Earlier this week Apple made a whole bunch of announcement at their keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference (or WWDC). Most of the event was geared toward developers, so the focus was on software, but Tim Cook and company also revealed some hardware to get consumers excited. There’s a refresh of MacBook Air that’s already available in stores, plus promises of updates to the Mac Pro desktop, as well as the Time Capsule and Airport Extreme.
New MacBook Air
The big news here is that the MacBook Air has a new processor, called the Intel Haswell, that promises both superior performance and better battery life. Apple promises both the 11″ and 13″ models will now have “all day battery life.” What this means in practice is that the 11″ MacBook should get 9 hours of battery life, while the 13″ will get 12 hours. It remains to be seen just how well that works in practice, but even if battery life isn’t quite as-advertised, it will still be significant improvement over current models (compare 9 hour for the 11″ to the previous model’s 5 hours). The new processor will also load programs and graphics faster. The best part may be that the new MacBook Air is already shipping, starting at $999 for the 11″and $1,099 for the 13″ model.
New Mac Pro
This was really more of a preview of the new Mac Pro than an announcement. We still don’t have all the nitty-gritty on technical stats, though we can expect to see them this fall as part of Apple’s usual hardware-centric event. The Mac Pro is Apple’s high-end desktop, beloved by video editors, graphic designers and other power users, and it hasn’t seen an update in quite a while (at least by Apple product cycle standards). The Mac Pro has been shrunken down and redesigned, and even though it is a traditional “tower” in the sense of the desktop computer, it looks more like an external harddrive from a few years ago, or even a very space-age bucket. What we do know is that the design is a new way of dealing with the tremendous heat put out by desktop machines, a very real engineering issue, especially for very powerful computers. The Mac Pro promises to be just that, with an Intel Xeon CPU and dual GPUs, plus dual Thunderbolt 2.0, 802.11ac wireless, dual Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 1.4, and support for 4K displays. It’s a serious upgrade from the current Mac Pro, but we’ll have to wait to get pricing till later in the year.
AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule
The AirPort has a brand new look: tall and rectangular, at 4 inches by 6 inches. Apple says it has been completely redesigned, but what’s probably more important to power users is the 802.11ac Wi-Fi. 802.11ac Wi-Fi is also available in the new Time Capsule models, which will still sport 2TB or 3TB of storage space depending on the model you purchase. The 2TB Time Capsule will be $299 and the 3TB will be $399, while the new AirPort Extreme will cost $199. Both are already available from Apple.