19 March 2020 08:32

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Apple reveals new iPad Pro and MacBook Air despite coronavirus store closures

Apple has unveiled a redesigned high-powered iPad and new entry-level MacBook laptop even as the coronavirus outbreak forces the company to shut almost all its stores and slow down its Chinese manufacturing operations. Apple is also releasing a separate keyboard accessory that includes a laptop-esque trackpad for controlling the iPad. The company separately announced a new version of the MacBook Air, its cheapest line of laptops. The new design, which Apple first introduced in a new MacBook Pro at the start of the year, uses a more reliable switch mechanism. The new keyboard and mouse support will also be compatible with the previous version of the iPad Pro, released in 2018. Apple 'butterfly' keyboard experiment seems to be over, as updated MacBook Air launches with traditional 'scissor' mechanism keyboard Apple has released the updated version of its MacBook Air that comes with an improved keyboard, more performance, and increased storage.

The writing was on the wall for the butterfly design for a while now, after Apple last November revealed a brand new 16 inch MacBook Pro, which ditched the butterfly mechanism keyboard. Indeed, the new MacBook Air features the more traditional 'scissor' keyboards, which comes with the same 1mm of keyboard travel and inverted-T arrow keys as the 16-inch Pro. "From students and consumers buying their first computer to customers looking to upgrade, everyone loves the Mac, and they especially love MacBook Air," said Tom Boger, Apple's senior director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing. "Today we're giving it a huge update, with two times faster performance, the new Magic Keyboard, double the storage, a new lower price of $999 and an even lower price of $899 for education," Boger said. "With its stunning, thin and light design, brilliant Retina display, all-day battery life and the power and ease-of-use of macOS, MacBook Air is the world's best consumer notebook." This morning Apple has announced the MacBook Air 2020, and it's already available to order online.

The new and improved MacBook Air is priced at just $999/£999/AU$1,599 for the 256GB version, which is $100 cheaper than its predecessor. The MacBook Air 2020 price is not only more affordable, but you're also getting a more powerful machine with twice the performance and storage, and a new magic keyboard. While we mentioned that the MacBook Air is available to order now, you can only purchase it online from Apple.com in the US, UK, and Australia. The 2020 MacBook Air has a starting price of $999/£999/AU$1,599 for the 256GB model, which comes with a dual-core 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor and 8GB of RAM. If you're interested in more storage, the 512GB MacBook Air is priced at $1,299/£1,299/AU$1,999 and packs a 10th generation quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM.

Apple's 2019 MacBook Air launched with a starting price of $1,099/£1,099/ AU$1,699 and came with half the storage (128GB). Apple has also announced that students can get the new MacBook Air at a further discount. The entry-level Macbook Air packs a 10th-gen 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz, 256GB Storage, and 8GB of RAM. Last, but certainly not least, the MacBook Air 2020 comes with the new and improved Magic Keyboard. If you're interested in older MacBook Air models, you can see the best prices and deals that are currently available online.

The new iPad Pro and the floating Magic Keyboard (Apple) The company has announced updated versions of the Macbook Air and the iPad Pro. Both models are immediately available to order online and feature improvements in several key areas. The iPad Pro has seen the lion's share of the update and now boasts a faster processor and a new camera system. iPadOS supports a cursor so the new Magic Keyboard has a trackpad (Apple) 'Combining the most advanced mobile display with powerful performance, pro cameras, pro audio, the breakthrough LiDAR Scanner and new Magic Keyboard with Trackpad, this is another huge leap forward for iPad. Alongside the iPad Pro is an update Macbook Air which swaps in an entirely new keyboard. It now features the same Magic Keyboard first introduced on the 16-inch MacBook Pro and now being used as the aforementioned accessory for the iPad. A redesigned scissor mechanism delivers 1mm of key travel for a comfortable and stable key feel, while the new inverted-"T" arrangement for the arrow keys makes them easier to find without looking down. As well as sorting out the keyboard, Apple has doubled the storage to 256GB for the starting model and increased the performance by adding quad-core processors for the first time.

The new Macbook Pro keeps the 13-inch Retina Display screen from the old model as well as the TouchID fingerprint scanner. Both the new iPad Pro models and the new Macbook Air are available to order now on Apple's website. Apple has launched a new iPad Pro that includes a 3D scanner and a trackpad, alongside an update MacBook Air. The new iPad Pro also includes a much improved "A12Z Bionic" chip, which Apple says makes it more powerful than most Windows PC laptops, an ultra-wide camera like that on the latest generation of iPhones, and what Apple claims are "studio-quality" mics. The new iPad Pro came alongside an updated MacBook Air that most notably includes the new Magic Keyboard that arrived on its 16-inch MacBook Pro late last year, and is intended to address ongoing complaints about Apple's laptop keyboards. The new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro – which includes the trackpad, and will be compatible with last year's iPad Pro too – will be available in May. The new iPad Pro starts at £769 for the smaller 11-inch model, or £969 for the 12.9-inch one, and each has more expensive options that add cellular connectivity and more storage. The 3D scanner, which uses LiDAR technology, allows the new iPad Pro to measure the distance to objects that are up to 5 meters away, and works both indoor and outdoors.