- Apple held a big event on Tuesday in Brooklyn, New York, to debut new iPads and Mac computers.
- Overall, the presentation was much better than the company’s event in September, where it launched new iPhones and Apple Watches.
- The latest Apple products look fun and exciting, but Apple also deserves credit for making its event shorter than last time, choosing new presenters who were clearly excited to be on stage, and even getting the audience into it.
Last month, Apple held its big annual iPhone event – and it was pretty disappointing. It had none of the surprises Apple is known for, and the company even discontinued a handful of beloved products, something many people didn’t see coming.
But Apple knocked its big iPad and Mac showcase on Tuesday out of the park.
The products are new and exciting
The MacBook Air and Mac Mini were two updates that were a long time coming. The last meaningful Mac Mini update, for instance, was more than 1,400 days ago.
So Apple delivered in this very basic respect by updating these beloved computers – but the new products actually look excellent.
The new MacBook Air has a Retina display, Touch ID, and USB-C for both power and data transfer – and no Touch Bar, thank goodness.
The new Mac Mini can be configured with six cores and up to 64 GB of RAM, and you can daisy-chain numerous Mac Minis together for all your computing needs.
With both devices, Apple addressed those customers looking for powerful mobile and desktop computers.
And of course we have to talk about the new iPad Pro, which really does look like the biggest improvement to the iPad since the very first iPad Air. It’s similar to the jump that the iPhone made last year when Apple introduced the iPhone X.
The new iPad Pro is a complete redesign – it comes in 11- or 12.9-inch sizes, replaces the traditional home button with Touch ID, and features a nearly edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display, the same you’d find on the new iPhone XR.
Apple also built all-new accessories to go with the new iPad Pro, including a redesigned Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. Both now “click” onto the tablet using special magnets and connectors, and they get all their power directly from the tablet. It’s the kind of incredible innovation we’ve come to expect from Apple.
What’s nice about these new products is that the people on stage to present them seemed genuinely excited to talk about them.
All the presenters were excellent, but Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tom Boger, the head of Mac product marketing, were particular standouts; both seemed energetic and excited to share Apple’s news.
It was also nice to see a healthy representation of men and women on stage this time around. Whereas Apple has been criticised in the past (and rightly so) for having too many white male presenters, the company seems to have listened to those complaints. Angela Ahrendts, Laura Legros, Shaan Pruden, and even Jamie Myrold from Adobe helped balance out the show and kept it from feeling as if Apple events are by men, for men. And yes, representation actually does matter when you’re broadcasting your company event to millions of people around the world.
Finally, the audience seemed really into the show. It’s a small detail, but hearing the whoops and hollers, even when Cook walked on stage, made the event feel more, well, eventful. (Apparently, the people in the front rows were mostly if not all Apple employees, but if that’s what it takes to make the show more exciting, the company should keep planting more of those audience members in the future.)
A fitting end to a year of Apple shows
Tuesday’s event was most likely the last time we’ll see Apple showing off new products in 2018. If so, the company went out with a bang.
The new iPad Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini were three incredibly important updates. Of course, the iPhone is the most important product Apple makes, but the company had needed to address its most “affordable” computers for a long time, and those customers – mostly students, young professionals, and artists – are sure to be happy with these updates, even though they’re all priced higher than their predecessors. (The new Mac Mini costs $US300 more to start than before, which stings.)
Still, Tuesday’s show had everything you’d want from an Apple event: real innovation, a handful of surprises, some gorgeous new product videos, and a feeling that you need that new gadget.
The event wasn’t perfect – 90 minutes could have been trimmed down, even if it wasn’t as long as the two hours in September – but my excitement for Apple’s new products continued long after it ended. I could not say the same for last month’s event.