Apple unveils two new MacBooks, AirPods and a $5 music streaming service

Tech

FILE – In this Sept. 28, 2021 file photo, people wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus try out the latest iPhone 13 handsets at an Apple Store in Beijing. Amazon’s audiobook service Audible and phone apps for reading the holy books of Islam and Christianity have disappeared from the Apple store in mainland China, in the latest examples of the country’s tightening rules for internet firms. Audible said in a statement Friday, Oct. 15, that it removed its app from the Apple store in mainland China last month “due to permit requirements.” (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

CUPERTINO, Calif. (Reuters) — Apple Inc. on Monday launched two new MacBook Pro models powered by new in-house Apple silicon chips as well as a new generation of its AirPod wireless earbuds and a $5-per-month music subscription service.

The new MacBook Pro laptops with 14-inch and 16-inch displays are powered by the new chips. The models eliminated the “Touch Bar” that Apple’s fans had groused about and restored several connectors — including the company’s “MagSafe” power connector — that had disappeared in recent years, angering some of the company’s users.

Apple said the 14-inch model will start at $1,999 and the 16-inch model will start at $2,499. Both computers will start shipping next week, Apple said.

Apple’s two new high-powered chips are called the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. The chips are meant to have better performance than the company’s previous M1 chips, but do so while using less power than rival chips from firms such as Intel Corporation and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.

Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technology, said the M1 Max chip uses up to 100 watts less power than other high-end laptop chips, which translates to better battery life.

“It’s the most powerful chip we’ve ever built,” Srouji said of the M1 Max.

Before Monday, Apple’s most powerful laptops relied on chips from Intel. The company has already placed a first-generation in-house-designed M1 chip into some MacBooks as well as its Mac Mini and iMac desktop machines.

Meanwhile, Apple’s new AirPods are sweat- and water-resistant for use during workouts and will have some sound features previously found in the higher-end AirPods Pro, Apple announced during the launch event. Apple said the new AirPods will cost $179 and start shipping next week.

Apple’s new AirPods are available to order online in the United States and more than 26 other countries and regions starting on Monday. The earphones will be available in stores beginning Oct. 26.

Add-on devices such as AirPods tend to be large sellers during holiday shopping seasons and have become one of Apple’s fastest-growing categories, with its home and accessories segment growing 25% to $30.6 billion in Apple’s fiscal 2020.

Shares were up about 0.8% on Monday afternoon.

Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021.

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