'i' on power: Apple adds iMac, iPad to M1 line-up; AirTags finally unveiled
New purple iPhone 12, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions and refreshed Apple TV 4K also introduced
Apple on Tuesday announced that two more of its machines will now be running on its breakthrough processor — plus a 'new' iPhone as well — in its first-ever major event for the year, picking up its momentum from where it left off in a very eventful 2020.
The tech giant said that its in-house M1 Silicon chip will now be powering the newest iterations of the iMac and iPad Pro, joining the first M1 versions of the MacBook, MacBook Air and Mac mini that were rolled out in December.
The announcement is another big step for the Cupertino firm in consolidating its products into a tightly-knit ecosystem on both hardware and software fronts. Apple has said that it intends to transition to its Silicon chips within two years when it made the first M1 products available.
CEO Tim Cook, giving his keynote at the virtual event from Apple Park, emphasised the need for more powerful and versatile products as people continue to adjust to a new world order in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"After the challenges of this past year, we're optimistic that brigher days are just in front of us," he said.
"As we move forward, we feel it's important that Apple continues to make a difference in people's lives."
Apple's new iMac has been completely redesigned "from the ground up" — think of it as an oversized iPad with a stand attached to it — that features a 24-inch 4.5K Retina display and 11.3 million pixels. It comes with a new magnetic connector and its redesigned Magic Keyboard now comes with Touch ID — the first time it will be used on such.
It promises up to 85 per cent faster CPU performance, twice the graphics speed and up to three times better machine learning capabilities.
And while its sleek design is already an 'eye-popper', there are also seven colours to choose from, which adds more to its aesthetics: Up front are light and warm hues, while its rear finish jumps out.
“With its striking design in seven stunning colours, its immersive 4.5K Retina display, the best camera, mics, and speakers ever in a Mac, and Touch ID, combined with the amazing performance of M1 and the power of macOS Big Sur, the new iMac takes everything people love about iMac to an entirely new level," said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing.
The M1 chip allows the iMac to navigate through processes almost instantly, according to Apple. The processor, which crams several CPU components into one, made the slimmer and more power-efficient design possible.
The new iPad Pro, meanwhile, is Apple's first mobile device that will run on the M1. This is another big leap for users of the popular tablet and continues Apple's commitment to support creators on the go.
The 12.9-inch device — "a magical sheet of glass that can be anything you want it to be" — now features a new Liquid Retina XDR display brings 'extreme' dynamic range. Apple promises up to 50 per cent faster CPU performance than the previous iPad chip, the A12Z Bionic, and its 8-core GPU can reach up to 40 per cent faster speeds.
Connectivity has also been improved, with Thunderbolt 4 support, ensuring and cellular models configured to make the most of 5G, ensuring faster transfers and communications. It also has a new ultra-wide camera that features Center Stage, which frames users during video interactions.
"The revolutionary M1 chip has been a breakthrough for the Mac, and we’re incredibly excited to bring it to iPad Pro... there's nothing else like it," said Joswiak.
Both the iMac and iPad Pro will be available for pre-orders on April 30 and shipping will be in the second half of May. They start at Dh5,499 and Dh3,199, respectively.
AirTags and a 'new' iPhone
Apple also finally introduced its AirTag Bluetooth finder, expanding its Find My ecosystem without compromising on user privacy and security.
The round, lightweight and customisable iPhone accessory — which had been rumoured for a long time — can be attached to a user's most important and personal things. It uses what Apple dubs as Precision Finding, using its U1 chip to get the precise distance from where the AirTag is. All location data are private and not even Apple can track them.
"With its design, unparalleled finding experience and built-in privacy and security features, AirTag will provide customers with another way to leverage the power of the Apple ecosystem and enhance the versatility of iPhone," said Kaiann Drance, Apple’s vice-president of worldwide iPhone product marketing.
A single AirTag is priced at Dh129, while a pack of four goes for Dh439. It will be available starting on April 30.
Also at the event, Apple introduced Podcasts Subscriptions, a global marketplace for discovering premium subscriptions offered by creators, along with millions of free shows.
The service will be available in over 170 countries from May, with ad-free listening, access to additional content and early or exclusive access to new series among the benefits.
"Apple Podcasts is the best place for listeners to discover and enjoy millions of great shows, and we are proud to lead the next chapter of podcasting," said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice-president of Internet software and services.
Additionally, Apple announced the next-generation Apple TV 4K, with a new high frame rate HDR with Dolby Vision, enabling fast-moving 60fps action, and a redesigned Siri Remote.
Now using the A12 Bionic chip, the refreshed device is a "deep integration of Apple hardware, software and services that delivers a massive upgrade to any TV for the very best cinematic experience", said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice-president of worldwide product marketing.
And, as an added bonus, Apple also introduced a new purple colour option to the iPhone 12 and 12 mini — complete with matching accessories. It will be available starting on April 23.
"The new purple finish, just in time for spring, adds another bright and fun option to the line-up, and we think customers are going to love it,” added Joswiak.
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