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Apple November event preview: Apple Silicon MacBook Air and Pro, Big Sur release, more

Apple November event preview: Apple Silicon MacBook Air and Pro, Big Sur release, more

We’re just days away from Apple’s third special event in as many months. After previous events focused on iPad, Apple Watch, and iPhone, Apple’s November 10 event will likely focus on the Apple Silicon transition in the Mac lineup.

Read on as we round up everything you need to know ahead of the “One more thing” event next week.

 

 

When is the Apple Silicon November event?

The Apple Silicon Mac event will take place on November 10 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. It will be completely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, much like the Apple Watch event in September and the iPhone 12 event last month. We expect a pre-recorded video from Apple Park, featuring Tim Cook and a handful of other Apple executives.

You’ll be able to live stream the event through Apple’s website, on YouTube, and through the Apple TV application.

 

Apple Silicon

Again, the focus of the November 10 event will almost certainly be on Apple’s plans to transition the Mac lineup to Apple Silicon processors. Apple first announced its plans for this transition back at WWDC in June, and the company even teased that the first Apple Silicon Mac would launch to customers in 2020.

Another unfixable Intel chip flaw discovered

Currently, Apple uses Intel processors in the Mac lineup, but this is not the first time Apple has transitioned the Mac to a new processor architecture. In fact, Apple first publicly announced its plans to transition away from PowerPC processors in the Mac to Intel processors back in 2005 at WWDC.

With Apple Silicon, Apple will have more control over their timeline and production of the processors used in the Mac. It’s no secret that the relationship between Apple and Intel has soured over the last several years as the chipmaker faced multiple production delays, thereby also affecting the Mac lineup.

And of course, Apple has shown its prowess in creating its own processors over the years with the iPhone and iPad. Now, it will bring those same processors to the Mac.

Apple’s first round of ARM Macs are believed to be based on the same A14 architecture as seen in the iPad Air and iPhone 12. However, the processors will be optimized for the larger thermal windows and power characteristics of laptops. In fact, back in April, Bloomberg said that the first ARM Mac chip would feature a 12-core design

Here’s what we expect to see first.

13-inch MacBook Pro

Most recently, Bloomberg reported that one of the first Apple Silicon Macs will be a new version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. This was also reported by the reliable yet cryptic leaker on Twitter L0vetodream and corroborated by Ming-Chi Kuo.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon is expected to look largely similar to the current 13-inch MacBook Pro. That is, we should not expect any dramatic redesigns with this year’s MacBook Pro update. Reports currently indicate that we could get a new, redesigned 14-inch MacBook Pro in 2021.

More details about what to expect from this new MacBook Pro are unclear right now, but we’ll learn more from Apple on Tuesday.

New MacBook Air

Bloomberg, Kuo, and L0vetodream have also reported that one of the first Apple Silicon Macs will be a new 13-inch MacBook Air. This would again be a new MacBook Air with a design similar to the current MacBook Air, but with Apple Silicon inside.

Apple Silicon could be especially drastic in the small and slim form factor of the MacBook Air, offering improved battery life, performance, and thermal capabilities.

Other Mac hardware announcements

Other than those two Mac announcements, Apple is also reportedly developing a new 16-inch MacBook Pro. It’s unclear, however, whether this machine will be announced during Tuesday’s event. It could be coming in early 2021 instead since it is more powerful and includes a dedicated GPU.

Other reports have suggested that Apple could introduce a new 12-inch MacBook as one of its first Apple Silicon Macs. The more power-efficient Apple Silicon chips would reportedly be able to provide 15-20 hours of battery life to a machine like this.

Concept via Svetapple

Apple is also reportedly developing a new iMac, new Mac mini, and new Mac Pro. None of these desktop updates are expected to be announced during Tuesday’s event, and you should keep in mind that Apple has said it will take around 2 years to transition the entire Mac lineup to Apple Silicon.

macOS 11 Big Sur

During Tuesday’s event, Apple is likely to announce the release date for macOS 11 Big Sur. Apple first introduced Big Sur during WWDC 2020 and it’s the sole software update announced at WWDC that has not yet been released to the public.

macOS 11 Big Sur is a massive update for the Mac, including a completely redesigned interface, an all-new Messages application, an all-new Control Center and Notification Center, and much more. You can check out the full coverage of 9to5Mac on what’s new in macOS Big Sur:

For Apple Silicon Macs, the introduction of macOS 11 Big Sur will also include the ability to run iPad and iPhone apps on the Mac. We expect Apple to spend a considerable amount of time talking about this during Tuesday’s event, including demonstrations of popular iPhone and iPad apps running on the first Apple Silicon Macs.

Other possibilities

Outside of the Apple Silicon transition for the Mac, there are a few other possibilities of things Apple could announce during its November event, though some of them are looking unlikely.

AirPods Studio

Reports have long been circulating suggesting that Apple will soon launch its own pair of over-ear headphones. These are believed to exist separately from the Beats brand and offer features such as head and neck detection, custom equalizer settings, and more.

9to5Mac has also found evidence of so-called AirPods Studio in the leaked iOS 14 beta code, including assets showing at least two color options for the new accessory. As for the price, rumors suggest that they will cost $349 for a lower-end “Sport” variant and up to $599 for a “luxury” version made from leather and metal.

A recent report from Bloomberg indicated that AirPods Studio is delayed due to production issues with the design. The headphones were reportedly set to go into production several weeks ago, but mass production was said to have been delayed. This could mean AirPods Studio isn’t actually released to the public until sometime in 2021.

AirTags

For more than a year, rumors have indicated that Apple is developing its own Tile-like item trackers. In June 2019, 9to5Mac reported on assets within iOS 13 that referenced a product type “Tag1,1.” Since then, 9to5Mac discovered evidence of the “AirTags” name and references even appeared in a video published by Apple itself.

We initially expected AirTags to be released during the iPhone 11 event last year, then at WWDC 2020, then during Apple’s September event this year. Most recently, leaker Jon Prosser indicated that AirTags could be announced during the November event.

 

New Apple TV

Apple is also reportedly working on a new Apple TV and a new Siri remote. Evidence of a new Apple TV hardware refresh has been circling around in iOS code for a while, and a report recently indicated that one of the changes will be a faster chip for improved gaming performance.

As for the new Apple TV remote, Bloomberg has suggested that one of the upgrades will be supported for the Find My application. This will make it easier for people to locate a remote when it goes missing in the house. Whether or not other improvements are also in store for the controversial Siri remote remains to be seen.

It’s possible that the new Apple TV is introduced during its November event, but it could also be saved for later this year or early next year.

Apple November event wrap-up

As you can see, Apple’s plans are seemingly to start the Apple Silicon transition slowly, and without major drastic changes to the rest of the Mac lineup. The transition will likely start with the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Reports indicate that more dramatic changes could be one the way sometime in 2021 and beyond, including updates to models like the Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro.

9to5Mac will have full live coverage of Apple’s November event, so be sure to tune in on Tuesday, November 10, at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET for everything you need to know. What are you most excited to see during the event? Let us know down in the comments below.

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