- In the week before its big “It’s Showtime” event in Cupertino, California, Apple surprised fans with a litany of hardware-related announcements.
- Apple updated its AirPods, MacBook Pros, iMacs, iMac Pros, and more.
- We have the full day-to-day breakdown of everything Apple unveiled over the course of the week.
Apple is holding a big event on Monday, where it’s expected to showcase a new streaming video service and a platform for getting all of your news subscriptions in one place.
But Apple didn’t rest in the week prior to the show. Instead, it surprised fans with not just one, or two, but 15 different announcements spread over the course of this past week.
Here are all of Apple’s surprise announcements from this week:
MONDAY: Apple announced the fifth-generation iPad Mini, which supports Apple Pencil for the first time.
The new iPad Mini is powered by the same chip that powers the iPhone XS and XR – Apple’s A12 Bionic processor – and features an improved Retina display and slightly better selfie camera. It also works with the Apple Pencil now, but only the first-generation model, and not the slick, newer version that was announced with the new iPad Pros.
The WiFi-only iPad Mini starts at $US399, and the Cellular model starts at $US529.
MONDAY: Apple introduced a new iPad Air.
The new iPad Air was given similar updates to the new iPad Mini: It also has the A12 Bionic chip, an improved 105-inch Retina display, and support for the first-generation Apple Pencil.
It starts at $US449 for WiFi only, and $US629 for WiFi and Cellular.
TUESDAY: Apple updated its iMac computers with new chips.
Apple says its all-in-one desktop computer, the iMac, is now twice as fast thanks to the inclusion of Intel’s 8th- and 9th-generation Core processors.
The iMac still comes in two display options – 21.5-inch Retina 4K, or 27-inch Retina 5K – but now you can configure your computer with 6- and 8-core processors, which should greatly improve performance. Apple also updated the graphics processors, too.
The 21.5-inch iMac starts at $US1,299, and the 27-inch iMac starts at $US1,799.
TUESDAY: The iMac Pro gets beefier new graphics and memory options.
Apple’s most powerful all-in-one desktop got even more juice, now that the computer can be configured with up to 256 GB of DDR4 memory, and the Radeon Pro Vega 64X graphics card.
The iMac Pro starts at $US5,000: Upgrading to the Vega 64X chip costs an extra $US700, and getting the beefiest memory option will set you back an extra $US5,200, which costs more than the computer itself.
TUESDAY: Apple lowered prices for built-in MacBook Pro storage.
Entry-level storage prices for the MacBook Pro didn’t change, but Apple knocked off anywhere from $US200 to $US400 for the higher-end storage options of two terabytes or more. MacRumors has a full breakdown of the price changes.
WEDNESDAY: Apple unveiled its second-generation AirPods.
Apple’s new AirPods are powered by a new Apple-designed H1 chip, which gives the wireless earbuds up to 50% more talk time compared to the original AirPods, and the ability to activate Siri hands-free.
Apple says the H1 chip also lets AirPods make quicker switches between Apple devices – up to two times faster – and also makes faster connections for phone calls, or if you’re using your headphones to play games. (We wouldn’t be surprised to see the H1 chip powering Apple’s rumoured over-ear headphones, which are said to debut this year.)
Apple’s new AirPods still cost $US159 like the first edition, but if you want to get them with a nifty new wireless charging case, they will cost $US199.
WEDNESDAY: Apple released new spring-coloured Silicone cases for the iPhone XS and XS Max, which you can now buy in “Spearmint,” “Papaya,” and “Delft Blue” colours.
The iPhone XS Leather Cases and Leather Folio are getting three new spring colours: “Cornflower,” “Sunset,” and “Lilac.”
The iPhone XS Smart Battery case, which is available in black and white, is also now available in “pink sand.”
Apple is making many of these spring colours into Apple Watch bands. The Sport Band will now be available in “Spearmint,” “Delft Blue,” and “Papaya.”
The Nike Sport Bands, which are made of the same materials as Apple’s Sport Bands, are getting three new colour combinations: “Black/Hyper Grape,” “Spruce Fog/Vintage Lichen,” and “Teal Tint/Tropical Twist.” I would love to meet whoever came up with these names.
Apple’s (superior, in my opinion) Sport Loop wristbands are getting new spring colours too: “Papaya,” “Cerulean,” and “Spearmint.”
And Nike’s Sport Loop Bands got five new colours: “Spruce Fog,” “Teal Tint,” “Hyper Grape,” “Summer White,” and “Black.”
Apple’s Modern Buckle and Leather Loop wristbands got “Cornflower” and “Sunset” options, while the Modern Buckle got a nice “Lilac” colour.
Apple released new colours for its Hermès watch bands as well, in both single and double tour options, which cost anywhere from $US339 to $US539 apiece. The new options include “Rose Sakura/Craie/Argile,” “Bleu Lin/Craei/Bleu Du Nord,” and “Etoupe.”
THURSDAY: Everyone expected Apple to finally announce AirPower, its long-awaited wireless charging mat, but it didn’t happen.
It’s still possible we’ll see Apple release AirPower next week, as part of its big March 25 event. For what it’s worth, Taiwanese publication DigiTimes said on Friday that Apple will release AirPower in “late March,” and there is still time for more surprises before the month ends.
An AirPower release feels imminent based on all of the information out there, especially since Apple won the trademark for the name earlier this week, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple push the release date a little further out – perhaps all the way to September, when the company typically unveils new iPhones, which support wireless charging.
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