro chip options, which led to the discontinuation of the latest Intel-based Mac mini. There’s no design change, but the M2 Pro version of the Mac mini comes with four Thunderbolt 4 ports and one HDMI 2.1 port, compared to two Thunderbolt 4 ports and one HDMI 2.0 port on the M2 model.
The new Mac mini can be pre-ordered now from Apple’s online store, with the M2 model starting at a lower price of $599 and the M2 Pro model starting at $1,299. First customer deliveries and in-store availability will begin on Tuesday, January 24.
The second-generation HomePod features a virtually identical design to the full-size HomePod that was discontinued in March 2021, including a backlit touch surface and mesh fabric exterior. The speaker includes a four-inch high-excursion woofer, five tweeters, four microphones, an S7 chip for computer audio, a U1 chip for streaming music from an iPhone, and Spatial support. Audio with Dolby Atmos. The speaker continues to revolve around Siri and supports Matter to control HomeKit and other smart home accessories.
The new HomePod has two fewer tweeters and two fewer microphones than the original model, so it weighs a little less. A new sensor in HomePod can measure temperature and humidity in indoor environments, and this feature has also been enabled on the existing HomePod mini with HomePod software version 16.3.
The new HomePod can be pre-ordered now from Apple’s online store for $299, with white and midnight color options available. In-store availability and customer deliveries will begin Friday, February 3 in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom and 11 other countries.
Apple this week released a new special edition Black Unity Sport Loop for the Apple Watch Series 4 and later to celebrate Black History Month. Available in 41mm and 45mm sizes for $49, the band features the word “Unity” woven into the fabric with red, green and black threads that pay homage to the Pan-African flag, according to Apple.
The new band is available to order on Apple’s online store and will be available in select Apple Store stores starting January 24. Apple is also releasing a Unity-themed iPhone wallpaper and watch face with iOS 16.3 and watchOS 9.3.
iOS 16.3 release schedule
In its press release for the new Unity bundle, Apple said a matching Unity wallpaper for the iPhone will be available next week and requires iOS 16.3, confirming that the software update will be released this week. next.
iOS 16.3 includes a few new features, including an option to use a physical security key as a two-factor authentication option for an Apple ID account, the global availability of Advanced Data Protection for broader iCloud encryption, and the support for the new second-generation HomePod. . The update also includes several bug fixes.