WWW…Wednesday! Apple Unleashed 2021
by Taylor Slattery | November 9, 2021
In October, Apple held their “Unleashed” event, unveiling the next iterations in several product lines as well as plans for a new tier of Apple Music, aimed at encouraging users to make use of Siri. The biggest news of the event came in the form of the announcement of Apple’s next generation of silicon, the M1 Pro and M1 Max.
Last year saw the introduction of the M1 chip, which was the first Apple-made processor to be used in products other than smaller, mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. This marked Apple’s departure from Intel, whose CPUs they had used up until this point, bringing Apple Silicon to the entirety of the product lineup. Following its announcement, the M1 chip was adopted across the board through last year’s lineup of Macbooks, both Air and Pro, the Mac Mini, iMac, and iPad Pro. The chip was met with critical acclaim, bringing a much-needed update to some of Apple’s more tired product series and revitalizing less-considered options like the Mac Mini.
Following up on last year’s success, Apple has announced the M1 Pro and M1 Max, the next stage in the evolution of Apple’s silicon. The new chips expand on the successes of their predecessor, increasing the total CPU core count from 8 to 10, giving them an advertised performance boost of 70% over the 8-core M1. Additionally, the GPU received a massive increase in power, with significantly greater performance per watt, resulting in a boost of 13x the previous generation.
Those looking to get their hands on the new Apple processors will have their choice between Apple’s new MacBook Pros, in both a 14 and 16-inch variant. This new line marks a return to form for much of what made the MacBook Pro popular. The new MacBook Pro has done away with the touch bar gimmick and USB-C of the previous generation, bringing with it the return of the much-missed MagSafe power adapter and SD card slot, features that users of past generations will be glad to have back. Oh, and also, it has a notch.
The other significant hardware announcement at the event was the third generation of AirPods. In addition to a facelift, the latest iteration of the entry-level AirPods has received an increased battery life, MagSafe compatible charger, and spatial audio, all while coming in at $20 cheaper than its predecessor.
The HomePod mini also comes in 3 new colors, an orange, yellow, and blue variant in addition to the original white and black. These were announced alongside a new tier of Apple Music that comes in at half the price of the service’s base $9.99 individual plan, but with one caveat—you’ll have to use Siri to access it. The new Voice Plan option offers access to the same Apple Music catalog as the other plans, but with Siri being the only means of accessing it.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.