MacBook Air

On Tuesday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Apple held its second major hardware event of the fall to unveil a new lineup of iPads, MacBooks, and more. The big takeaway: all of Apple’s new products are the best they’ve ever been … and also the most expensive they’ve ever been. If you’re looking to drop some serious coin this holiday season, here’s what you need to know.

MacBook Air with Retina Display

Apple’s most popular laptop now comes with Apple’s best laptop display. The new 13.3” MacBook Air starts at $1,199 and features a screen with four times the resolution of older models (2500×1600) — and less bezel than before. (It’s also lighter, thinner, and overall smaller.)

You can buy the MacBook Air with either 8GB or 16GB of memory, and up to 1.5TB of storage space. All models come with three Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports and a battery life that Apple says will last 12 hours (web browsing) or 13 hours (“iTunes movie playback”). Apple is notorious for two things: making great products and exaggerating those products’ battery life. We’ll see how long they hold up in real-world scenarios.

Rumors suggested the new MacBook Air would have a fingerprint sensor, and Apple delivered. Apple added a T2 security chip for Touch ID and Siri support, which the company says is the “most secure boot process of any notebook.”

The new MacBook Air also has a 100 percent recycled aluminum frame, a new “third generation keyboard” (that Apple says is 4x more stable), a Force Touch trackpad (that’s 20 percent larger than its predecessor), and a 720p FaceTime camera with a three-mic array.

The TL;DR is that the new MacBook Air is, far and away, the best MacBook Air that Apple has ever made. It’s also $200 more than the previous entry level MacBook Air, which retails for $999 (but can often be purchased for even less). Good news for the budget-conscious: the last-gen MacBook Air isn’t going anywhere (for now, anyway).

The MacBook Air can be pre-ordered today and will be available next Wednesday, November 7.

Mac Mini

After 1475 days of waiting (as per 9to5Mac), Apple finally unveiled a new version of the Mac Mini. Like the MacBook Air, the entry point ($799) is considerably higher than the previous model ($499). Also like the MacBook Air, though, the new Mac Mini is a massive upgrade.

With all flash storage, 5x faster processors (both four- and six-core), and 30x faster graphics, the new Mac Mini is a powerhouse (especially compared to previous versions). The entry level model features a 3.6GHz CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD; you can go up to 64GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage, but those upgrades will push the price tag even higher.

The Mac Mini can be pre-ordered today and will be available next Wednesday, November 7.

iPad Pro

Love your iPhone XS? You’re going to love the new iPad Pro. Featuring no home button (Touch ID has been replaced by Face ID) and thinner bezels on all sides, Apple’s new lineup of iPad Pros are beautiful. Even better … they have no notch!

The new models all feature Apple’s new eight-core A12X Bionic processor, which is even more powerful than the processor found in the iPhone XS Max. Need storage? You can now buy an iPad with up to 1TB of space. That’s… a lot for a tablet.

For some people, that may be where the good news ends. Gone is the headphone jack (we hardly knew ye). Gone, too, is the Lightning port. In its place: a USB-C port (which can now be used to charge an iPhone, which is cool). That means, though, you’ll need to buy a new Smart Keyboard or Apple Pencil (more on that below) if you’re thinking of upgrading.

There’s a new form factor in town, too: an 11-inch model that starts at $799. Apple also updated its 12.9-inch (which starts at $999) and 10.5-inch (from $649) models, too.

The new iPad Pros can be pre-ordered today and will be available next Wednesday, November 7.

Apple Pencil

While the first-generation Apple Pencil won’t work with the new iPad Pro, there’s good news: Apple has added a slew of new features to make buying another Pencil (somewhat) more tolerable.

Apple unveiled the first updates to the Pencil since it was introduced three years ago, and they’re fairly substantial. The new Pencil adds gesture controls so that you can tap the sides to switch tools, which vary from app to app and can be fully customized. The Pencil now pairs to your iPad automatically and magnetically attaches to the side of a new iPad Pro. Even better, when it’s docked to the side of the iPad, it charges wirelessly.

Like everything else Apple unveiled today, the new Pencil costs more than the last model: $129. Important to note: the new Pencil won’t work with old iPads, and the old Pencil won’t work with the brand new ones. The original Pencil, which costs $99, will still be for sale.

The new Apple Pencil can be pre-ordered today and will be available next Wednesday, November 7.

About Shelly Palmer

Named LinkedIn’s #1 Voice in Technology for 2017, Shelly Palmer is CEO of The Palmer Group, a strategic advisory, technology solutions and business development practice focused at the nexus of media and marketing with a special emphasis on machine learning and data-driven decision-making. He is Fox 5 New York's on-air tech and digital media expert, writes a weekly column for AdAge, and is a regular commentator on CNBC and CNN. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com or subscribe to our daily email http://ow.ly/WsHcb

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"Apple’s New MacBook Air, Mac Mini, iPad Pro and Apple Pencil" by @ShellyPalmer

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