Apple's October Event: A Huge Day for the Mac

6 min read • 18 October, 2021.

In a very upbeat intro, the numbers counted down only helping build the excitement with what was to come: Apple's October event. My hopes were high for some new Macbooks and perhaps a new iMac. With the intro of sampling the blueberry G3. I was on the edge of my seat praying that we would get to see some of the classic Mac features return like MagSafe and more. The upbeat intro got me, and I imagine several others, ready for an event to remember.

Airpods: Pros without the Tip

This was something a lot of people were waiting for. I didn't really expect, nor want new Airpods since I really can't use anything other than IEMs with the tips I've got made for them. The new Airpods essentially took the Airpod Pros and remove the tips that help them block out noise, give better clarity and sound, and help stay snug in your ears.

To help mitigate the clairty and sound, the new Airpods use an EQ helper to ensure the audio is tuned for your ears to sound how you like them. They also added "MagSafe" to the case, which was horrifically extra. Starting at 179 US$, but you can still buy the 2nd generation for 129 US$.

M1 Pro and Max: Hate the names, Love the chips

Although I hate the name of the new chip, the M1 Pro is what's powering the new laptop. Although we won't know until it launches, this chip nets the new Macs:

  • 200GB/s of memory of bandwidth (3x more than M1)
  • only 32Go of RAM at most
  • 8- or 10- core CPU (8 high-power, 2 low-power)
  • 14- or 16- core GPU (2x faster than M1, according to Apple)

These specs are actually a bit disappointing for me, as pro workloads usually require far more than 32Go of RAM. Although for many prosumers this will be fine, it worries me for when I edit videos that I'd reach the memory limit quickly. Fortunately, Apple released the also terrible named M1 Max. It has double the memory bandwidth, up to 64Go of RAM, and 24- or 32- core's on the GPU. Sadly, it still has only a 10-core CPU, but we'll see if that becomes a bottleneck or not. There were some power comparisons that admittedly were still pretty vague, but at least was labelled properly this time.

Assuming however that their ability to stay powerful on battery and match the chonkster gaming laptops (which I assume are there non-compact pro laptops), I'd be lying if I said wasn't excited to see these new chips. My laptop (2018 Razer Blade Stealth) barely makes it through a day at school (~5hrs of moderate usage), requiring at least one charge throughout the day to keep working.

The New MacBook Pro: F*ck yes.

Seeing that familiar port made my heart skip a beat and reminded me of back in 2009 when I had a MacBook with the same crevice. They created a device that I can truly say is a Pro laptop again.

Keyboard- The touchbar is dead. I am okay with this. The function keys are back but they are oddly large in my opinion. It's actually almost unsettlingly large to the point that it might be a killer for me considering this laptop.

Ports- The return of HDMI and the SD card slot, as well as MagSafe is more than welcomed. It would have been dope to see a USB-A port as well, but this is a compromise I'm more than willing to have.

Display- I don't know if I quite approve of the notch. Although it won't have any issues in videos or with programs, it does take some things out of full-screen apps and games, in theory. The refresh rate bump on the MBP actually means that Apple has brought high refresh rate to all of their devices, sans the Pro Display (afaik). Speaking of: the MBP's screen is the same mini-LED on the Pro Display and iPad, meaning it should display HDR content breathlessly, as well as everything else. It peaks at 1600 nits and can sustain 1000. If they introduced say Face ID with the notch, then I would be very much fine with it.

Cameras and microphones- The new 1080p camera is great upgrade, which should allow for great image quality for calls. The microphones should sound generally solid, same with the speakers. If you care about proper sound and quality, you already know these won't cut it fidelity-wise.

Performance and battery life- In theory, we're looking at crazy better performance compared to their former Intel counterparts. Their advertising of up to 64Go of memory for the GPU is honestly a general load of waffle since it's shared, just like normal integrated graphics, with the system memory, even if it's tied together into one SoC. Battery life is of course vaguely put, but they estimate 17 hours of usage (21 on 16"). They didn't mention overall life (unless I was deaf at that time). The batteries also can charge to 50% after 30 minutes, which is really solid.

These new laptops are generally breathtaking. The 14-inch starts at 1999 US$ and the 16-inch at 2499 US$. There is the catch that the 64Go of memory is only on the M1 Max SKUs, not the M1 Pros.

Minor things

Apple's curated a metric crap tonne of genres and moods and to make it so Siri can be more helpful. The new smart speaker plan, dubbed Voice Plan, matches Amazon's offering and allows you to basically get Apple Music half off as long as you're fine with asking Siri for everything.

The Homepod Mini also got a slight refresh in some new colours: red, orange and blue. To me, this was a pretty minor update, but it would be sick to see the full-fat Homepod get a refresh.

Conclusion

The new MacBook gets me excited to see the future of Apple Silicon on their other Macs, not to mention it makes me even more excited for the silicon to come to the other prosumer and professional Macs in their lineup.