Here's everything Apple announced this week from AirPods to iMacs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 23
In the last seven days, Apple has revamped its iPad Air, iPad mini, iMacs, and AirPods and also introduced new Watch bands as well as iPhone cases. If that wasn't enough, the company has also announced a big update to its entire iWork suite. Here's a round up of all the products Apple has brought out ahead of its March 25 "Its show time" event.




While Apple has skipped March events in the past, when it did have one, it has never hosted one that did not feature hardware. Equally, there have been Apple special events that introduced a lot less than we got this week.

In advance of its March 25 event, Apple has systematically launched revisions to its Mac, iPad and AirPods products, plus updated Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- and unveiled new colors for its Apple Watch bands and iPhone cases. There are also new Smart Covers for the iPads.

Even excluding the different capacities of the iPads and iMacs, Apple launched eight products this week. Here are all the details.

New iPads

The first two of the new releases, and the only ones to cause Apple to temporarily close down the online Store, were the revival of the iPad mini and the iPad Air. These arrived with a price tag of $399 and $499 respectively, and also brought the A12 Bionic processor (here's how to save $10 with no tax outside NY and NJ, however).

The new 2019 iPad mini supports the Apple Pencil
The new 2019 iPad mini supports the Apple Pencil


You now have the choice of the regular iPad at $329, these two new models in the middle, and then the iPad Pro machines which start at $799.

Together the new iPad Air and iPad mini represent the sweet spot in the whole iPad line with their better balance of power, features and price.

New iMacs

The new iPads might normally be the centerpiece of an Apple event but this time they were launched on the website with little fanfare. Yet in comparison, Apple practically sneaked its new iMacs out. There was a press release, but otherwise the first you could have noticed about the launch was that the specifications on the Apple Store's page changed.

Apple's updated 27-inch iMac 5K
Apple's updated 27-inch iMac 5K


They didn't change dramatically. This is still the same 21.5-inch iMac 4K and 27-inch iMac 5K as far as the basic design is concerned. However, they are both markedly faster. That's especially noticeable when you upgrade the GPU as the optional Radeon Pro Vega 20 makes the 21.5-inch model deliver 80 percent faster graphics.

The 27-inch model can be updated with a Radeon Pro Vega 48 which provides 50 percent faster graphics than before. Those looking to pre-order a new iMac should check out our guide on how to save up to $120.

New AirPods

If the new iPads came out with a least a little bit of a bang, and the new iMacs tiptoed out, somewhere in the middle was the attention paid to the AirPods. A revised AirPod release has been expected but it was thought that it wouldn't come at least until Apple ships its much-delayed AirPower charging pad.

That was because we were expecting the first revision to the AirPods to be solely the addition of a wireless charging case that could work with the AirPower system. We did get that revised case, and it will work with any Qi charger, but we also got improved battery life and how the AirPods now listen out for you to say "Hey, Siri."

The new AirPods with the wired charging case retails for $159, but the version that includes the long-awaited Wireless Charging Case is $199 ($10 off through March 26 with our exclusive coupon, however).

As for that AirPower charging mat, we're still waiting -- but may not have to wait for much longer.

New Apple Watch bands and iPhone cases

They may not be as dramatic as the new iPads, the new AirPods or the new Macs, but Apple also launched many new Apple Watch bands and iPhone protective cases.

One of the many new covers Apple has released for the iPad Air, iPad mini and iPhone
One of the many new covers Apple has released for the iPad Air, iPad mini and iPhone


It's really that new colors have been released -- such as Spearmint and Papaya -- and several older colors have been retired.

Apple also brought out revisions to its Smart Cover keyboards for the new iPads, though, including a PRODUCT(RED) one for the iPad Air.

Pages, Numbers and Keynote

Away from hardware, Apple also announced updates to the iWorks apps of Pages, Numbers and Keynote. These won't actually be available until after the March 25 event, but they are bringing greater collaboration features.

The forthcoming iWork update lets you draw a path for animated objects to follow
The forthcoming iWork update lets you draw a path for animated objects to follow


All three apps will also include better syncing between the Mac and iOS versions, all have Apple Pencil support, and each has specific extra functions to do with editing text, designing page layouts and so on.

It's chiefly a case of bringing the iOS versions of these apps more in line with the macOS ones.

Busy times

The rumors had always been that Apple was planning a March event without any hardware. Yet if anyone predicted that we would instead get updated devices beforehand, surely nobody expected Apple to release quite so much.

With this series of press releases, Apple has updated its macOS, iOS and AirPods hardware plus provided new options for its Apple Watch range.

There have been keynote presentations based on less. And while we now definitely won't see new hardware announced at the March 25 event, we are bound to see these new devices in action.

After all, Apple wants you left in no doubt over which devices you should be watching the new streaming video service on.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,652member
    It would have been nice had Apple included 4 TB3/USBc ports on the new iMac, line my 2018 Mac mini has.  I'm almost all USBc now and limiting it to two ports is a bit confining... especially for those having dual monitors.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,968member
    FCPX / Motion / Compressor updates as well. Busy week! 
  • Reply 3 of 9
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,968member
    sflocal said:
    It would have been nice had Apple included 4 TB3/USBc ports on the new iMac, line my 2018 Mac mini has.  I'm almost all USBc now and limiting it to two ports is a bit confining... especially for those having dual monitors.
    I feel like this was a stopgap update with the existing design before the expected case/screen refresh due whenever all those stars align (CPU/GPU chipsets and displays). My bet is they’ll be using whatever screen in a new display launched alongside the Mac Pro, after which (or simultaneously?) launching those screen sizes on the iMac/iMac Pro. At that point they’ll have a full case redesign and do four TB3 ports etc. 
    smack416
  • Reply 4 of 9
    rockawrockaw Posts: 17member
    AirPods with Hey Siri. This so-called feature escapes me. I have the old AirPods. Tap one of them and tell Siri what you want. Hey Siri is useful for HomePod, because it's across the room from me and out of my reach but AirPods are about as close as they can possibly be -- they're IN MY EARS.

