Another week came and went, and boy, what a week it was! On Monday, we had Apple’s “Unleashed” event, which was dedicated to music and MacBook Pro devices. In fact, I already had plans for my third wedding anniversary with my husband that day, so I didn’t work on it – and honestly, it was nice to be able to watch the Apple event later without stress. But my colleagues at iMore did a fantastic job covering the event for all of you amazing readers! Let’s get to that right away.
The first things Apple announced were music and audio. We now have an Apple Music Voice Plan starting at $ 5 per month, which I think is an interesting new addition to the line of services. Basically, this is a very basic Apple Music plan that requires you to use Apple Music with Siri only to browse and play music, including playback controls. It’s perfect for HomePod mini users, but can also be used on all other Apple devices, such as your best iPhone and iPad. To make this an even more appealing service, Apple has added hundreds of new playlists for activities and mood in Apple Music, so there is a list for almost everything you need. And don’t forget the new bright and colorful options for the HomePod mini.
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While the Apple Music Voice Plan isn’t exactly my cup of tea (I just have an Apple One Premium and prefer to listen to whole albums or certain songs), I think it’s a great way to get people started with Apple Music as a whole. I also don’t use Siri as often as I should, those who use it may find this new voice plan a worthwhile addition. But keep in mind that you can only use Siri for control and access, and with Voice Plan there is no Dolby Atmos or Lossless audio format.
However, the big release with music was the AirPods 3. These new AirPods have a completely new design that is more reminiscent of AirPods Pro, without active noise cancellation and silicone ear tips. You get Spatial Audio, Adaptive EQ, Dolby Atmos and a new MagSafe-compatible charging case. The charging case for AirPods 3 is also a bit wider than the AirPods 2 still on sale, but not as thick as the AirPods Pro case – it’s a whole new environment.
Personally, as exciting as the new AirPods 3 are, I’m still waiting for the next iteration of AirPods Pro 2. I much prefer to have silicone ear tips, and honestly can’t live without active noise cancellation, so AirPods 3 just aren’t for me . However, I’m pretty curious if it will fit better in my ears, even without the silicone tips, because of the new design. I had original AirPods that I didn’t like to use much because they always looked like they were going to fall out of my ears.
Now the real part of the Unleashed event was with the new Apple silicone: the M1 Pro and M1 Max, as well as the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro devices coming. Basically, the M1 Pro and M1 Max are incredibly powerful chips that are definitely more for creative professionals who need a lot of graphics power for their work – as much as I wish I had them, it could be a little exaggerated for my job (I’m just writer, after all). But they are certainly tempting, I have to admit!
Still, I’m more excited about the new MacBook Pro design. We seem to be moving away from the era of “form above function” that reigned with Jony Ive and returning to the days of “function over form”. After all, these new MacBook Pro devices come with an HDMI port and SDXC card slot, a new headphone jack that supports high-impedance headphones, and even MagSafe 3. MagSafe is back on Macs!
Seriously, rejoice. I hated the fact that Apple took away the MagSafe for USB-C charging because I always appreciated the protection that MagSafe provided in case someone ever tripped over the charging cable. However, as someone who prefers to use mechanical keyboards and has an audio setting with a USB microphone, I was a little disappointed to see that there was no return of standard USB-A ports. I guess the lifespan of the key hasn’t completely disappeared, because I don’t actually use HDMI or SD cards in my daily workflow. And while I still prefer mechanical keyboards, I have to admit that the new black keyboard on the MacBook Pro looks incredibly nice and releases the Touch Bar well. That comma certainly wasn’t something I expected to be real, but I’m glad it won’t bother me as much on the Mac as it does on the iPhone. Plus, if you have so many icons on the menu bar that the comma might start to mess with your setting, you might need to look at something like Bartender 4 to clean it (I highly recommend this software). Still, I’m a little surprised that the comma is there, and we don’t have a Face ID on the Mac yet, however. But I guess it’s a step in the right direction.
And while we’re already at Macs, if you’re waiting for Monterey, don’t worry – it’s coming this week! For the new MacBook Pro, macOS Monterey launches on October 25th. However, if you’ve been waiting for Monterey because of the Universal Control feature, you’ll have to wait a little longer because that feature isn’t in the initial launch. All Apple has said about Universal Control is that it will come ‘later this fall’. I’m sure it will be worth the wait, and I’d rather have Apple do it right than release something that’s incredibly buggy and doesn’t work properly.
That’s the end of this week. Until next time!
- Christine Romero-Chan
Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.