A few words about how all this was organized. We received from Apple representatives a link to the apple.com website page and code. Entering the code in the appropriate field on this page, we got to broadcast from Cupertino. She started at exactly 4 pm Moscow time and walked for about half an hour. Like Apple’s regular presentations, the event was attended by several speakers, each of whom talked about certain aspects of the devices. In particular, we saw Craig Federici, senior vice president of software development, often stepping onto the stage of the Steve Jobs Theater during public announcements.
At the end of the event, a group conference call was held through Cisco WebEx, in which representatives of leading techno-media could ask questions to representatives of the Apple head office.
We describe all this primarily because probably many other companies will soon switch to online formats too. And the way it is hosted by Apple may well be taken as a model.
But let’s move on to the devices presented themselves.
Presenting New MacBook Air and iPad Pro of 2020
About a year and a half ago, Apple revived the MacBook Air line, which would seem to have long been canceled by the 12-inch MacBook. Apparently, the revival turned out to be successful: the manufacturer calls the MacBook Air its most popular computer and in the new version not only replaces components with more productive ones but also improves the design.
The dimensions of the case have not changed at all, and the mass has increased by only 40 g, but now in the new MacBook Air, the Magic Keyboard is like in the 16-inch MacBook Pro. This means that the keys have a longer stroke (1 mm), and the arrows have a classic T-shaped arrangement.
As for the filling, here we must, first of all, pay attention to the processor update. In place of the Intel Core i5 in the 2018 model, three versions of the 10th generation Core i came immediately. But here’s what’s interesting: we couldn’t find processors with exactly those characteristics that were announced by Apple on ark.intel.com. Except for the basic Core i3 – obviously, this is an Intel Core i3-1000G1 with two cores and a frequency of 1.1 GHz (Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz). However, it is much less interesting to us than two quad-core options: Core i5 and Core i7. And it’s just not all clear with them.
Most likely, Apple uses the Intel Core i5-1030G7 and Intel Core i7-1060G7. Both have on the ark.intel.com the status of Announced and TDP of 9 watts (by the way, in Core i5 in 2018 it was lower – 7 watts). However, Intel indicates the base clock speed of the first processor as 800 MHz instead of 1.1 GHz declared by Apple, and the second – 1 GHz, and not 1.2 GHz. The frequencies in Turbo Boost are the same. It can be assumed that MacBook Air uses versions that are specifically tailored to Apple’s requirements. In any case, this is a curious fact.
For the average user, something else is important: the MacBook Air now has quad-core processors, so the performance increase in many applications should be very significant.
|MacBook Air (Early 2020)||MacBook Air (Late 2018)|
|Screen||13.3 inches, IPS, 2560 × 1600, 227 ppi||13.3 inches, IPS, 2560 × 1600, 227 ppi|
|CPU||Intel Core i3-1000G1 (2 cores, 4 threads, 1.1 GHz, Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz) / Intel Core i5-1030G7 (4 cores, 8 threads, 1.1 GHz, Turbo Boost up to 3.5 GHz ) / Intel Core i7-1060G7 (4 cores, 8 threads, 1.2 GHz, Turbo Boost up to 3.8 GHz||Intel Core i5-8210Y (2 cores, 4 threads, 1.6 GHz, Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz)|
|Graphics Accelerator||Intel Iris Plus Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 617|
|Connectors||2 × Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C connector), 3.5 mm headphone / microphone jack||2 × Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C connector), 3.5 mm headphone / microphone jack|
|RAM||8 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3 (optional expandable to 16 GB)||8 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3 (optional expandable to 16 GB)|
|SSD||256/512 GB (optionally expandable to 1 and 2 TB)||128/256 GB (optional expandable to 512 GB / 1.5 TB)|
|User identification||fingerprint scanner touch id||fingerprint scanner touch id|
|Dimensions (mm)||304 × 212 × 16||304 × 212 × 16|
Above are the specs of both generations of the MacBook Air, so they can be easily compared. Interestingly, there are more processor options now. In addition, the minimum capacity of the SSD-drive is not 128, but 256 GB. The price for the minimum version (that is, with Core i3 and 256 GB SSD) is $ 999 in the US – $ 100 less than the price of the previous generation model. However, if you compare the current model with the Core i5 and the one that used the Core i5 in 2018, then their cost is identical. But for the same money, you get the SSD capacity twice as high and four CPU cores instead of two.
By the way, MacBook Air now supports connection to a 6K monitor. As you might guess, this is done so that you can connect it to the new XDR Display Pro.
New MacBook Air and iPad Pro
At first glance, the diagonal of the screen and, in general, the design were saved. Two versions are still available – with a screen of 11 and 12.9 inches. And if you look at the tablet in front, then everything seems to be left as it was. But if you look at the back of the device, we will immediately see the difference: now the iPad Pro has two cameras, not one.
Interestingly, one of these cameras is a wide-angle with a resolution of 12 megapixels for shooting photos and 4K video, and the second is an ultra-wide-angle one with a 10-megapixel sensor and a double zoom. Detailed camera specifications are visible on the slide below.
But that is not all. To the right of the camera eyes you can see a strange circle between the flash and the microphone. This is a lidar scanner for measuring the distance to objects. Here’s how Apple describes it:
Operating at the photon level at a nanosecond speed, the LiDAR scanner measures distances to surrounding objects at a distance of up to 5 meters – both indoors and outdoors. The new 3D analysis technology in iPadOS processes data from the LiDAR scanner, cameras and motion sensors, and then, using the computer vision algorithms built into the A12Z Bionic processor, creates a detailed three-dimensional model of the surrounding scene.
Simply put, if you are in a room, the scanner will instantly determine the distance to each point of each object in this room and will allow you to build something like a three-dimensional model. Which can then be used, for example, by AR applications.
In addition, it opens up great opportunities for designers, architects – in general, all those who work with three-dimensional models of space.
But that is not all. No less sensational is the appearance of a new accessory – the Magic Keyboard. It magnetizes to the iPad Pro and keeps it on weight: you can position the tablet at different angles to yourself, not limited to two positions, as in Smart Keyboard Folio. By the way, the key travel is the same as in the MacBook Pro 16 ″ (and now in the MacBook Air).
So, the iPad Pro is becoming more and more truly Pro, that is, it is no longer just a tablet, which is more powerful and more modern than a regular iPad, but a tool for professionals from various fields. In addition, we pay attention to the rapid approximation of its capabilities to notebook ones: for example, now you can connect it to the monitor and fully control applications and the interface using the Magic Mouse.
But if you are already ready to exclaim “Shut up and take my money!” – do not hurry. Firstly, the tablet will be released only in May, and secondly, Russian prices for it start at 70 thousand rubles (and it is not entirely clear how long Apple will not raise prices after the course). If we try, purely for the sake of curiosity, to assemble the maximum configuration – iPad Pro 12.9 ″ with a 1 TB flash drive, SIM card and Magic Keyboard – we get almost 177 thousand. You can say – a very strong laptop. We will tell you how justified this is as soon as we receive the devices for testing.
As for the MacBook Air, everything is simpler: the new model is faster, the choice of processors is wider, the basic version with Core i3 is cheaper, and the keyboard is more convenient.