And finally, and unsurprisingly, the UK pricing for the new Macs is a straight symbol-swap for the US pricing. So that means the new MacBook Air starts at £999; the new 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at £1299; and the new Mac mini starts at £699.
Haha, “one more thing” at the very end – John Hodgman shows up, for a reprise of his role in the “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” adverts. “I’m fast too! Look at me!”
But with that, we really are done.
After a rapid show, we’re back to Cook for a final wrap. “We’re looking forward to 2021, and bringing even more amazing experiences to you”, he says with a smile. Bye Tim!
The Macs will be on sale “today”, apparently, shipping next week.
Apple is proud of its environmental chops, and there doesn’t seem to be anything as bittersweet as dropping chargers from the box:
And now for the flagship: the new 13” MacBook Pro. “Our most popular and affordable MacBook Pro,” apparently.
Shruti Haldea up to introduce the machine, which, again looks almost the same as before.
It’s 2.8x faster than before, apparently, with a 5x faster GPU, and when compared to “the best selling Windows laptop in its class” it’s “up to 3x faster” apparently.
“And even with all this unbelievable compute power, it delivers up to 20 hours of video playback”, the longest battery life ever in a Mac. “Software developers can compile 4x as much code on a charge”, and improved mics with a better signal to noise ratio will mean cleaner sound. (But, again, no new camera, just a new camera processor.)
The “same incredibly portable design”, with the same… controversial touch bar, starting from $1299.
Here’s the spec sheet:
Next up: the new Mac Mini.
Again, it looks almost identical to the previous generation – we’re not here for hardware redesigns – but has a 3x faster CPU and 6x increase in graphics performance.
“If you compare Mac Mini to the top selling PC desktop in its price range, it’s one tenth the size, and up to 5x faster,” we’re told. It can even run Apple’s display at a 6K resolution. Did you know 6K was a thing?
It starts at $699, and here’s the spec sheet:
Here’s the spec sheet for the new MacBook Air. The silent design is still the headline impressive feature, I think:
The first one is a MacBook Air! It’ll “completely redefine what a thin and light notebook can do,” Ternus says, handing us to Mac Product Line Manager Laura Metz,.
It looks almost identical to the last generation of MacBook Airs, but is “almost 3.5x faster”, Metz says. “With the world’s fastest integrated graphics, Air delivers almost 5x faster graphics, and for the first time you can edit multiple streams of 4K video without dropping a frame.”
It’s “up to three times faster than the fastest laptop in its class” apparently, which is a mouthful. But also faster than “98% of PC laptops sold last year”, which is… also a slightly confusing claim.
Here’s something genuinely new, though: the laptop doesn’t have a fan, at all. Its battery life can go up to 18 hours for video. And it’s got a new front-facing video camera… chip. The camera itself is the same, though, if I’m reading between the lines – but the image is processed differently.
It starts, Metz says, at “just $999”.
at 6.31pm GMT
Now the big question: we know what’s going to be inside the new computers. But what are the new computers going to be?
Craig Federighi next, the dad-joke-spouting head of Apple’s software teams. He’s here to introduce macOS Big Sur, the latest version of the operating system, and talk up how well it works with the M1 chip.
A lot of this has been already announced, but he says Safari will be up to 1.9x faster, the Mac will be able to better manage battery life, and it will do fancy stuff with the new RAM to stop having to copy data across different parts of the computer.
Federighi also reassures users that their apps will carry on working. Some apps will be “Universal”, made for the M1 chip from scratch; some will run through “Rosetta”, which allows older apps to run on the new hardware, “sometimes even faster” than they were before. On top of that, the system can run iPhone and iPad apps natively – Among Us and HBO Max listed.
That’s followed by a sweet video from a bunch of independent Mac developers all geeking out about how much they enjoyed working on their developer units. “It’s amazing to see developers taking advantage of the incredible performance and features of M1 and Big Sur,” Federighi says, passing back to Ternus.
Here’s the overview of the M1:
The M1 also has the GPU, or graphics processor, built in. With a further eight cores, it delivers twice the performance of the “latest laptop GPU”, he says, leading to “the world’s fasted integrated graphics”.
There’s more! A 16 core “neural engine” and “secure enclave”, two techs introduced in iPhones, for dedicated AI processing and high security.
Ternus hands over to Johny Srouji, the SVP of hardware engineering, to talk about the specifics. It’s going to get technical, but I’ll do my best to translate.
The M1 is a “system on a chip”, or SOC, like its forebears at Apple. That means that a whole bunch of features that were spread out across a whole laptop motherboard are now crammed into the one chip, saving money and space, and boosting efficient comms between all the features.
Srouji says the M1 core is the “world’s fastest CPU core”, and it has four of them, and another four “high efficiency cores.” That “world’s fastest” claim is going to be put under a lot of scrutiny, but Apple’s chips have held up to such claims before.
It also, he says, delivers the world’s best “performance per Watt”, backed up with a lovely totally-unlabelled chart.
The M1 chip
A short montage of celebrities, activists, musicians and filmmakers (and Lisa Simpson) all working on their Macs leads us to John Ternus, the SVP of Hardware Engineering.
“Now it’s time for the Mac to take a gigantic leap forward,” Ternus says. “At the core of this effort is Apple Silicon. It’s at the heart of iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch – and now we want to bring it to the Mac.”
The first Apple Silicon chip is called the M1, Ternus reveals. “It is a stunningly capable chip, and it ushers in a whole new era for the Mac.”
at 6.24pm GMT
And we’re off, with jaunty pop playing over shots of a still-empty Apple Park taking us to Tim Cook standing in Apple’s cavernous staff cafeteria. “It’s amazing to think that this is our third major event in just the past two months,” Cook says. “We’re on an unbelievable pace of new product releases, delivering more products this fall than ever before.”
Cook runs down some of those launches – new iPads, iPhones, operating systems and more. “But there is just … ‘one more thing’,” he says. “It’s time to talk about the Mac.”
at 6.08pm GMT
The last few events have unfolded at a breakneck pace, so we don’t expect to be here much longer than an hour. But that pace can make it hard to keep up with everything that’s being said, so please forgive us if we don’t catch every detail!
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live blog of Apple’s third and final autumn 2020 press event. We’ll be kicking off at 10am Pacific Time – that’s 6pm UK time, and 5am in New South Wales if you’re up early for all the latest news.
We’re expecting to see a refresh to all of Apple’s laptops today, as the company finally pulls the trigger on its long-planned divorce with Intel. Expect lots of discussion of “blazing fast” computers, and reassurance that your software will carry on working.
That’s unlikely to be all we get, though, so be on the lookout for a grab-bag of other products including, potentially, the launch of Apple’s “AirTag” object-tracking hardware.
If you want to watch along live, Apple is streaming the event on YouTube, which I’ve also embedded above. Otherwise, stick around here for the next hour. Be honest: it’s not like you’ve anywhere better to be.
at 5.52pm GMT