Apple Event November 2020: One More Thing…

Last night the world was welcomed to Apple Park by Tim Cook for Apple’s final presentation of the year titled ‘One More Thing’ in reference to the late Steve Jobs’ classic showstoppers. We were given a whirlwind tour of the new Mac range alongside the reveal of the new Apple Silicon chip, M1, and the MacOS 11 Big Sur update. 

There were a lot of expectations around this presentation – the question in our minds though is simply ‘Did Apple deliver?’

To answer that, we’re going to give a lightning-fast overview of what was unveiled throughout the presentation and our thoughts on each reveal. 

The M1 Chip

What they said: Apple proudly opened with their headliner, the M1 chip, replacing the industry-standard Intel range currently found within their Macs. The chip has had the full focus of Apple’s R&D department, and is a breakthrough in processor technology. 

The M1 chip offers the same processing speeds as an ‘industry-leading chip’ for a quarter of the power consumption, and can then go up to 2x the top-end speeds of those same chips at maximum power consumption. 

What we thought: Bringing the processing hardware in-house is a very smart move for Apple. From a development perspective, it ensures that they can align their software and hardware for ultimate performance. 

We’ve already seen this philosophy work in Apple’s iPhone and iPad range, so there’s no reason it won’t propel them to great success in the traditional computing market. That being said, it may present some more challenges for third-party developers who prioritise their performance on Intel hardware. 

MacOS 11 Big Sur 

What they said: Following up their brand-new hardware with a software update, Apple unveiled the next step in MacOS. The Big Sur update has been designed specifically for the M1 chip and promises incredible performance with instant startup, like that of the iPhone or iPad. 

The biggest announcement, however, was that Mac devices will now be able to run iOS apps. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities between all Apple devices, bringing the Mac into the Apple ecosystem. Oh, and MacOS 11 Big Sur releases on the 12th of November, so you won’t have to wait long at all to get your hands on it!

What we thought: This is massive for Apadmi. The ability to run our apps on Mac opens up a lot more possibilities for cross-platform solutions. It also highlights the need for flexible design at every stage of our development process. 

As Apadmi has always adopted a flexible approach to app development, we’re confident that we’ll be able to deliver solutions to match this new challenge, and we’re interested to see how the industry as a whole makes use of the new functionality offered by MacOS. 

The MacBook Air

What they said: With the big hardware and software releases on the table, it was time for Apple to launch a few new products and they kicked-off with the MacBook Air. Apple’s headline here was that the MacBook Air would have the M1 chip and be silently cooled without a fan, while still offering incredible power and performance – a huge boast. 

Various other improvements from previous offerings were highlighted including an improved webcam and screen – ideal for 2020 video calls. Finally, Apple demonstrated the instant wake-up speed of the MacBook Air, which was rather impressive. 

What we thought: In truth, we were a little sceptical about fanless cooling. In the past, the unibody design hasn’t been enough to keep MacBooks from reaching potentially dangerous temperatures. That being said, if Apple has cracked fanless cooling once and for all, it will be a massive leap forward for the notebook market. 

Past the cooling, the rest of the reveals were pretty much what we expected – everything got a solid update in performance. The starting price of £999 and $999 seems about right – although it seems that upgrades beyond the initial build are prohibitively expensive, as with previous models. 

The Mac mini

What they said: Next up was the Mac mini, the only desktop on show during the presentation. The reveal here was pretty quick, but it followed suit with the MacBook Air – M1 chip processor, general updates to all the basics. The biggest surprise was the inclusion of a fan, meaning that, unlike with the MacBook Air, Apple hasn’t cracked fanless cooling yet on their desktop range. 

What we thought: Of the devices on show in this presentation, the Mac mini was the weakest offering. That being said, priced at £699 and $699, it’s the cheapest option for anyone who feels like dipping their toe into the M1 range without fully committing to it.

The MacBook Pro

What they said: Finally, Apple brought out the big guns with the MacBook Pro. This was certainly impressive; with the integration of the M1 chip, the MacBook Pro will be able to promise performance 2.8x more than previous models, and 3x more than similar Windows models. 

Complimenting the unstoppable processing power is a battery that lasts for 20 hours of video playback and 17 hours of web browsing which, Apple was quick to point out, is better than most humans. A few more goodies were thrown in like a studio-quality microphone (to really flex on video calls) and 2 Thunderbolt ports – then we headed into a final summary from Tim Cook. 

What we thought: This is probably going to be the big seller from this presentation, and it promises to be something special. Apple seems to know this too, adding that this model will feature the classic Apple ‘chime’ upon opening and closing. 

Time will tell whether this is a buggy first model or a trendsetter, but either way, we think it’s going to be a small piece of Apple history. If you’re an Apple fan, it might be time for an upgrade. 

Summary: Hopes vs reality

What we hoped for: Using Steve Jobs classic saying as the event title was a bold move from Apple, and it was sure to stir up a lot of expectations from tech fans. Going into the presentation, the rumour mill was buzzing with all the possible releases that could be revealed. 

We were hoping to receive an update on Apple Silicon, the release of MacOS 11 Big Sur, AirTags (Apple’s attempt at a smart-tag), AirPods Studio (an over-ear AirPod upgrade) and a new update to AppleTV.  Some of these seemed more likely than others, but all are rumoured to be in the pipeline. 

What we got: For all the hype, this presentation was really just about the M1 chip and, to a lesser extent, MacOS 11 Big Sur. While we were disappointed that other areas of the Apple ecosystem didn’t make an appearance, there was enough to dive into to justify the excitement. 

It looks like the M1 chip is going to be a game-changer for Apple, and the integration of iOS apps is sure to have a big effect on the tech industry. Coming out of the presentation we were generally impressed and eager to see what comes next. 

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