    Actually, I think the need to talk to my earphones is a major fail. The whole point of earphones is to be quiet and not bother other people. Here's a free tip, Apple: turn the AirPod stalk into a touch enabled volume slider.
    bigpicswilliamlondonmacplusplus
  • Reply 5 of 9
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,303member
    The whole point of earphones is to be quiet and not bother other people.

    Or – the whole point of headphones is to isolate yourself and not be bothered by other people and ambient noise.

    Or – to better appreciate audio nuances.

    You can always use the Watch or iPhone to control the volume when talking to Siri might be awkward.

    I welcome 'Hey Siri' as it's probably more reliable than the Tap to Summon Siri and it frees up a tap to do something else.

    williamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 9
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,094member
    rockaw said:
    AirPods with Hey Siri. This so-called feature escapes me. I have the old AirPods. Tap one of them and tell Siri what you want. Hey Siri is useful for HomePod, because it's across the room from me and out of my reach but AirPods are about as close as they can possibly be -- they're IN MY EARS.

    Actually, I think the need to talk to my earphones is a major fail. The whole point of earphones is to be quiet and not bother other people. Here's a free tip, Apple: turn the AirPod stalk into a touch enabled volume slider.
    I disagree. The "Hey Siri" feature is actually extremely useful when you don't want to physically tap the AirPods, for example, you are typing, painting, washing dishes, reclined on the couch, working on a hands-on hobby, reading a newspaper, gardening, making pottery, juggling, fishing, etc. Using the AirPod stalk as a volume control may have some utility, but at least for me, pressing on the stalk when the AirPod is inside my ear would make it feel like I'm trying to wedge the thing out of my ear. If the sensitivity was such that only a very light touch is needed it would then be susceptible to the slightest rub, say when you're wearing a hoodie, have long hair, wearing dangling earrings, or have a lanyard on your sunglasses.

    In fact, if Apple were able to replicate what Amazon has done with "whisper mode" on its Echo devices (it's friggen awesome) the"Hey Siri" feature would also be noninvasive and completely appropriate in quiet environments. You really should check out Amazon's "whisper mode" on an Echo device before jumping to any conclusions about the appropriateness of voice interaction in quiet environments. It works even from across the room. I use it all of the time to cancel my wake-up alarm when I wake up before it goes off and I don't want to disturb my spouse. Amazon nailed it with this feature.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 9
    dewme said:
    rockaw said:
    AirPods with Hey Siri. This so-called feature escapes me. I have the old AirPods. Tap one of them and tell Siri what you want. Hey Siri is useful for HomePod, because it's across the room from me and out of my reach but AirPods are about as close as they can possibly be -- they're IN MY EARS.

    Actually, I think the need to talk to my earphones is a major fail. The whole point of earphones is to be quiet and not bother other people. Here's a free tip, Apple: turn the AirPod stalk into a touch enabled volume slider.
    I disagree. The "Hey Siri" feature is actually extremely useful when you don't want to physically tap the AirPods, for example, you are typing, painting, washing dishes, reclined on the couch, working on a hands-on hobby, reading a newspaper, gardening, making pottery, juggling, fishing, etc. Using the AirPod stalk as a volume control may have some utility, but at least for me, pressing on the stalk when the AirPod is inside my ear would make it feel like I'm trying to wedge the thing out of my ear. If the sensitivity was such that only a very light touch is needed it would then be susceptible to the slightest rub, say when you're wearing a hoodie, have long hair, wearing dangling earrings, or have a lanyard on your sunglasses.

    In fact, if Apple were able to replicate what Amazon has done with "whisper mode" on its Echo devices (it's friggen awesome) the"Hey Siri" feature would also be noninvasive and completely appropriate in quiet environments. You really should check out Amazon's "whisper mode" on an Echo device before jumping to any conclusions about the appropriateness of voice interaction in quiet environments. It works even from across the room. I use it all of the time to cancel my wake-up alarm when I wake up before it goes off and I don't want to disturb my spouse. Amazon nailed it with this feature.
    I’m more concerned by the fact my 1 year old is a more useful voice assistant than Siri. If Apple is adding Siri everywhere, they better up the ante. It’s absolutely horrible and I have disabled it on every device now.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 9
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,588member
    I’m more concerned by the fact my 1 year old is a more useful voice assistant than Siri.
    Your one-year-old knows the weather in San Francisco and what time your flight leaves?

    You're full of shit, buddy. Siri may arguably not be the best voice assistant out there, but it's incredibly useful. Maybe collect your thoughts before you talk to it next time. See also: this very site's LENGTHY video demonstrating all the things you can ask Siri.
    edited April 10 fastasleep
  • Reply 9 of 9
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,968member
    chasm said:
    I’m more concerned by the fact my 1 year old is a more useful voice assistant than Siri.
    Your one-year-old knows the weather in San Francisco and what time your flight leaves?

    You're full of shit, buddy. Siri may arguably not be the best voice assistant out there, but it's incredibly useful. Maybe collect your thoughts before you talk to it next time. See also: this very site's LENGTHY video demonstrating all the things you can ask Siri.
    1yo's don't have geofenced alerts either.
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