So — after months of me telling you that new Macs, with more “consumer” oriented pricing, would be coming that day finally arrived on Tuesday. I have been very critical of Apple’s 2016 and 2017 laptops, but I am a firm believer in what they did with the new Mac Book Pro laptops released over the summer and also this week’s releases.
The event opened with a tribute to what Tim Cook called the most beloved laptop of all time — the Mac Book Air. The crowd got really excited. Apple pundits had doubts over whether they would keep the Mac Book Air line going. It lives on! Let me give you a run down of the 3 major product announcements.
Mac Book Air
This 13 inch customer favorite is all new with a high resolution Retina display screen. It has 2018, 8th generation, Core i5 Intel processors. There are two USB-C ports on the laptop, both of which could be used for charging. As these are ports of a new shape, you will need a $10 to $20 adapter to plug in your hard drives, printers, etc. 8 GB of RAM is standard. Apple claims the Air is made from 100% recycled aluminum. For the smallest hard drive, 128 GB SSD, the cost is $1199. I just want to caution you about this size hard drive. If you are only dealing with documents, this model may work for you. However, if you are keeping a measurable collection of photos, music, and videos on your internal hard drive — please opt for the 256 GB model (same speed, just more storage) which goes for $1399. Another option that some of my clients utilize is to put photo and music libraries on a separate external hard drive. You may wonder, what is the difference between the $1399 Mac Book Air and the $1799 13 inch Mac Book Pro? The Pro has a faster processor and 4 ports to plug things into instead of two. I think the Mac Book Air would serve many of my Mac clients well.
Wow! They finally did it. Apple updated their entry level desktop for the first time in 4 years. For those of you in need of a primer — the Mac Mini is simply a small computer that is about the same size as a cigar box. You can plug it into a monitor of your choosing ($100-150 model at Best Buy, Amazon works fine) and any USB mouse / keyboard ($30 Macally set from Amazon is A-OK). Fortunately, the 2018 base model is not the stripped down, sluggish configuration from 2014. It comes with 8 GB of RAM, a 128 GB SSD hard drive, and a Core i3 CPU. It rings up at $799. This would be a very adequate model for my typical client. However once again, if you have a significant collection of pictures or music, you will want to get the 256 GB model for $999 (or should possibly upgrade to the faster i5 processor for $1099). Should you ever need to add more RAM, the memory (not hard drive) is actually up-gradable. Thanks Apple! The Mac Mini has plenty of ports to connect all of your devices — including an HDMI port, 4 USB C / Thunderbolt 3 ports, 2 traditional USB-A ports, and an Ethernet port for hard wired internet. If you want a reasonably priced Mac desktop, this is your baby.
iPad Pro (A True Computer?)
The iPad Pro was refreshed with all new models that push the screen edge to edge like the iPhone X models. The smaller model is now 11 inches and the larger model is still 12.9 inches. The home button has been removed and replaced by Face ID, just like the iPhone X models as well. Apple claims that the new iPad Pro is more powerful than 92% of personal computers on the market today. With all of the language used, Apple is really promoting the iPad Pro as a computer. They showed a graph during the event that showed that more iPads were sold than any other brand of computer over the past year. One of my clients has already started to use her iPad Pro as her primary personal computer. Pricing starts at $799 for the 11 inch model (64 GB hard drive), and $999 for the 12.9 inch model. If you are going Pro, you will probably want to get Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio for $179-199. For those of you with more basic iPad needs, like occasional e-mail reading, news reading, and media consumption — the $329 iPad is perfect.