At one point in time, Apple was totally dependent on Intel to supply high-performance chips for its Mac. Things took a turn last year when Cupertino announced its new laptops and desktops will use custom M1 silicon, instead of processors from Intel. Monday’s event will prove pivotal for Apple as the company is rumoured to announce a more powerful “M1X” processor that will power its high-end MacBook Pros aimed at creative professionals. During the second fall event of the year, CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives will show previews of the next-generation MacBook Pros alongside a “pro-level” Mac mini desktop for the first time. There are also rumours the company may announce the AirPods 3, a sequel to its hit truly wireless earbuds.
Here’s a taste of what we expect to see on Monday.
The “M1X chip”
The 13-inch MacBook Pro, 24-inch iMac and MacBook Air all use Apple’s custom M1 silicon. The chipset is fast, consumes less power and offers long battery life. But M1 was just the first time showcasing what Apple’s Silicon team can achieve. The M1X or whatever it’s called won’t replace the original M1 processor. Instead, the chipset will replace higher-end Macs that are currently on the market…the 16-inch MacBook Pro and the Intel Mac mini. The exact specifications of the M1X aren’t known but we do know that the new chipset will have more processor cores, more GPU cores, support for more external monitors, etc. A report last year claimed that this new high-performance chip will offer as many as 16 performance cores and either 16 or 32 GPU cores compared to seven or eight cores available in M1.
New MacBook Pros
MacBook Pros need no introduction. They have been an important part of the Mac lineup for years, targeting specific “pro” consumers. During Monday’s event, Apple is most likely to announce two MacBook Pros, available in 14-inch and 16-inch screen sizes. The big change, of course, will be the included M1X processor that will be powerful enough to meet the demands of graphic designers and creators. The biggest buzz this year about the new MacBook Pros is the design change. The last big design revamp happened in 2016 when the new MacBook Pro was announced. Rumour has it that the new MacBook Pros will have a flat-edge design, just like the iPhone 13 Pro and iPad Pro. Other changes include the return of MagSafe power connection, a high-refresh screen featuring mini LED technology, a full-sized HDMI port, and SD card reader, a 1080p webcam, and three Thunderbolt ports for connecting to external monitors. Apple may also remove the touch bar in favour of a physical row of function keys.
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New Mac mini
The existing Mac mini is a fast desktop computer aimed at entry-level consumers. But time and again questions are being raised over what Apple is doing to make the Mac mini exciting. The truth is Apple hasn’t done much to make the mac mini exciting enough for people to upgrade. Considering that the Mac mini hasn’t got a revamp in years, experts predict the lookout for a high-end mini computer at Monday’s Apple event. While last year the Mac mini did get the M1 chip, it would be hard to call it an exciting update. It’s fine for regular tasks, including basic photo editing and video editing But the next-generation Mac mini will be tweaked in a major way. First up, it will get the M1X processor, giving the Mac mini a “pro” treatment. According to reports, the new mac mini will retain the same design but will be smaller in overall size and footprint. Per YouTuber Jon Prosser, the updated Mac mini will have a “plexiglass-like” top, which will sit above the aluminum enclosure. Prosser also says that the new Mac mini will feature the same magnetic power port that debuted in the 24-inch iMac. The new Mac mini will have the same ports currently available on the Intel-based Mac mini, which includes four Thunderbolt, two USB-A, Ethernet, and HDMI. Expect the upcoming Mac mini to cost more than the current Mac mini.
Although macOS Monterey is a minor update, it does bring several new features to Mac including an improved FaceTime experience, the Shared With You feature and SharePlay for enjoying content in sync with friends. Interestingly, Apple is further blurring the lines between Mac and iPad with Universal Control, which lets you use a single mouse and keyboard to control both devices. Sure, it doesn’t look as drastic as last year’s Big Sur but there are some neat features that Mac users will appreciate. macOS Monterey was announced at Apple’s WWDC earlier this year, and Cupertino will most likely reveal the rollout plans during Monday’s event.
AirPods may be getting their first upgrade since 2019. The next-generation AirPods, presumably called AirPods 3, will be Apple’s “One more thing” during Monday’s fall event. AirPods are popular truly wireless earbuds but now they started to look aged. We still don’t know if AirPods 3 would cost $159 like their predecessor but don’t expect them to feature noise-cancellation, shorter stems, and a “new case design.”