Apple Powers Mac mini and MacBook Professional with New M2 Chips, Releases New HomePod

With a handful of press releases buttressed by a 19-minute video, Apple pulled again the curtains on its new M2 Professional and M2 Max chips and introduced up to date Mac mini and MacBook Professional fashions that depend on the brand new chips. There are not any important design or function adjustments with these up to date fashions, simply sooner efficiency, enhanced exterior show help, and help for the newest wi-fi connectivity requirements. The brand new Mac mini and MacBook Professional fashions can be found to order now, with items in shops and orders beginning to arrive on January twenty fourth.

Then, in one other shock announcement, Apple introduced the second-generation HomePod, which updates the full-size sensible speaker with a number of new options and certain makes it less expensive to provide.

New M2 Mac mini and M2 Professional Mac Broaden the Attraction

For a few years, the Mac mini has been well-liked for its small measurement, low worth, and first rate efficiency, bolstered in 2020 by a transfer from Intel CPUs to Apple’s M1 chip. Apple has now elevated the Mac mini’s energy much more by letting customers select between the M2 and the brand new M2 Professional. How rather more? It relies upon significantly on what you’re doing, and Apple gives some comparisons. The enhancements will seemingly be noticeable with the M2 and apparent with the M2 Professional.

The M2 Mac mini begins at $599—$100 lower than the beginning worth for the M1 Mac mini—and offers an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU with unified reminiscence configurations of 8 GB, 16 GB (add $200), or 24 GB ($400). When it comes to storage, the bottom stage is 256 GB, however you possibly can enhance that to 512 GB ($200), 1 TB ($400), or 2 TB ($800). It offers solely two Thunderbolt 4 ports.

The M2 Professional Mac mini begins at $1299 for a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, however you possibly can bump that as much as an M2 Professional with a 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU for $300. You additionally get 16 GB of unified reminiscence and 512 GB of storage for that base worth. 32 GB of reminiscence prices $400 extra, and storage upgrades are 1 TB ($200), 2 TB ($600), 4 TB ($1200), and eight TB ($2400). It gives extra connectivity with 4 Thunderbolt 4 ports. Be aware that as you configure a robust M2 Mac mini, you’ll be straying into Mac Studio territory when it comes to each worth and efficiency.

Each Mac mini fashions boast enhanced exterior show help. Learn the tech specs for full particulars, however in essence, together with a number of monitor help over Thunderbolt, the HDMI port on an M2 Professional Mac mini helps both an 8K show or a 4K show working at a sooner refresh fee, which is perhaps a boon in video-focused fields. Different enhancements which may be welcome in particular setups embody the choice so as to add 10 Gigabit Ethernet for $100, help for Wi-Fi 6E (which may enhance throughput over quick distances with a brand new router), and Bluetooth 5.3.

The up to date Mac mini replaces each the M1 Mac mini and the Intel-based Mac mini that Apple had left within the lineup till now.

It in all probability gained’t be lengthy earlier than Apple releases an M2 24-inch iMac, too. We all know that some are pining for a 27-inch iMac with Apple silicon, and we’ll simply have to attend to see if Apple returns to that type issue with both an iMac or iMac Professional. We are able to additionally anticipate M2 variations of the Mac Studio sooner or later, however we’ll have to attend for Apple to come back out with an M2 Extremely chip if it’s to keep up the identical lineup as at this time’s M1 household.

M2 Professional and M2 Max Velocity Up 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Professional

Since their October 2021 launch, Apple’s skilled laptops, the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro, have supplied spectacular processing energy due to their M1 Professional and M1 Max chips. Apple has now switched to the brand new M2 Professional and M2 Max chips, and the corporate says that each supply 20% extra CPU efficiency, 30% extra GPU efficiency, and 40% extra Neural Engine efficiency than their predecessors. As with the Mac mini, the up to date MacBook Professional fashions additionally function enhanced exterior show help (see the tech specs for full particulars), Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.3. Lastly, Apple estimates they’ll have an hour extra battery life.

The 14-inch MacBook Professional begins at $1999 for an M2 Professional with a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, 16 GB of reminiscence, and 512 GB of storage. Chip upgrades embody the 12/19-core (CPU/GPU) M2 Professional ($300), the 12/30 M2 Max ($500), and the 12/38 M2 Max ($700). With reminiscence, the M2 Professional configurations can improve to 32 GB ($400), whereas the M2 Max configurations begin at 32 GB and allow you to go to 64 GB ($400) or 96 GB ($800, with the 12/38 M2 Max solely).

The 16-inch MacBook Professional prices $2499 for an M2 Professional with a 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU, 16 GB of reminiscence, and 512 GB of storage. Chip upgrades embody the 12/30 M2 Max ($200) and the 12/38 M2 Max ($400). Reminiscence is similar as with the 14-inch MacBook Professional, so the M2 Professional configuration can improve to 32 GB ($400), and the M2 Max configurations begin at 32 GB and allow you to go to 64 GB ($400) or 96 GB ($800, with the 12/38 M2 Max solely).

Provided that these new MacBook Professional fashions present extra efficiency and battery life for a similar costs as earlier than, their launch is solely constructive. In the event you had been ready for an M2 Professional or M2 Max laptop computer, now’s the time to position an order.

Apple Brings Again the Full-Dimension HomePod

Apple launched the unique HomePod in 2018, however even after dropping the value from $349 to $299, gross sales weren’t sturdy sufficient due to competitors from less expensive sensible audio system from Amazon and Google. Apple discontinued the HomePod in 2021 and centered on the $99 HomePod mini. Now Apple has introduced the full-size HomePod again, introducing a second-generation HomePod with a number of further options and the identical $299 worth. You may order it now in white or midnight, which replaces area grey, and it ships on February third.

The brand new HomePod helps spatial audio with Dolby Atmos for music and video, which ought to improve the listening expertise. For these entering into residence automation, it features a sensor for temperature and humidity, and also you’ll be capable of use the House app to create automations to manage blinds, followers, and thermostats. It additionally helps the brand new Matter residence automation commonplace. Lastly, Apple says {that a} software program replace in a number of months will add Sound Recognition, which is able to let the HomePod provide you with a warning if it hears smoke or carbon monoxide alarms. Wouldn’t you wish to know if an alarm goes off whilst you’re away from residence?

One be aware. You need to use two HomePods to create a stereo pair, however each HomePods should be the identical mannequin. So you possibly can’t pair an unique HomePod with a second-generation HomePod or combine an HomePod mini with both one.

The principle query, which we gained’t be capable of reply till the second-generation HomePod ships, is that if it sounds nearly as good as the unique HomePod and hears Siri instructions as properly. That’s a query as a result of Apple redesigned the HomePod’s audio {hardware} to make use of fewer tweeters and microphones. Plus, it depends on the S7 chip that powers the Apple Watch Sequence 7, versus the A8 that first appeared within the iPhone 6. In brief, plainly Apple has labored to chop prices to allow the required revenue margins. Provided that Amazon’s hardware division reportedly lost $10 billion in 2022 by promoting Echo sensible audio system at value, Apple’s transfer appears smart, at the very least so long as it doesn’t damage the HomePod consumer expertise.

(Featured picture by Apple)