Apple announces new AirPods, new MacBook Pro and more

Apple is on a roll right now. After releasing the iPhone 13 and some new iPads last month, the company has now launched the next generation of AirPods, alongside the new MacBook Pro.

It was quite a full-on showcase overnight, so let’s get into everything Apple announced at the October ‘Unleashed’ event.

Third-generation Apple AirPods

Apple is releasing a new pair of AirPods, marking the third generation of Apple’s wireless headphones. The new Apple AirPods will come with a slightly modified design, spatial audio, adaptive EQ and up to six hours of playtime per charge.

The new AirPods will be able to dynamically change sound direction all around you through the new spatial audio and dynamic head tracking features, while the adaptive EQ feature identifies the shape of your ear and tunes the music accordingly. Unlike most competitor wireless earphones, the new AirPods don’t have any active noise cancellation, but Apple has historically been a bit slow to introduce certain features across all devices.

The longer, six-hour battery life (one hour longer than the previous generation AirPods) is also supported by wireless MagSafe charging capability, and the case has also gotten a slight redesign (now horizontal instead of vertical, like the AirPods Pro case).

Users will be able to purchase the third-generation Apple AirPods from Tuesday, October 26, costing $279 AUD. In the box, you’ll get a Lightning to USB-C cable, the AirPods and the MagSafe-compatible charging case. You can pre-order your new AirPods through Apple, and purchase them from either Apple or an authorised reseller.

Apple AirPods Pro Canstar Blue

If you’d like to get a new phone plan to match your new AirPods and music listening habits, you can check out prepaid and postpaid phone plans in the table below, and compare costs and inclusions.

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use Canstar Blue’s phone plan comparison tool to see a wide range of plans on offer from mobile providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

The new Macbook Pro

Let’s be honest; we might put the third-generation AirPods first in our Apple Event recap, but the new MacBook Pro is the real reason people tuned in to watch. The latest MacBook Pro features a 1080p camera with a notched design, a mini-LED display, a physical HDMI port, three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SD card reader and MagSafe support – great features for a professional laptop.

The new MacBook Pro will be available in two sizes: 14-inch and 16-inch. Both models feature a 10-Core CPU and 1TB of SSD storage space, along with the same keyboard, screen, camera and ports. That being said, these devices also have slightly different specs in some areas:

  • The 14-inch MacBook Pro features a 16-Core GPU, 16GB memory and the new Apple M1 Pro Chip
  • The 16-inch MacBook Pro features a 32-Core GPU, 32GB memory and the new Apple M1 Max Chip

The new 1080p camera will definitely make your video calls look a lot better (provided you have a good internet plan), with the new iPhone-like camera notch making the Pro look a whole lot nicer. The screen itself is brighter than ever, using the same mini-LED technology as the iPad Pro. A 120Hz adaptive refresh rate is also included.

As far as ports go, four of Apple’s proprietary Thunderbolt ports are included on the MacBook Pro (which you’ll need an adapter for when using USBs), along with an HDMI port. It’s odd to see an HDMI port included on a device that’s lacking USB ports, but it’s Apple, so we’ll roll with it.

Were you expecting us to mention the touch bar? Not this time. Apple has completely removed the touch bar that was present on earlier MacBook Pro models. It has been replaced by physical touch keys. Vale touch bar, you won’t be missed.

Also of note is the new macOS Monterey, which will be available for download on Monday, October 25. Monterey comes with AirPlay, Focus modes and Shortcuts, and you might already be familiar with some of these features on your iPhone.

The new MacBook Pro devices will be available on Tuesday, October 26, with pre-orders live now. Available in Space Grey or Silver, the 14-inch model is priced at $4,049, and the 16-inch model at $5,249. These devices will be available from Apple and tech retailers.

MacBook Pros

If you’re interested in picking up an NBN plan to match your snazzy new MacBook Pro, you can compare plans in the table below.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

New Apple Music plan

One of the more out-there reveals was the new Apple Music Voice Plan: a real head-scratcher of a music streaming plan that might be of use to you, but could end up being more annoying than it’s worth.

The Apple Music Voice plan is entirely powered through Siri, giving you access to Apple Music’s huge library of music for only $5.99 per month (standard Apple Music costs $11.99 per month).

The catch? We already mentioned it – it’s entirely powered through Siri. You stop and start music through Siri, you rely on Siri’s curated playlists, and you get access to Apple Music Radio. No buttons unless required, no app, ALL Siri.

This is great for the user who only uses Apple Music via voice, or only uses Apple Music from a HomePod in the house, but overall, it doesn’t seem to be that good an idea. It’s cost-effective, but hardly justified by the loss of functionality.

Apple Music will keep premium features like lossless and Spatial Audio for its higher-priced plans, so if those interest you, don’t expect to use them on the Apple Music Voice plan. This plan will be available later this spring in Australia.

An iPhone, Apple HomePod and a pair of Apple AirPods

New HomePod Mini colours

We do love when Apple gets colourful; unlike a lot of other tech companies, Apple seems to like splashing more than boring silvers and whites on its devices. Well, in the spirit of personalisation, Apple’s HomePod Mini home speaker is now available in Yellow, Blue and Orange.

While these are exciting new colours for the HomePod Mini, they don’t come with any extra features, so don’t feel like you’re missing out if you previously purchased a Grey or White version.

Available sometime in November, the HomePod Mini in Yellow, Blue and Orange will be priced at $149. If you really want a HomePod now, you can pick up the Grey or White model from Apple or authorised resellers.

The HomePod Mini in several colours

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